Trust talk to focus on the Bell Rock

The next afternoon talk organised by the National Trust for Scotland Angus Members’ Centre is on Thursday (tomorrow) when Colin Easton, curator of the Signal Tower Museum in Arbroath, will talk about “The Bell Rock Lighthouse”.

The Bell Rock Lighthouse is the oldest existing lighthouse in the UK to be built on a rock out at sea and was the first revolving light in Scotland.

It sits on the Bell Rock, a long submerged reef lying approximately eleven miles off Arbroath, which poses a great hazard for shipping.

The lighthouse was built by Robert Stevenson, who began construction in August 1807.

Due to the low lying nature of the reef, some days it was only possible to work for just a couple of hours at low tide before the water was too deep to continue. In addition, the work was restricted to the relatively calmer spring/summer months. Thus it took several seasons before the lighthouse was finally finished.

It was lit for the first time in February 1811.

At high tide the rock – and hence the lighthouse - can be up to 16 feet under water.

To withstand this daily submergence and the fierce winter storms, the lower 30 feet of the lighthouse is totally solid, made from an intricate pattern of interlocking blocks of granite and sandstone.

On shore the Signal Tower in Arbroath was used to house the families of the keepers and the signalling system used to communicate with the lighthouse.

Based in the Signal Tower, which is now a local museum, Mr Easton will regal us with the story of the magnificent feat of engineering that is the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Pop along to the Guide Hall in Forfar at 2.30 pm on Thursday to learn more.