Thursday, 26 September 2013

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse shines again.

The original light at Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was established by Thomas Smith on 1 December 1787.[1] A lantern was set 120 feet (37 m) above the sea on a tower of the old castle. Whale oil lamps produced a fixed light, each backed by a parabolic reflector. Kinnaird Head was the most powerful light of its time, and contained 17 reflectors arranged in 3 horizontal tiers. It was reported to be visible from 12 to 14 miles (10 to 12 nmi; 19 to 23 km) miles.
In 1824, internal alternations were made to incorporate a new lantern and to provide accommodation for the light keepers. In 1906 the light was converted to incandescent operation. In 1929 Kinnaird Head became home to the first radio beacon in Scotland.[1] The Fog Signal was discontinued in 1987, although the horn is still in place. The original lighthouse is no longer operational and is now home to The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. A new automatic light was established beside the original light in 1991.
In 2012 the old Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was lit for two anniversary celebrations. First, on 2 June 2012 the light was exhibited in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This co-incided with the lighting of the NLB's Queen's Diamond Jubilee Beacon at Kinnaird Head Lighthouse. Secondly, the light was exhibited on the 1st December 2012 in celebration of Kinnaird Head's 225th anniversary. The light was lit at 3.31pm, and extinguished at 8.30am the next morning, marking a full 17 hour shift. On that occasion Kinnaird Head was the only manned lighthouse in the British Isles, albeit outwith NLB service. Both events were organised by the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

Now I am letting you in on a little secret, just a bit of it, the main part of the secret remains so.  On Tuesday the 24th September the light was lit again.  

As the light comes round it lights up the surrounding area.


Below you have on the left the one that lights up every night and on your right the one we keep for special occasions!

Which one do you prefer?  I prefer the one on the right, but of course it is not automatic.  There is a heck of a lot of work involved in lighting the old light.  Winding up of chains, to make it go round, polishing all the lenses, very old glass.......  In fact it is just a light bulb, same as the 'new one', but the lenses are what makes the light reach out for miles across the sea.

The natives are for ever going on about how they miss the light, how they wish the light would be on, and do you know what?  Nobody noticed it was on!  It was lit for just one hour on Tuesday evening.  This one hour caused a lot of work, not only at the Lighthouse Museum, but at the Maritime Agency who had to alert all shipping that the light they were seeing  was Kinnaird Head and only temporary so the Captains didnt think they had had too much grog.  Every lighthouse has a different timing.  I think Kinnaird Head came round every 5 seconds, so thats how you know where you are.  The coming round is down to physical labour winding up the chains that move the mechanism, if you want to know more come to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses!  We have quite a few lights and lighthouses too.

The reason why the light was lit is still a secret.  Fear not friends when I am able to reveal all you will be the first to know.


Mum said...

Was it someone's birthday?
Love from Mum

justjill said...

No! Way off.

BadPenny said...

What a mystery... I do like the softer light but imagine bright is best.
When My mother lived at Penmon Point, Anglesey, one of the things I loved was the lighthouse & it's
" dong "
One visit I said, "It's not Donging" and sure enough it wasn't. Soon fixed.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, how amazing that you know such a cool secret! I hope you are feeling a lot better now, Jill. Thanks for your nice comment too. x