Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The 200 Year-Old Rock

It took four years for craftsmen, many of them local, to complete the construction of the Bell Rock lighthouse which stands nearly 12 miles from Arbroath's harbour.  It was completed in 1811.

The Year of Light festival begins tonight with an extravagant firework display and events, created by locals, are planned for throughout the year.

The Bell Rock is said to be one of Robert Stevenson's most famous structures.  Stevenson, the grandfather of the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson, was considered to be one of Scotland's greatest engineers.

Towering nearly 116ft above the North Sea the Bell Rock is the world's oldest lighthouse still in use.  Apart from during the two world wars, it has been shining since 1811.  Nowadays it is automated and run from Edinburgh by the Northern Lighthouse Board.

As a child I used to see the Bell Rock regularly when we visited family further up the north east coast.  It fascinates me to this day and it's thanks to the internet that I now know the full history.  Lighthouse keepers are renowned for their record-keeping and the logs give an exceptional insight into life on The Rock.  Did you know that in 1815 Sir Walter Scott, on a voyage with the Commissioners, visited the lighthouse, where he signed the visitor's book and wrote his famous lines Pharos Locquitur?

Far in the bosom of the deep,

O'er these wild shelves my watch I keep;
A ruddy gem of changeful light,
Bound on the dusky brow of night,
The seaman bids my lustre hail,
And scorns to strike his timorous sail.

You can read much more here.


RMcGeddon said...

The Bell Rock fish n chip shop in Arbroath is quite good aswell.
An asian family bought it ( think it's now part of the Inverbervie chip shop chain) and you can get curry flavoured batter on your fish.
There's a seating area outside but I must admit I've never seen anyone sitting there as it's always baltic.

subrosa said...

Curried batter? Jeez I've heard it all now.

Mind you, there are few places which can outdo the Bervie Chipper. Only Anstruther springs to mind.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I never sail past the Torran Rocks without lifting a glass* to the Stevensons. It's the sight (almost - it's barely visible at that distance) of the Dubh Artach lighthouse that sets the pulse racing.

The work, the determination, the skill, the sheer "make it happen" that those guys had!

It wouldn't be allowed now, of course - far, far too dangerous.

* A metaphorical glass, of course, while at sea; the real thing comes later, when the anchor's down and the boat's safe.

Dramfineday said...

And just what you need for the correct atmosphere when thinking of the lighthouse:-


7 mins and 42 seconds in and lasts till 8.20. Enjoy a wee hoot while reflecting on the lives saved!

subrosa said...

That's a wild part of the coast WY but for you I suspect it's heaven on earth.

Good to know there's no alcohol consumed at sea, but don't all sailors keep a bottle of brandy or rum for medicinal purposes?

Very true. We'll never see such feats of engineering again.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link Dram. My father's favourite programme that was.

I think I even remember that wee bit about 'I did that speech for the drama club'.

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