Download e-book for iPad: A natural history of lighthouses by John A. Love

By John A. Love

ISBN-10: 1849951543

ISBN-13: 9781849951548

This is the tale of lightkeepers’ contributions to the usual background of lighthouses along with the background and upkeep of the manned navigation beacons. due to the fact keepers have been first engaged to take care of lighthouses round the British coast they've got encountered natural world, and often times constructed a willing curiosity and services at the topic. in the direction of the tip of the nineteenth century keepers have been inspired to put up annual returns of chook routine permitting stories on chook migration and several other authoritative books to be compiled. for that reason, ornithologists started to realize what number lighthouses have been well-placed to set up fowl observatories. even though, lightkeepers additionally well-known that during definite climatic conditions and through migration instances, flocks of birds have been interested in the beam, leading to many fatalities. whereas the matter is now greater understood and significantly decreased, the automation of all British lighthouses has led to there not being lighthouse keepers to watch the placement and record fowl, sea mammal, insect and bat routine.

The common background of Lighthouses highlights the contribution made via lighthouse keepers during the last century or to the examine of ordinary historical past, and ornithology particularly. a lot of this can be mentioned within the phrases of the keepers themselves, set within the context of lighthouse background. Scotland has a particularly wealthy lighthouse culture, regularly because of a dynasty of Stevenson engineers overlaying over a century, all of whom additionally had a profound knowing of climate and geology—and certainly traditional history—so very important within the putting in their lighthouses.

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Nearly two centuries later it was still said how the sound of seabirds reflecting off the cliffs at South Stack near Holyhead helped orientate mariners in foggy weather, not just back in the silent days of sail but also during the last war to the crews of the pilot boats. For a long time mariners depended upon experience, or memorised sailing instructions until, around 1540, a pilot Alexander Lindsay wrote them down for James V of Scotland. The King wished to sail his fleet round the north of his realm to subdue the rebellious Hebridean lords.

Lighthouses can never totally prevent accidents however, and are no guarantee of safety. Indeed they might even be implicated in accidents. An extraordinary event, and mercifully with no loss of life, took place in west Norway. At the entrance to Florø harbour in Sogn og Fjordane stands a tiny islet barely large enough to support its handsome wooden lighthouse. It is named Stabben because the rock rises straight up from the sea and is shaped a bit like a stump or ‘stabbe’. When the station was built in 1867 all the facilities normally constructed around any other lighthouse had to be incorporated inside its cellar, with family accommodation on the floor above.

In the early morning of Friday 26 November 1703 – still fit and strong for all his 59 years – he bravely set sail from the Barbican Steps in Plymouth with several men who were to relieve the duty lightkeepers. He himself intended to stay in the tower for a few days, to oversee some repairs before returning ashore and onwards by coach to his London home for Christmas. However, after several weeks of persistent gales the sea was still displaying a considerable swell. The small tender had undertaken the voyage in similar conditions many times before but, due to the uncertainty of the weather, the skipper James Bound, was reluctant to take Winstanley.

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A natural history of lighthouses by John A. Love

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