Saturday, 29 January 2011

A photogenic lighthouse

Rather than stay in a hotel or B&B in Aberdeen, I opted for the comforts of the bunkhouse at Rattray Head. Actually, it was extremely comfortable and I'd highly recommend it!

It's a couple of miles along a rather interesting road, but it's well worth the visit. The bunkhouse is in the old lighthouse keepers' accommodation on the shore behind the sand dunes, while the lighthouse is built on a concrete platform out at sea beyond the dunes.

Looking back across the dunes to the lighthouse buildings, now a bunkhouse.

I had the bunkhouse to myself. It was warm, comfortable, and well equipped and to my amazement it had wifi!


I went for a walk on the beach in the afternoon, and stayed for quite a while as it gradually got darker.

I found the lighthouse rather photogenic - and did take quite a few photos of it....

The Stevenson lighthouse was completed in 1895 (work began in 1892). It apparently cost £18,949 1/1d to build. It's possible to walk out to it at low tide - but it was pitch dark at low tide, so I didn't do that. The lighthouse keepers were heading out to do some maintenance at night while I was there - I think they were going to be staying out there for a few days until the work was completed.

Apparently in 1977 a mains electricity supply and telephone cable were laid under the sea-bed. Shortly after this, in 1982, the lighthouse was automated. This seems very early to me, considering that Fair Isle South, the last to be automated, was only automated in 1998.

I wonder what the first Scottish lighthouse to be automated was? There's a lighthouse museum in Fraserburgh, where I guess I would find out, but I didn't have time to visit it. Maybe another time...

Looking south along the beach to the St Fergus gas terminal. North along the beach is Fraserburgh and I think the beach itself is something like 11 miles long.

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