horns of wilmington's cow

By anth

Eilan Glas

That's a proper lighthouse that is. The very original lighthouse on the site is little more than a simple round tower behind the foghorn, but it was first built in 1789. 17. 89. The year George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States; the Mutiny on the Bounty takes place; and les Miserables is first performed. Sorry, the French Revolution begins.

This was designed by Thomas Smith, but in 1824 the structure was replaced by the current tower, designed by his stepson, and Lighthouser-extraordinaire, Robert Stevenson. 

The Stevenson influence doesn't end there, with new keepers' houses added in 1847, which were designed by Alan Stevenson, his son (for the record, Robert married his stepsister, Jean Smith, so the Stevensons really did like keeping things in the family). Alan was heavily influenced by Egypt, and a lot of this comes through in the design (in the extras).

Anyway, you've certainly got to admire the fact that back in those days they still took care and attention over creating something aesthetically pleasing that they could safely assume only a few people would ever see.

We've been here before, but never seen it in the sunshine, so it was all a bit of a treat. We decided on a longer route today, virtually looping the Isle of Scalpay with the lighthouse at the midpoint, meeting a brand new (to us) path that now runs from a point less than two miles from the point. The longer walk over the moorland, and detouring out onto a little outcrop on an inland loch, was more interesting than our brief coming together with the new path - though at around 8 miles in the end, it was also somewhat lengthier.

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