Monday, February 1, 2010

Bell Rock Lighthouse

During the summer of 1814, Walter Scott took a trip around Scotland with the Commissioners of the Northern Lights, including Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson; the Surveyor-Viceroy.  Among the sites seen was Bell Rock Lighthouse (photo at right is by Don Carter), which lies about 12 miles off the coast of Angus, Scotland in the German Ocean; the North Sea.  Built between 1807 and 1810, it was first lit on February 1, 1811.

Scott kept a journal of the trip, published as "Northern Lights or a Voyage in the Lighthouse Yacht to Nova Zembla and the Lord where in the summer of 1814". The journal includes his description of seeing Bell Rock Lighthouse for the first time:

“Its dimensions are well known; but no description can give the idea of this slight, solitary, round tower, trembling amid the billows, and fifteen miles from Arbroath, the nearest shore. The fitting up within is not only handsome, but elegant. All work of wood (almost) is wainscot; all hammer-work brass; in short, exquisitely fitted up.”

On the morning that Scott saw Bell Rock Lighthouse, he was asked to sign the Visitor's Book.  In it, he left his "Pharos Loquitur":

'Far on the bosom of the deep,

0'er these wild shelves my watch I keep;
A ruddy gem of changeful light,
Bound on the dusky brow of Night;
The seaman bids my lustre hail,
And scorns to strike his tim'rous sail'

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