Saturday, 19 March 2011


After visiting the Scottish lighthouse museum a few weeks ago (which I will get round to blogging about eventually, I'm sure) I was inspired to visit a local lighthouse I'd never been to before - Roseness.

It was a lovely walk on a sunny, but cold, day. The coastline is lovely, with great views towards Copinsay, and lots of evidence of otters in the area. If you've got sharp eyes, you might spot some kayakers too!

The Roseness gloup, while not being the most impressive one I've visited, is still well worth a look.

The coastline is really interesting, with lots of rock stacks, which had a lot of fulmars on them.

A bit further one there's some sort of structure very visible on the skyline.

When I got up to it, this is what I saw. I'm not sure what it is, and as far as I know it hasn't been excavated.

A little further on again and I was at the old beacon. I've heard that it was an early form of lighthouse - a navigation beacon, built in 1867. There's also another story locally that it was built around the turn of the century to commemorate a shipwreck and lost sailors. Either way, it's beautifully built, with a cross on top which has been designed to look like a cross from all directions. The beacon certainly stands out for miles.

There's obviously been a ladder to the top at one time, as the rusted remains testify to.

It was gifted to Orkney Islands Council in 1995. Previously it was in the ownership of the Northern Lighthouse Board, who also have a modern lighthouse nearby.

The modern lighthouse is a 'prefab' - bolted together in sections. The original NLB 'modern' lighthouse here was cast iron, built in 1904/5, and is now in the Scottish lighthouse museum as an example of the newer light and lantern housing developed by David A Stevenson. I'm not sure what year it "came to the end of its useful life" (as the lighthouse museum puts it) and was replaced by the newer prefab which is there now.

The lighthouse stands out clearly against the low winter sun, but the modern beacon dwarfs it from a distance.

I'm really glad I've done this walk, but am now at a loss to work out why I've never done it before. I wonder how many other great walks and sights I've missed during my time in Orkney....

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