Section Index
Bicentennial - 2011
Visiting the Rock
Underwater Life
at the Bell Rock

"Inchcape Rock" by Robert Southey
Light-keeper's Duties "1823"
The Bell Rock Prayer
Sir Joseph Banks and Mutiny on the Bounty
Sir Walter Scott's visit, the "Pharos Loquitur"
"The Year without a Summer"
"Death of HMS Argyll"
Pharos Experience
Preparing for Automation
Life in the Bell Rock
Lighthouse (1865)

A Keeper's Account
'"A Quiet Night In"

A Keeper's Account
"Outdoor 'Excursions'"

North Carr Lightships
Lighthouses of the Forth
The Bell Rock Tartan

Preparing for Automation

The Rock in Close-up

ALAN PROVAN started at sea as an Indentured Apprentice to the Elder Dempster Lines - one of the UK's largest shipping companies of the 1960s.

In April 1978 he joined the NLB, serving on the nlv Fingal (GMJA), nlv Pharos (MWBK), nlv Pole Star (GHSV), nlv Pharos (GNLB), and nlv Pole Star (ZQQC5). In the days of manned lighthouses he was 2nd Mate in charge of the "relief" boats (keepers and supplies) for the Firth of Forth lights - Inchkeith, Bass Rock, Isle of May and Bell Rock. He is presently Chief Officer on the nlv Pole Star (Buoy Tender) out of Oban.

Below are a selection his photographs taken in the late 1988/early 1989 when the material was being transported from ship to light in preparation for automation.

For a detailed view of the Rock its description, check on the engraving in "The Map Deciphered"

An aerial view of the Bell Rock and its Lighthouse.
It is taken from the south-west showing the rock still not fully clear of water

Taken a few years earlier during the days of manned reliefs, it shows the stores being
landed for the keepers. The bearded lad on the right, up to his ankles in swirling water,
is a younger Alan Provan.

The helicopter about to land another load of materials at the pad.

A fine view looking out to Taylor's Track (now The Fairway).
It runs out south-westwards beyond the end of the railway, and was the main access when
"reliefs" were carried out before automation.

The Pole Star (GHSV) standing off.

Busy getting the material into the lighthouse.

Looking north-east - the reddish sandstone is quite noticeable in this picture.

The main landing point for both helicopter and boats.

During the construction period the railway extended a further 220 feet to deeper
known as Pitmilly's Wharf - long since dismantled. A good view here of the helipad.

One of the many pools and inlets on the rock.

Seals enjoying a quiet moment. Rae's Wharf can be seen in the foreground

The deep entrance on the east side of the rock - via Johnny Gray's to Rae's Wharf.
The view is to the south-west.

The tide on it's way out.
Johnny Gray's Rock can be seen at the mouth of Port Stevenson.

Low tide at Rae's Wharf.

Busy hoisting the material into the house.

The Bell Rock Lighthouse in all its glory.
Today the entire top of the house is now encased in wire mesh to protect it
from the feathered variety!

In the early days there was no platform at the door entrance.

All mod cons in the kitchen. Note the two kettles on the hob.
See Charlie Riding's "A Quiet Night In"

Another view of the kitchen.

Taken from the lightroom - the Pole Star (GHSV) in the distance.

The helipad and railways.

The eastern spur of the railway over to Rae's Wharf.


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