Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Cloch Point Lighthouse

Cloch Point lies north of Inverkip, three miles south west of Gourock, on the east shore of the Firth of Clyde, opposite Dunoon.

The Cloch lighthouse is on the shore of the Firth of Clyde, at the point where the river turns from flowing west to a southerly direction into the estuary and then the open sea. It was thus a well-known landmark for many who left Scotland to emigrate to around the world - and a welcome sight for travellers returning to Scotland. The name Cloch (you need to be a Scot - or maybe German - to be able to get the "och" properly!) comes from the Gaelic word for stone.

The lighthouse was designed by Thomas Smith and his son-in-law Robert Stevenson, to warn boats away from The Gantocks, a dangerous reef of rocks or skerry directly west of the point. Building was completed in 1797. There were two generations of keepers' houses, the older now used as stores and the more recent having crow-stepped gables. The short circular-section tower has a corbelled walkway and triangular windows. The foghorns were added between 1895 and 1897.

The light was built by John Clarkson (engineer); Kermack and Gall built the tower, while Smith and Stevenson installed the oil lantern which was first lit on 11 August 1797. About 1900, it was lit with acetylene. A radio beacon was installed about 1931.

The lenses floated in baths of mercury, and were rotated by a clockwork mechanism powered by falling weights. The keepers had to wind the mechanism by hand every two to three hours. Today, the light is fully automated and unmanned and the main light has been replaced by a light on a pole outside the lantern room.

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