When I was a lad .......... every year we had our summer holidays 40 miles to the south - in Elie.... And every day du the the summer hoiliday we went to the beach - come rain , hail or shine. The fact that the beach hut had been paid for the season ensured this and many hours were spent making dams on the beach with cheap buckets and spades, or volcanoes for the "grey and green army toy soldiers" to fight on!! Sometimes it was cold and wet other times sun cream was required. I can even remember donky and pony rides in the early years and trying not to dig a pit where there was pony poo!!!!!! Anyway - so what has all this got to do with my usual posts..... well every one of those days on the beach I looked over the Forth and my imagination was always taken by the East Vows Beacon!! A metal almost triangular structure with what looked like a cage on the top!! What was this !! Later on - on walks round by Chapel Ness i would be amazed at how much closer it looked. Anyway - recently we took our new kayaks to Elie on a family trip and I finally got up very close to the Beacon!! The video above tells the tale better than my ramblings.... However before watching here is some history on the Beacon and the cage!!
"Archaeological Notes NT49NE 143 48220 99003
Beacon [NAT] (accurate location not apparent).
OS (GIS) MasterMap, October 2010.
For closely-comparable structure on Halliman Skerries (off Lossiemouth, Moray Firth) at NJ 2141 7227, see NJ27SW 119.
(Location cited as NT 48220 99003). East Vows Beacon: this structure is believed to have been raised by local petition, and possibly subscription. It is noted as a 'Chair of Refuge' on the 1st edition of the OS 1:10,560 map, the cage structure on top of the legs evidently having the dual purposes of a daymark and a shelter for shipwrecked mariners.
Information from Mr S Liscoe, Professional Assistant (Archaeology), Fife Council, 12 October 2010.
This structure was built by Alan Stevenson for the Commissioners of Northern Lights. Trinity House had made an appraisal, in 1841, of the proposal to erect a beacon at the Vows and were of the opinion that it was not necessary. However the local worthies of Elie and Earlsferry then petitioned the NLB Commissioners in 1843 and again in 1846 for a beacon to be placed on the Vows rocks, but without immediate success. However upon the recommendation of Stevenson, and the NLB Commissioners, Trinity House gave their consent to a beacon being erected in December 1846
In February 1847 Stevenson landed on the rock to assess the possibility and by May of that year the foundation had been lined out and dressed into the rock and the work was apparently completed by September of that year.
The rapid construction of the beacon was expedited by using the cast iron components from another beacon that was already under construction at the foundry of the Shotts Iron Company at Leith. Total cost for the project was £483 13s 10d.
This structure appears closely comparable to that (NJ27SW 119) on Halliman Skerries, off Lossiemouth, Moray Firth. It appears that this latter beacon was also constructed by Shotts.
We had actually planned to kayak round to the chain walk but decided against going all the way round due to time and tidal flows! The trip to the Beacons secured, we then paddled round some rocks at Craigforth then headed back to the harbour. At this point we made the decision to head round to Lady's Tower - another familiar site and a much visited building right throughout my life - never seen it from the sea's pointof view though!! Had a great trip round there and back - all within two hours - best kayaking trip yet (only been out four times bear in mind!). Anyway - a snippet below re the history of the tower - this feels like a history blog his week!!!
"In the 1770s the Lady's Tower was built in Ruby Bay, on the east side of Elie Ness, as a changing room for the Lady Anstruther. It is said that Lady Anstruther would bathe in the waters next to Lady's Tower, a servant ringing a bell all the while to ensure locals stayed away"
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...