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

Underwater Life at the Bell Rock

Not good for Man . . . but wonderful for Nature!

The Bell Rock may not be a suitable habitat for man, but as can be seen from the photographs below, Nature provides an abundance of life in every conceivable form and colour.

Over the centuries this sunken reef has probably accounted for more shipwrecks than any other hazard off the coast of the British Isles. Who knows what may still lie in its crevices, and at the foot of its crags . . . everything perhaps from a "needle to an anchor"!

For the photographs below I am indebted to Jim Anderson, of the West Lothian Sub Aqua Club, to whom © Copyright is vested.

Kelp Forest

BELL ROCK KELP FOREST - Kelps are members of the family of brown seaweeds, found from the bottom of the shore down to a depth of 20 metres. There are three common species of kelp around the UK, the most dominant of which makes up most of the kelp forest (Laminaria hyperborea). It only grows below the low-water mark.


STARFISH - (Crossaster papposus). A starfish with many arms, usually 13 but occasionally from 8-14. Colour is variable from dirty brown through dirty purple to a beautiful red form with concentric rings of white. The texture is very spiny with large groups of bristly spines over the dorsal surface. Typically 25cm up to 35cm diameter.


Who needs to go to the Great Barrier Reef when such a wonderful display lies on our own Scottish doorstep.


Shoals of POLLACK (Pollachius pollachius) abound in the waters surrounding the Bell Rock reef. It is common over areas of rough ground, reefs and sunken wrecks. Can reach an average weight of 5.5 kg or over 12 lb.


The GOLDSINNY or SALMON WRASSE (Ctenolabrus rupestri) not altogether happy at being photographed. It is easily recognisable by the dark spot just before the tail fin. Does not grow much larger than 15 cms.



An overhang of rock showing the abundant seaweeds and flora/fauna
attached to the reef


SEA ANEMONE - Urticina eques. Not as common as its close relative, Urticina felina (Dahlia Anemone), but often grows larger, reaching sizes of up to 25 cms across the base. Colour usually brighter and paler than Urticina felina, usually in shades of red, orange or yellowish buff, occasionally with blue-grey disc. It can be found on all British and Irish coasts except in the English Channel; also in northwest Europe.

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