Rhinns of Islay Lighthouse
Rhinns of IslayOriginally it would have been an Island two man station,a PLK and ALK and their families,who would have occupied the houses near the tower,later when the fog signal was installed the two ALK's would have occupied the houses near the tower and the PLK occupied the single house,which also included the engine room,with a couple of diesel engines running when blowing for fog.

When I was there it had been changed to a Rock Station and only the old PLK's house was used for accommodation,the other houses being used for storage.
20th.June 1973.Arrived at Rhinns of Islay
Off the west coast of Scotland is the island of Islay,at the bottom left-hand side near the village of Portnahaven is another little island where can be found the Rhinns of Islay lighthouse,about 250 meters offshore,so it was only a small boat to do the relief.
The lighthouse was at one time classified as an Island station,where the lightkeepers and their families lived, quite often the only people on the island.I think most of the island stations where just lighthouse familes resided were changed to Rock stations in the 1960's.
When I was there it was still a paraffin light with the lens turned by clockwork needing to be rewound every 45 minutes.
There was a Fog Signal at the station so it was a full 24 hour watch system,with it being a Rock station it meant that there were no days "off" as every third day the rota repeated itself.

Storm SignalAs well as being an auxilliary weather reporting station we also displayed a Storm Signal-Visual gale warning signal,hoisted when a gale was expected within twelve hours,Consisting of a black cone three foot high and three foot wide at the base.
Primarily for the benefit of inshore craft,storm signals were discontinued c1981.
Now I know why some stations had gaff rigged flagpoles
The station was paid a victualling allowance,quarterly (three months) in advance which was used to purchase food.drink,etc.If you forgot anything,never mind,there's another relief in two weeks time!

Usually any money remaining at the end of the quarter was divided between the keepers.

Quote from Service Regulations(May 1974)

The Lightkeeper on shore is required to see that an adequate suppy of provisions for the Rock is ordered in good time for the relief. The emergency stock of provisions,sufficent for 18 days at Rocks relieved by helicopter and 14 days at other Rocks and supplied by the Commissioners,must be maintained on the Rock at all times and a certificate to this effect is to be included in the monthly returns in accordance with the instructions given in the Station Order of 29th.July 1969.The Principal Lightkeeper will ensure that items in the stock are kept fresh by use and replacement.

At most of the Rocks the man on the 6am.-10am.watch made the breakfast.the man on the 10am.-6pm.watch made tea. The two ALK's did weekabout at making lunch and keeping the general living quarters clean,whilst he did this the other ALK and the PLK did any Works Orders that were required,generally the only exception was when Limewashing the tower,and of course I was there at the right time to limewash the tower,again?
I found I usually ate better on the Rock then when at a Shore station,the main reason being that on the Rock we cooked for three people,so it was worth getting a decent sized joint of meat,etc.

16th.July 1973 Relief day-ashore for a few days respite?

Rhinns of Islay
(Copyright Peter J Hill - Author of "Star of the Four Kingdoms")