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Architectural drawings document Stevenson Lighthouses

November 23 2020

Architectural drawings document Stevenson Lighthouses

Architect Alan Dunlop is tackling a new artistic challenge by documenting 30 Stevenson Lighthouses scattered across the furthest flung corners of the country.

Focussing on lighthouses built by civil engineer Robert Stevenson directly the set also includes works by his descendants, son Alan, David and Thomas, who between them delivered navigational aids in the most bleak and remote but beautiful locations.To kick things off Dunlop unveils the first eight, a set encompassing the famed Bell Rock as well as Lismore and the Butt of Lewis.

Neist Point: Neist Point Lighthouse is situated on the most westerly point of Skye. Neist Point was built in 1900 and was originally a manned lighthouse. The light is 43 meters above sea level and can be seen up to 16 nautical miles offshore. The keeper’s cottages that surround the main tower are now privately owned and used as holiday cottages. David Stevenson, the cousin of Scot's author Robert Louis Stevenson was the designer. He worked on twenty-six Scottish lighthouses during his career. Neist Point is renowned for its rock formations, which are similar to those at Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. It is said that the causeway extends under the sea from Northern Ireland to the Isle of Skye. Supplies to the Lighthouse and adjoining cottages are delivered by an aerial cableway.

Noss Head: Noss Head Lighthouse sits on the edge of spectacular sea cliffs , near Wick at Caithness Head. 18 meters high and built in 1849 by Robert Arnot. The designer was Alan Stevenson. The name Noss Head comes from the Old Norse word, Snos, a nose, the peak of nose-shaped headland. Not far and at Sinclair Bay, are the ruins of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, dating from the late 15th century. It belonged to the Sinclair Earls of Caithness. The castle was defended against assault from the sea by a strong wall. High winds and erosion of the surrounding cliffs now threatened to further destroy the last parts of the Castle. The Clan Sinclair Trust, have reversed the damage and much of the ruin has been repaired and stabilised. A new footbridge was built in 2008, which allows easier access to the castle. Scotland's Puffins are primarily found on the East and North coast. They are a sub-species of Auk which includes guillemots and penguins. They have black upper parts and white under parts, with a distinctive rainbow coloured deep bill as well as white cheeks and a conspicuous, clown-like black stripe down over each red-ringed eye.

Bell Rock: Bell Rock Lighthouse 1807/1810. The world's oldest sea washed lighthouse. Designed by Robert Stevenson and constructed 11 miles off the coast of Angus in Scotland. The lighthouse is 35 metres tall and sits on a reef covered by 14ft of water at high tide. Before the lighthouse was built, it was notorious for shipwrecks - around six ships were lost on the reef every winter.

Ardnamurchan: The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, was built in 1845 under the supervision of Alan Stevenson, uncle of Scot's author Robert Louis Stevenson. It sits on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and looks toward the Isles of Coll, Rum and Mull. Coastlines around the peninsula meet at Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point on the British mainland. Scotland's Sea Eagles were hunted to extinction in the 1880's but reintroduced in the 1970's in breeding pairs to Skye, Rum, Mull and on Scotland's rugged west coast, including the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.

Dubh Artach: Dubh Artach Lighthouse ( The Black Rock ) is located 12 miles west of the Ross of Mull on basaltic rock between the Rinns of Islay and Skerryvore. Construction began in 1867 and completed in 1872. It was built by engineers Thomas and David Stevenson with the aid of steam power. The light was automated in 1971 and now is accessed and serviced by helicopter. The lighthouse is 44 metres high and has a distinctive red band. The northern gannet is the largest species of the gannet family. It is native to the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean. It is white and has a distinctive black wingtip and a yellow head. They feed by circling high above the waves, before folding their wings back and diving into the water headfirst at up to 60 miles per hour.

Butt of Lewis: Butt of Lewis Lighthouse 1862 designed by David and Thomas Stevenson and built in red brick which was unusual. it stands 37 metres high and has 168 steps to the top. It was one of the last lighthouses to be automated in 1998. Northern Fulmars live entirely at sea. When hunting they are ocean divers, plunging several metres under the water to nab prey, or plucking them out from just under the surface. They are monogamous and the pairs will return to the same nesting location every year.

Kyleakin: Kyleakin Lighthouse, Eilean Ban, Kyle of Lochalsh, Isle of Skye was designed by David and Thomas Stevenson, and built in 1857. The lighthouse is linked by an access bridge and causeway to a pair of single-storey, back-to-back, former keepers' houses. It was automated in 1960 but was finally decommissioned in 1993 after being made obsolete by the construction of the overarching Skye Road Bridge. After decommissioning, the lighthouse was denoted as a day mark and remains a landmark that it is used for navigation during the day, and must therefore continue to be kept in good condition. In the background are the two snow covered Cuillin mountain ranges which dominate the landscape on Skye: the Black Cuillin and the Red Cuillin separated by Glen Sligachan.

Lismore: The Stevenson Lighthouse at Lismore was built by Robert Stevenson in 1833 and is situated on Eilean Musdile, in the Firth of Lorne. It sits on low-lying rock at the entrance to Loch Linnhe, CalMac ferries, going from Oban to Mull, pass close to the island. The lighthouse was automated in 1965. In the background, on the mainland, are some of Scotland's finest Munros, including the pointed peak of Ben Cruachan. The highest point in Argyll and Bute The short beaked common dolphin can be seen off western Scotland but most commonly in the Moray Firth. They are generally summer visitors with sightings peaking between May and October, when food is most abundant. Most recently common dolphins have been sighted in Loch Linnhe and in Tobermory Harbour.

The collection follows on from a survey of monuments and sculpture erected as memorials. 

Dunlop has identified a further 22 lighthouses to draw as part of the collection
Dunlop has identified a further 22 lighthouses to draw as part of the collection

1 Comment

#1 Posted by David on 24 Nov 2020 at 12:59 PM

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