Following on from my previous post, we continued our visit to new lighthouses in Aberdeenshire. On my tour, and on more recent visits, I’d seen a variety of the lights in Aberdeen itself. Of course there’s Girdle Ness, as well as the interesting little white structure on the end of the south breakwater. In addition we’d spotted one of the Torry leading lights at the side of the road too, but had managed to miss the other. So, one aim was to spot the other of the Torry lights, which incidentally is on the other side of the same road a little further back! It looks exactly the same as its partner down the road, but features a small blue plaque stating that is was built in 1842 by the Harbour Trustees. These two lighthouses were built to lead vessels safely into the harbour after the south breakwater and north pier were constructed – which led to the harbour entrance becoming narrower.
The second of the lighthouses we hadn’t seen in Aberdeen was that at the end of the north pier. Having looked at the map, we already had a feeling that accessing this one might be tricky. Using a long lens on the camera while we were there confirmed this as there is an impassable gate a short way along the pier. We estimated that the views across to the lighthouse from Greyhope Road (the road leading out to Girdle Ness) was the closest we could get. And so that’s where we went. We did also drive around to Esplanade later on that day, but there were no better views from there. Sometimes you just need to admit defeat and settle for the best you can do!
Our next, and final, lighthouse of the day was at the fishing village of Gourdon, south of Aberdeen. The rear range lighthouse that sits at the side of Brae Road isn’t too dissimilar to that at the side of the Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus. Although you can walk right up to this one, it’s not so easy to get a good picture of it as it’s fairly surrounded by houses and trees. The picture shown here is probably the best I could do on the day.
So that was it for day two of our trip. Day three, however, was even more exciting as Bob had managed to arrange a visit to Covesea Skerries lighthouse on our way back home. When I visited Covesea back in 2012 it had sadly just been switched off. Over the past 5 years there has been a lot of work done by the local community to get the lighthouse open as a tourist attraction. They have a great website, http://covesealighthouse.co.uk, where you can find the contact details for arranging a visit. It’s run by volunteers so it’s not possible to just turn up, unless you arrive at 10am or 11am on a Saturday during the summer. After a bit of planning via text message with Sheila (one of the volunteer team), we managed to organise a visit for the Sunday, thanks to the very accommodating team – particularly Lynne and Graham who showed us around and allowed our little boy up to the top – he was very proud to have climbed to the top!
They have obviously put a lot of time and energy into opening the lighthouse up. They’ve even had local students there painting it. Of course, opening any building up to the public brings a lot of safety regulations along with it and they seem to have managed this really well without making any areas off limits. There were fantastic 360 degree views from the top of the lighthouse across the sea to the north and then Lossiemouth to the east. It was a great place to see across to RAF Lossiemouth too and they’d had a variety of planes landing and taking off from there just the day before our visit. The lamp itself has now been removed, unfortunately, but we were informed that it has now found a home at Lossiemouth Fisheries and & Community Museum (although this was closed on the day we were in the area, so we’ll need to pop back some time).
It was a fantastic opportunity and we are so grateful to Sheila, Lynne and Graham for making it possible. I would highly recommend it. I see it only getting better and better as more and more people become aware of it. Fingers crossed they keep getting the support they need 🙂