Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Hollow Tower of Wee Cumbrae

Sitting high atop the island of Little Cumbrae, looking out over the Firth of Clyde, is an historic structure. Established in 1757, it was the second lighthouse in Scotland. (The first was on the Isle of May). The tower is a giant barbecue of sorts, for on an open grate at the top a giant coal fire was stoked every night for nearly 40 years, until a new light was established in 1793, a half kilometer away on the west shore of the island.

Even though it's on a relatively quiet island, one with only a few residents, a visit to the tower can be a crowded experience. The terrain to the north of it is home to a large gull colony. As you walk across the hillside the air is filled with raucous wheeling birds, and the ground can be an obstacle course of egg-laden nests.

See this CANMORE page for more on the old light tower. Chapter 2 of book 1 has a description of a visit to the island, and below are a few photos that did not make it into the book.

Looking across the gull colony to Millport on Great Cumbrae 
The Tower
Inside the hollow tower
Gulls soaring around the tower
The tower - Ailsa Craig in the distance (left)

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