Thursday, 31 May 2012

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse
  We took time off the island to visit the lighthouse at the tip of the Ardnamurchan peninsular with some friends on a visit to the Hebrides from their home in Sweden. After the very hot weather of the past week it was almost a pleasure for the day to be overcast but warm as we set out. We had two choices of route. Either across the Sound of Mull on the short ferry trip to Lochaline, and then a single-track road across Morven skirting Loch Sunart and driving along the length of the peninsular, a trip of about sixty miles but a very scenic one. Alternately we could drive to Tobermory catch the Calmac Ferry to Kilchoan and make the short drive of ten miles out to the lighthouse. Although it is expensive to take the land rover on the Kilchoan ferry it seemed an easier option than the drive round with the bonus that the ferry would pass close to another lighthouse, Rubha nan Gall just north of Tobermory.
The now redundant fog signal trumpet
On board the ferry one of the crew members said on the previous trip they had stopped the ferry to let a school of dolphins swim clear, but no such luck for us! We think all the wild life on Mull are playing hide and seek with us though last week we did see an otter swimming past our local beach!

Alan Stevenson built the lighthouse between 1845 and 1849. It stands on flat rock about twenty metres above the sea on an otherwise mountainous peninsular at the most westerly point of mainland Britain. The granite that the thirty-six metre high tower was built from came by boat from the southern end of Mull and was landed on a temporary pier. The large lens, one of the first hyperadial ones, is now in the visitor centre as it was replaced in recent years by sealed beam units. The keepers were also replaced by automated equipment and the careful husbandry of the keepers and their families notable by its absence as the lighthouse now has a neglected appearance that belies its efficient service to passing mariners in a area noted for bad weather and fast flowing tidal streams. A wildlife watcher with his large ‘scope reported plenty of birds to be seen but not a single porpoise, dolphin or whale in sight. Maybe better luck on the way home!!

The only ferry passengers!

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