December 10, 2017
A few months ago we decided to get back on the road, locally this time, as it had been a while and it was time to get back to the real and magnificent Scotland. After all, this place had some of the most breathtaking scenery and who can forget the endless supply of fresh air and produce.Being a fan of Treasure Island and history in general, I thought it was time to explore some lighthouses that were accessible on the mainland. What do lighthouses and Treasure Island have in common you ask? well, 2 of Scotland's most inspiring citizens, a father and son were responsible for giving us both. Robert Louis Stevenson for the classic tale and Thomas Stevenson for pioneering and building over 30 lighthouses around Scotland vibrant coasts, some like the Bell Rock lighthouse, the worlds oldest standing sea-washed lighthouse off the east coast of Scotland.
Having an affinity for lighthouses we wondered if we would do a local tour encompassing as many lighthouses over 2 days. Even better, after a little research, we found a place called Corsewall Lighthouse which offered rooms at the hotel within the lighthouse. There was no question about it, within minutes, we had a night booked a mini lighthouse tour around the Ayrshire coast started to come to fruition.
We started the trip towards a south-westerly direction to head to the first lighthouse, one that was going to leave us in awe. The lighthouse at Turnberry, was erected in 1873 and was built here in the ruins of the old Turnberry Castle as the initial plan to build at Bristo rock, not far from the current location, was too dangerous. Prior to the lighthouse's existence, the rough seas in the area had claimed several shipwrecks leading back centuries.Parking on the side of the A719, where we could see the entrance to Turnberry links golf course and went through the pedestrian entrance and walked our way up the long road leading to the lighthouse. The winding road was surrounded by bright yellow flower bushes which seemed to glow in the sunshine and we were both more at ease as the golf course seemed deserted and the chance of flying golf balls was minimal.
Walk through the Turnberry Links golf course towards the Lighthouse
As we walked closer to the lighthouse, the steward of the golf course greeted us with the friendliest manner offering to take our picture as he proceeded to tell us about the café within the lighthouse which was open to visitors. He also points out the grass-covered mounds near the water's edge, which, if you looked carefully were stone blocks that once made up the Turnberry Castle.We went around the back, towards the sea where we found the entrance to the very fancy café and outdoor seating which looked out on to Ailsa Craig and breathtaking views of the ocean.
Breathtaking views of Ailsa Craig and the sea.
Rolls and coffee were on offer within the cafe that catered to golfers stopping by for a quick break. Despite the food probably costing more than it should, it was worth it for the view overlooking the ocean.
After leaving the Turnberry lighthouse, it was on to the next.
We continued to drive down the Ayrshire coast passing the coastal towns of Girvan then Stranraer and after driving for another hour we started heading inland. As we drove on a bit we started ascending on a hill as we go towards Corsewall Point. The road was a single lane and so bumpy, I felt like I was driving on the dirt roads of Zambia again.As soon as we got up on the hill, we could see the water again and after a few moments we saw it, the 34 metre high structure, we would be spending the night in.
Getting to Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel.
Corsewall Lighthouse was built in 1817, to serve as a beacon for ships passing the entrance to Loch Ryan. Initially lit up using oil lamps, the first lighthouse keeper to serve there dozed off on the job, causing the light to stop rotating for a while. The poor guy never fulfilled the respectable post of lighthouse keeper ever again. In 1970, the large glass panes in the lamp room shattered due to a test flight of a passing Concorde plane.We checked into the Corsewall lighthouse hotel, which was pleasant and the cleanliness was satisfactory, though we weren't really bothered about how dated or plush it was, most fancy places didn't have a real lighthouse attached to it.We spent the rest of the time waiting for the sun to set as it wasn't often we'd have this chance to get some stunning shots. Going round the back towards the sea, the giant and vintage foghorn stood facing out to sea. I can’t imagine how far its sound would have travelled in attempts to signal nearby ships travelling in the rough weather.
Antique Foghorn looking out to sea
The next day we checked out and headed for Scotland's most southern point, the Mull of Galloway. We hit the B738 and then eventually got on to the B7041 past Port Logan. The road almost seemed to go nowhere as we could see glimpses of the coast but then it would quickly disappear until finally we descended towards the sea and the final lighthouse on our tour revealed itself. We were hoping to take the 115 steps to the top and admire the breathtaking views of the Isle of Man from above. We passed the busy tourist shop and café to park at the lighthouse and headed into the visitor centre located at the base of the lighthouse.
Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, Drummore.
Unfortunately, as we got to the entrance, there stood the sign that said "Lighthouse tours are not operating today" which was down to the inclement weather. This wasn't the day we got to go up a lighthouse.
Despite the disappointment, the visitor centre there made up for it as it was also a museum which to our delight had a great collection of photographs and artefacts as well as the vintage engines that were responsible for rotating the lights at the top.
We finished in the museum, we wandered around the yard and then walked out towards the cliff's edge. What we saw was indescribable with nothing else but this beautiful tranquil scene around us. Suddenly the quote from Albert Einstein, 'Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.' made a little more sense. This place was truly a hidden gem we weren't expecting.
Looking out towards Isle of Man from Scotland's most southerly point.
We wandered around and took a moment to appreciate the views and bring a close to the tour of this small section of the globe, savouring what had been experienced.
Useful Information & Links:
Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel, for a room at the lighthouse hotel.
Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, Scotland's most Southerly Point
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