When is a Lighthouse….Not a Lighthouse ?


The Watch Tower, Arbroath, on the Angus Coast, North East Scotland

I think the original name, and perhaps the more appropriate name, is Bell Rock Signal Tower.  Built in 1813 it was constructed to provide a vital link to Bell Rock Lighthouse some 11 miles away out in the often rough North Sea.  Radio and phone were not communication options available in those times, so a series of signals were agreed between Lighthouse way out in the ocean and the Signal (Watch) Tower at Arbroath’s harbour.  Messages were relayed by raising and lowering (and various positions in-between) the Red Ball on the mast atop of the Tower.  The Lighthouse had a matching system so by means of a code communications were established.  Today the Watch Tower is a Museum,  well worth a visit, where you can hear about the special messages sent out to the Lighthouse Keepers….should one of their wives give birth a message was sent up the pole.  A pair of trousers if it was a boy and a dress if it was a girl ….simple but effective.  Despite not being a lighthouse it was still a vital link in keeping shipping safe arround the coast.

(P.S. I should perhaps dedicate this post to fellow blogger Scott Marshall http://skm1963.com/  who is currently active on a project to photograph all of Scotland’s Lighthouse’s.  As this is not a true Lighthouse I guess it is one he may not include in his project.  Visit his blog and you will occasionally see the spectacular results of his progress)

7th September

© David Oakes 2014

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