Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Ross Dumfries and Galloway.

Strange when you live only 5 miles away from a place and you’ve never paid a visit. Well I’ve finally put that to rights. Ross lies at the southern end of a peninsula extending into the Solway Firth southwest of Kirkcudbright in Southwest Scotland. This picturesque area is situated at the head of Kirkcudbright Bay.
Kirkcudbright Bay.

Walking around the sparsely populated bay the way-marked pathway takes you up across some rolling fields until Little Ross Island appears.

The rolling farmland above Ross.

It was on the 8th January 1834 an application was made to build a lighthouse on Little Ross Island which is located strategically in the mouth of the Kirkcudbright bay. The lighthouse was built by Robert Hume a builder from nearby Gatehouse of Fleet and finally completed and lite on the 1st January 1843. Designed and supervised by the Portobello born Lighthouse engineer Alan Stevenson with the help of his younger brother Thomas, who was the father of Robert Louis Stevenson the Scottish novelist. In 1961, like many other lighthouses from this period, it was automated.

Little Ross Island.
The lens that was in use at the lighthouse until automation.
This lens, that was in use at little Ross lighthouse until the 1960's, was gifted by the Northern Lighthouse Board to the Stewartry Museum in Kirkcudbright where it is on permanent display.

In August 1960 a murder took place on the island.  His fellow relief lighthouse keeper murdered Hugh Clark. Two men who were visiting the island discovered the dreadful deed and reported it to the authorities. After a nationwide hunt for the 24-year-old Robert Dickson he was arrested in Yorkshire and brought back to Dumfries Court House for trial and sentenced to death. Although Dickson was reprieved five days before the execution planned for 21st December 1960, he took his own life in prison two years later by an overdose of drugs.

It’s surprising what intriguing places are just down the road? If your interested in further  information about the lighthouse please see David R Collin's interesting book 'Life and Death on Little Ross. The story of an island, a lighthouse and its keepers'