Strumble Head lighthouse

button_lang_frenchStrumble Head lighthouse, near Fishguard

Strumble Head lighthouse is an important safety feature for mariners approaching Fishguard Harbour. It was first lit in January 1908. It stands on a small island, known as Ynys Meicel.

Rotating lenses around the lantern create a distinctive pattern of light flashes, helping sailors to identify the lighthouse at night. The lenses were originally turned by a mechanism similar to clockwork. The lightkeepers had to wind a heavy weight back to the top – twice every 24 hours!

The lighthouse was electrified in 1965 and automated in 1980. It’s now controlled from Essex.

Proposals for a lighthouse here in the early 19th century were not progressed. The need became more pressing in 1906, when the Great Western Railway transferred its ferry route to Rosslare (Ireland) so that it started at Fishguard Harbour. Previously the ships went from Neyland, near Milford Haven.

One of the many vessels wrecked here before the lighthouse was built was named Agnes Ellen. In December 1898, it left Merseyside with a cargo of coal for Cornwall. After taking refuge from a storm at Holyhead, it was caught in a gale on 2 January and hit rocks c.1.5km (1 mile) south west of Strumble Head. All people on board died, including Captain Albert Peters and his 15-year-old son John Owen Peters, who had joined the ship for a “pleasure voyage”. Mrs Peters, daughter of a Holyhead captain, travelled from the family home in Devon to Llanwnda to bury her husband and son.

On the mainland west of Ynys Meicel, the coast path passes a brick shelter which was built as a Second World War observation post.

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