Thursday, 7 July 2016
Hoy High Lighthouse
You've seen many of my photos of Hoy High lighthouse over the years. Some months ago a group of from the "Lighthouse Keepers Association" paid a visit and had got special permission from the Northern Lighthouse Board to go up the tower. I managed to acquire some photos of the inside of the light to share with you.
There are about 157 steps UP the tower (well and down too). Imagine pre-electricity days when light-house keepers had to go up and down the stairs regularly at night to keep the oil lamp burning! Now the lighthouses are un-manned and the accommodation houses at the base of them sold off. But the lights still keep shining through the night (and poor visibility conditions).
The lighthouse houses - all the lights in Scotland and their houses were designed by the Lighthouse Stevenson's and there are fascinating stories connected with their construction. Some on rocks barely big enough for a light! Robert Stevenson was a civil engineer and the designer (and yes he was related to Robert Louis Stevenson!). The Graemsay post van is parked here as the post office is in a building in the lighthouse garden! Nice and handy.
In the control room of the tower - this pole is painted it's actually just a cement pillar!
And for all the brightness of the light - it's just these two tiny bulbs that keep it going!!
It's the refraction from the glass that makes the light so bright and "big".
Another view of the glass
The view through the window to the pier
And the lighthouse garden!
To the right of the light you can just make out the Hamnavoe ferry setting sail for Scrabster.
And apparently this doorway leads to the hollow chamber that runs from the floor to the top of the light. All the cables run up and down here.
One of the windows at the top of the staircase
And the ID plaque outside
There used to be a helipad for the light to bring engineers over, there is also a vessel (Usually the Pole Star) that services the lights and buoys around the waterways. Often workmen just come over on our regular Graemsay ferry. The Pole Star was here a few weeks ago as part of the Battle of Jutland commemorations. HRH Princess Anne stayed on board as she is President of the Northern Lighthouse board. She's been to Graemsay before in that capacity too! But not this time.
And there's the ship and the light in the distance....
Currently there's a lot of work going on at Hoy High light to update all the electrics etc and so there is a temporary arrangement on the top of the tower to keep the light going.- you can just see two "gizmos" on the rain around the light.
As you can see, the back of the light is blocked out so it doesn't shine into our bedroom windows! It's not a revolving light but a static light. It's a "leading light" in conjunction with Hoy Low - the herring fleet in the late 19th century had to line the two lights up. If they got red they were off line, it had to be both white to give them safe passage through the narrow channel in the Sound into the harbour.