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The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Stumble Head Lighthouse

Stumble Head Lighthouse has been the venue for several of our activities in recent years a breathtaking location and certainly takes your breath away to walk to the summit. This has been to coincide with the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend which takes place over the middle weekend of August each year (see links for official website).


jeff__rob_mw0rlj Over the years we have been priveledged with being able to go to the lighthouse and operate from inside. This is thanks to Trinity House, and in particular Jeff the lighthouse keeper (Pictured right talking to Rob MW0RLJ).

Jeff has kindly given all the team a guided tour of the lighthouse, and with his knowledge of the history of the light he has educated all of us to how lighthouse work and their importance in their role as Navigational Aids to Shipping.

Strumble Head Lighthouse stands imposingly on Ynysmeicl (St Michaels Island - Not IOTA), an islet just to the west of Fishguard, seperated by a narrow gap through which the sea froths and boils in stormy weather.

light_plaqueThe light was built in 1908 by Trinity House for the safety of sea traffic between Ireland and the new Fishguard harbour, located behind cliffs and a breakwater 3 miles east . The light also formed a link with the existing light at South Bishop light , some 18 miles to the south west . This stretch of coastline is notoriously very dangerous, and more than 60 vessels are known to have been lost along it in the 19th century alone. The photo to the left shows the plaque detailing its build date and the person who dedicated it and officuially opened the light in 1908.

The origional revolving lens system weighed 41/2 tonnes, was supported in a bath of mercury to reduce friction. A massive clockwork mechanism rotated it, driven by a quarter-tonne weight which, suspended on a cable, dropped gradually light_turntabledown a cylinder running from top to bottom through the tower. This had to be rewound every 12 hours to keep the light rotating. The current optical system was replaced installed in 1965 when the lighthouse was fully electrified.

Despite the footbridge to the mainland across the narrow sound, Ynsymeicl's isolation and steep slopes set building problems typical of more remote rock towers and off shore islets. Building materials and regular supplies were swung across by jackstay cable between the winches on the clifftop on the mainland and beside the lighthouse, where the concrete blocks remain in place still today. The handrail of the footbridge and the steps had a special purpose as the pipeline to carry oil into the tower and basement for the generators needed to power the light.

In 1980 the lighhouse was converted to unmanned automatic operation and is now monitored from Trinity House's Operation Control Centre at Harwich on the East coast of England. Jeff is on call 24/7 to deal with any problems that the system may throw up, and he makes regular visits to the lighthouse to do maintenance and system checks.

Each Light has it's own signature, or character, to aid mariners with identity, navigation and location, this applies not just to UK lighthouses but to all the lighthouses and Navigational Aids to Shipping around the world. See the links pages for information on Trinity House, The British Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (BARLS), and other pharology sites.


Facts and Figures;

Established:                                                  1908
Height of tower:                                           17M
Height of light above mean highwater:        45M
Electrified:                                                    1965
Automated:                                                  1980
Optic:                                                            1st Order Catadioptric
Lamp:                                                            1000Watt MBI
Character:                                                    4 White flashes every 15 seconds
Intensity:                                                     1,000,000 Candela
Range of Light:                                            26 Sea Miles