Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Noss Head

Photo by Doug Lee via Wikimedia

Noss Head is located three miles outside the town of Wick in Caithness. It sits on the eastern most projection on the Northeastern coast of Scotland. It was automated in 1987. The Northern Lighthouse Board have sold many redundant buildings within the lighthouse complex and are no longer responsible for the maintenance of these building. In 1997, the current owner had abandoned it so the keeper's accommodations were badly in need of repair when this photo was taken.

The name Noss Head comes from the Old Norse word, Snos, a nose, the peak of a nose-shaped headland. (Graphic on the left of Noss Head across Sinclair's Bay by Chris Downer via Wikimedia). The lighthouse was completed in 1849 by Mr Robert Arnot of Inverness, and the light first shone on Monday 18 June 1849. A new style of lantern with diagonal instead of vertical framing was first used by Stevenson at Noss Head. Stronger and less liable to intercept light in any particular direction, it was adopted as the standard pattern for the service. The original lamp from Noss Head is now in the museum at Wick. The lens which is approximately 6ft in diameter rotates by clockwork machinery around a mercury vapour lamp.

The following poem, written by James G Duncan, hangs framed in the lightroom:-

To Noss Head Light

As sweet to me as light of moon or star,
Is thy bright gleam, old trusty friend Noss Head
And doubly sweet, when o'er wide ocean far
The ray benignant on my course is shed
Blest be the hand that raised your steadfast tower
And he who trims your never-failing light
For oft when round me midnight tempests lower
Hope's pulse had failed, but for thy flash so bright
My gallant boat, though scarce inch-thick her planks
Flies livelier on the track that heads her home
And dips her prow, as if in grateful thanks
When first your welcome ray reveals the billows foam
Long where the nights and weary were my watch
If from the lively deck thy flame I did not catch.

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