Strumble Head Lighthouse A5274
Fl (4) W 15s
Height of tower:
The light is shown 24 hrs a day. It was automated in 1980 and is now monitored from the Operations Control Centre at Harwich.
The lighthouse was built on Ynysmeicl (St. Michael's Island), an islet to the west of Fishguard, separated from the mainland by a very narrow gap.
On the right you can see the steps and the bridge over this gap. In stormy weather the water appears to boil.
Originally a revolving lens system weighing 4½ tons was supported in a bath of mercury to reduce friction. A massive clockwork mechanism rotated it, driven by a quarter-ton weight which, suspended on a cable, dropped gradually down a cylinder running from top to bottom through the tower and had to be re-wound every 12 hours. In 1965 this was replaced and the station 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. Building material and regular supplies were swung across by jackstay cable, between the winches near the cliff-top on the mainland and beside the lighthouse. The handrail of the footbridge and the steps to it also had a special purpose, as the pipeline to carry oil into the tower basement.
We have visited this lovely place twice and the last time (September 2005) we saw a - for us - rare thing. The reserve light was in operation. If you look closely you can see its flash on the picture on the left and on the picture below.
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