Saturday, 2 December 2017

Evolution not revolution, St Abb’s Head Lighthouse

A new flashing LED light was installed earlier this year to replace the old revolving lens system. The new LED system is a small box tacked onto the outside of the main light housing. The unit is motionless and flashes a very clinical white light once every 10 seconds.

Many will miss the warm sweeping beams of the old light as it would glance the cliffs south towards Eyemouth and north towards Dunbar. Always a welcome sight when heading north along the A1. It should however be remembered that this new system is an upgrade and will ultimately improve safety for mariners through being more reliable. The Northern Lighthouse Board have been converting many lights to the LED system as it is more energy efficient and requires less maintenance. Let's not forget that lighthouse technology has been evolving constantly over the years. The light here at St Abb’s was initially oil powered and first lit in 1862. It was converted to incandescent power in 1906, mains electricity in 1966 and became fully automated in 1993.

While working as a Ranger at the NTS National Nature Reserve I was lucky enough to live in one of the old keeper's cottages. Thankfully I took these photos showing the old revolving light and beams of rotating light.  


The old lantern has now been shrouded, apparently due to the risk of the sun catching the now motionless lens and causing a fire. It look as though the Northern Lighthouse Board brought contractors in for some of the recent refurbishment work… let’s hope they return to tidy up soon!

Ps.. Yes the blog title was stolen from an episode of Alan Partridge.

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