Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Fair Isle South

Photo by Dave Wheeler via Wikimedia

Fair Isle the South (also known as Skaddan) has machinery and equipment almost identical to that at the North Light. A noticeable difference to the visitor, however, is that the height to the light from the ground is 73 feet - another 26 feet of stair-climbing against that required at the North Light.

The lighthouse was built in 1892 and engineered by David A. Stevenson. (The graphic of the lighthouse here is via Wikimedia).

During an air attack in December 1941, the wife of an Assistant Lightkeeper was killed and her infant daughter slightly hurt. Six weeks after this the wife and daughter of the Principal Lightkeeper were killed when a second air attack produced a direct hit on the main dwelling block on 21 January 1942. Roderick Macaulay, Assistant Lightkeeper, walked 3 miles from the North Lighthouse where he and his daughter had a narrow escape in an earlier raid. Through snowdrifts and gale force winds he journeyed to lend a hand in restoring the South Light to operational order, and back again in the dark to take his own regular watch; he received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for outstanding services. (The graphic here is by Ron Ireland, via Wikimedia).

There is no mains electricity supply on Fair Isle apart from a local wind generator and constant running diesel generators in a modernised engine room.

The fog signal used compressed air type where the energy can be stored in the air receivers and quickly expelled to give the character of two blasts of 1.5 seconds duration every 60 seconds. The compressors to supply the necessary air were electrically driven from the main station generators. The fog signal was replaced with an electric emitter type during the automation.

Fair Isle made history in 1998 when on March 31st it was the last manned station to have its keepers removed in Scotland. This ended 200 years of lighthouse keeping in Scotland. It was a sad event but inevitable as the technology had advanced. Now the Scottish lights still beam but are tended by a computer instead of man. (Graphic here is by Dave Wheeler via Wikimedia)

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