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Skerryvore Lighthouse


(Skerry Vhor Lighthouse)

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Skerryvore Lighthouse, a lighthouse on a rock forming one of an extensive reef, 10 miles SW of the Isle of Tyree. Lying in the fairway of vessels making for the Clyde and Mersey, and exposed to the mighty' fetch' of the Atlantic, this reef was long the terror of mariners. The rock on which the tower is built is composed of gneiss worn so smooth by the continued action of the sea that the foreman mason compared landing on it to climbing up the neck of a bottle. In order that the light might show far beyond the foul ground, the tower was so designed as to have a range of 18½ nautical miles. The tower is 137 feet 11 inches high (158 feet to top of the lantern), 42 feet in diameter at base, decreasing to 16 feet at the top, and contains a mass of granite masonry of 58, 580 cubic feet. For 26 feet in height the tower is solid, and the contents weigh nearly 2000 tons. The walls, as they spring from the solid, are 9½ feet thick, gradually diminishing to 2 feet at the top. Above the solid the interior is 12 feet in diameter, divided into nine stories, surmounted by a lightroom and lantern. Operations were commenced on the rock in 1838, and the light was exhibited in February 1844, six years being thus occupied in the work. The apparatus is dioptric revolving, the light attaining its greatest brilliance once a minute; the machinery which drives the apparatus is also employed to toll fog-bells. The tower is the tallest and most graceful rock lighthouse in Britain, if not in the world. The cost of the work, including the steam-vessel, the small harbour for the attending vessel, and the dwellings for the keepers and seamen, was £86, 977. The lighthouse, which was designed and erected by the late Mr Alan Stevenson, is a noble monument of his engineering skill. See his Account of the Skerryvore Lighthouse (Edinb. 1848).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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