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Toward Point Lighthouse

Toward Point Lighthouse is situated at the southern tip of the Cowal peninsula in Argyll and Bute, guiding ships between the outer and inner Firth of Clyde, past the islands of Bute, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae. It was built in 1812 by Robert Stevenson (1772 - 1850) for the Cumbrae Lighthouse Trust and comprises a tapering circular ashlar tower, some 19.2m (63 feet) in height, with an iron walkway corbelled out below the lantern. The light was originally illuminated by oil lamps. However, in 1930, an innovative new lighting system was installed on the recommendation of David Alan Stevenson (1854 - 1938) and Charles Alexander Stevenson (1855 - 1950). This used a new paraffin lamp with large parabolic mirrors, revolving on a bath of mercury. This proved to be both brighter and more cost-effective than a system based on a lens. The light can be observed at a distance of up to 14 nautical miles (26 km). This optical system was subsequently installed at several other lighthouses by the Northern Lighthouse Board. A steam-powered foghorn was added in the later 19th C. and this operated until the 1990s, although its original steam power was replaced by a diesel engine.

The lighthouse was automated in 1974 and Category B-listed in 1980. The Cumbrae Lighthouse Trust became the Clyde Lighthouses Trust, which merged to form the Clyde Port Authority in 1966. Now privatised, this Authority continues to own and operate the lighthouse.

A single-storey lightkeepers' cottage lies adjacent, with further houses added in 1867. These are now let as holiday accommodation.


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