Saturday, June 24, 2006

Windy Walk

(This post follows on from the previous one!!!)

Once I had been round John Muir's birthplace and nearly blown away trying to take a picture of the statue of him as a child I decided that I would go buy something for a picnic lunch. Once I'd done that I headed out towards Barns Ness Light House which is just down the coast from Dunbar. I actually turned off the road too early and landed up at Whitesands beach instead.

This was an amazing place. I had never been here before and was really "blown away" by its beauty. Having said that I was nearly blown away by the wind too!!! The water was a clear turquoise blue and I could see how the beach got its name.....The sand was really white. I headed off along a rather narrow coastal path (part of the John Muir Way) towards the light house. On the way I passed a ruined lime kiln which was probably built in the 18th Century.

Just down from the lime kiln you could see where the harbour had been cut into the rocks to allow the boats to come inshore to load up the lime.

A long this part of the coast, at low tide, on the fore shore, you can find 9 different limestones, all identified from their different fossils. There is still a cement works in the area and to the east of this you can find prehistoric archaeological remains. Where the current quarry is can be found the remains of a substantial Iron Age fort which was excavated in the late 1970's. More recent excavations have uncovered the remains of one of Scotland's earliest prehistoric houses.

I continued to walk and just further a long the coast I found Barn Ness Light House.

The light house is 37m (121ft) high and its beacon had a range of 10 miles. The light was finally extinguished on 25th October 2005 and placed on the market in March 2006, with the possibility of it being made into a house.

The light first shone on 1st October 1901, nearly 2.5 years after construction begun, using stone built from Craigree and Barnton quarries in Edinburgh. This stone proved to be very tough coz during WWII it was machine gunned and no damage was sustained.

It was built by engineering brothers David A and Charles Alexander Stevenson, who belonged to the family that build most of Scotland's Victorian lighthouses and were cousins to Robert Louis Stevenson. There are a total of 169 steps up to the top of the lighthouse, where you find the light room. Up till 1966 it was manned by 2 light keepers, it then changed to 1 when it became semi-automatic. The candlepower of the light was 1,300,000 and was the first of its type to be used by the Northern Lighthouse Service.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints I had to turn round and return to my car as time was moving on and I had to be back to pick the kids up from school. I really enjoyed my short time here and plan to return in the near future with the kids and possibly hubby too, to explore the area better.


Blogger peri said...

Interesting post and amazing scenery - quite inspiring. I wonder if anyone will buy/live in the lighthouse.
I envy you your 'me' time. What with home-ed and agoraphobia it's hard for me to escape. But as I said I found your post inspiring - perhaps it's time I tried going off on my own for a bit.
The thought is scary though.

9:48 am  

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