North Carr Rock

(North Carr)

Lying off the Fife coastline in the North Sea, the North Carr Rock lies 1¼ miles (2 km) north of the headland of Fife Ness. These rocks posed a significant danger to shipping. Having successfully completed the remarkable Bell Rock Lighthouse, located only 12 miles (20 km) to the northeast, engineer Robert Stevenson (1772 - 1850) turned his attention to the North Carr rocks, well aware of the danger they represented and having personally recorded the vessels wrecked here in the early 19th century. He persuaded the Northern Lighthouse Board to build a beacon. Work began in 1813 but the task proved very difficult because the rocks were only uncovered for a few hours every month and the masonry blocks were regularly washed away by storms. A modest beacon comprising a masonry base and cast-iron superstructure was completed in 1821, but proved unsatisfactory and the first of a succession of lightships took up the station in 1887. Tragedy struck in 1959 when the Broughty Ferry lifeboat was launched to rescue the crew after the lightship had broken its moorings. The lifeboat capsized and her crew of eight were lost. The lightships were withdrawn when Fife Ness Lighthouse was commissioned in 1975 and the last ship remains berthed in Victoria Dock in Dundee, while Stevenson's beacon can still be seen on the rocks.

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