Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Pentland Skerries Lighthouse

Photo of Pentland Skerries Lighthouse in the snow © Charles Tait

The Pentland Skerries is a small group of islets, stacks and reefs located in the Pentland Firth that separates the Scottish mainland from Orkney. The islets consist of Muckle Skerry and a long shoal running northeast from Little Skerry to Clettack Skerry. Muckle Skerry has three tiny lochans and a table-shaped northern promontory called "Tennis Court." To make it possible for ships to avoid the long route of sailing around the islands of Orkney two lighthouses were built in 1794 on Muckle Skerry.

Built by Orkney masons, it was superintended by Robert Stevenson as his first work for the Board. It was rebuilt between 1821 and 1830 One tower was 79 feet tall while the other was 59 feet tall. The old double lights were discounted in 1895 on the installation of powerful group flashing lights. The shorter of the two now has a fog horn on it. The lighthouse was automated in 1994.

Photo of Pentland Skerries Lighthouse on the right by George Brown via Wikimedia.

In 1939, the light was converted to electric operation, the power for which is produced by 3 diesel generators, any one of which is able to carry the full station load.

The lighthouse used to be relieved by ship, which sometimes involved a long sea trip and long delays in bad weather. But in 1972 a helicopter came into the service to deliver stores, diesel oil and fresh water etc.

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