SCOT­LAND’S ROCK LIGHTHOUSES

The Herald Magazine - - FEATURE -

a type of build­ing that is not in­tro­spec­tive, but out­ward-look­ing.

It de­serves to thrive, he says, and on the boat 11 miles out to sea we think of the spe­cial prayer Robert Steven­son com­mis­sioned dur­ing the build­ing of the Bell Rock. He pe­ti­tioned God to “pros­per, we be­seech thee, the work in which we are en­gaged. May it re­main long af­ter our eyes have ceased to be­hold it.”

Be­tween 1698 and 1904, 27 rock lighthouses were built to mark the most dan­ger­ous haz­ards to ship­ping in the seas around Bri­tain and Ire­land and, of th­ese, 20 sur­vive to­day and 18 still show their lights. The Bell Rock, first lit in 1811, is the old­est work­ing build­ing to re­main stand­ing upon its reef. The other three in Scot­land are:

SK­ER­RYVORE

Built 12 miles off Tiree, Sk­er­ryvore, left, it has been called the most beau­ti­ful light­house in the world. Two hun­dred years ago, be­fore it was built, the rocks wrecked many ships ev­ery year and there was money to be made from col­lect­ing the wreck­age that was reg­u­larly swept up on the beaches of Tiree. Work be­gan in April 1841and was com­pleted in July 1842. Some called it the no­blest of all the lights. It was au­to­mated in 1994.

DHU AR­TACH

Sit­ting on the Tor­ren reef 18 miles west of Colon­say, Dhu Ar­tach light­house was de­signed by Thomas Steven­son, the fa­ther of Robert Louis Steven­son, who used the reef as the place where David Bal­four and Alan Breck are ship­wrecked in Kid­napped. Work be­gan in April 1867 and it was lit in 1872.

OX­CARS

De­signed by David and Thomas Steven­son to pro­tect ship­ping on the Firth of Forth, Ox­cars, above right, was orig­i­nally lit by an oil burner and at­tended by keep­ers. It be­came the first of the Scot­tish lighthouses to be au­to­mated when it was con­verted to gas in 1894.

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