Dubh Artach which generally translates as “Black Rock”, but is also referred to as St John’s Rock is a remote skerry of basalt off the west coast of Scotland lying 29 km west of Colonsay and 24 km south-west of the Ross of Mull. The nearby Torrin rocks were responsible for the wrecking of numerous ships bound for America and the Baltic ports and opinion was that a light on the rock would enable vessels to find shelter in one of the many safe anchorages among the islands from Colonsay to Oban.
The lighthouse designed by Thomas Stevenson with a tower height of 44 m was erected between 1867 and 1872 with a shore station constructed on the isle of Erraid. The rock is subject to extraordinary sea conditions with waves of 28 m or more being encountered by the keepers. Despite these adverse conditions several men served the light for lengthy periods until it was automated in 1971.
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