Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Lady isle Lighthouse

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Lady Isle is a small, uninhabited island, in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. It was once home to a chapel endowed by John Blair in 1446 and dedicated to Saint Mary. It lies 2 miles [3.2 km] SouthWest of Troon. The island is around 0.6 kilometres (650 yards) along its length and rises to a maximum height of just 6 metres (20 feet).

Around 1776, the town of Glasgow set up a pair of beacons on Lady Isle to indicate the position of the anchorage, which was situated to the east or inshore, for the benefit of ships serving Glasgow merchants. The lighthouse was later built on the site of one of the beacons and the remaining 18th-century 'beacon' when aligned with the lighthouse continued to allow mariners to follow a safe course to a sheltered anchorage. In addition to providing shelter for smaller ships en route to Irvine, those with a tonnage of over 220 tons, too large to enter Irvine harbour, could also find anchorage in 10 to 14 fathoms [18 to 26m] in an area east of, and sheltered by Lady Isle.

Mariners have to beware the drying rock (known as Half tide rock) all around the island up to 2 cables to the northeast. The graphic on the right (via Wikimedia Commons) shows sunset over the island looking towards the Isle of Arran. The Half tide rock is visible to the right hand side.

Lady Isle is owned by the Marquess of Ailsa and was for many years leased out as a bird sanctuary with a bird observatory and warden's post built and run by the Scottish Society for the Protection of Wild Birds (SSPWB).

Established in 1903, the lighthouse is not the standard round tower type but rather consists of a platform built on buttresses with an exterior stairwell. The light is still used as a navigational aid and is managed by the Northern Lighthouse Board. A large white horizontal cylinder used to hold the gas supply for the lighthouse light which was converted to electricity during the refurbishment and solarisation in around 2004.

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