Cloch meaning “stone” in Gaelic marks a point on the coast of the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. There has been a lighthouse since 1797 to warn ships off The Gantocks. By road, the lighthouse can be reached on the A770, 4 km west southwest of Gourock, on the eastern shore of the Firth.
The Lighthouse was designed by Thomas Smith and his son-in-law Robert Stevenson for the Clyde Lighthouse Trust. The building was completed in 1797. There appear to be two generations of keepers’ houses, the older now used as stores and the more recent having crow-stepped gables. The short circular-section tower has a corbelled walkway and triangular windows. The foghorns were added between 1895 and 1897.
The light was built by the engineer, John Clarkson with contractors Kermack and Gall building the tower, while Smith and Stevenson installed the oil lantern which was first lit on 11 August 1797. The light was replaced in 1829 with an argand lamp housed in a silvered reflector and updated to acetylene about 1900. A radio beacon was installed in the early 1930’s.
Today, the light is fully automated and unmanned. The main light has been replaced by a light on a pole outside the lantern room.
The light has a range of 23 km and was originally illuminated by an acetylene flame, with the lenses floating on a bath of mercury and rotated by a clockwork mechanism, which had to be wound by the keepers every few hours. A foghorn was added c.1897.
The Clyde Lighthouses Trust merged to form the Clyde Port Authority in 1966 which, although now privatised, continues to own and operate the lighthouse.
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