IT HAS been hailed as one of the seven wonders of the industrial world – a towering achievement of engineering and ambition that has saved the lives of countless seafarers since its light first shone out from a treacherous reef off the Angus coast 202 years ago.
Now Bell Rock Lighthouse – the oldest sea-washed lighthouse still standing – has become the world’s first-life saving beacon to get its own tartan.
The newly designed tartan was unveiled on Saturday in Arbroath to mark Tartan Day, two years after the celebrations in 2011 to mark the bicentenary of the world famous lighthouse, the brainchild of legendary Scottish engineer Robert Stevenson.
The design has already been adopted as the official tartan of the Northern Lighthouse board, the body responsible for the operation of 207 lighthouses in Scotland and the Isle of Man.
The unveiling ceremony was held at Arbroath’s Signal Tower Museum, originally used as the onshore base for the Bell Rock’s lightkeepers and their families.
The tartan was devised by Arbroath designer Steven Patrick Sim of The Tartan Artisan.
He explained: “I was inspired to design a tartan for the Bell Rock Lighthouse by the Year of the Light, the series of special events that took place in Arbroath in 2011 to celebrate the lighthouse’s bicentenary.
“This year of celebration highlighted the fondness the people of the east coast of Scotland have for the lighthouse that shines across their horizon every night.”
Mr Sim said: “I wanted to devise a tartan that reflected the lighthouse’s flashing beam of light, a feat which was achieved through careful positioning of the white and grey lines running through the tartan.
“The red lines in the tartan represent the secondary red light that used to shine out from the Bell Rock.
“The muted dark blue and black shades are for the treacherous North Sea at night while the solid black commemorates the thousands of seafarers who lost their lives on the Inchcape Reef’s deadly rocks before the Bell Rock Lighthouse was built.”
He added: “I was delighted when the Northern Lighthouse Board not only endorsed the Bell Rock Lighthouse tartan but also named it their official tartan.”
The Bell Rock Lighthouse tartan has also been approved by the Scottish Register of Tartans.
Roger Lockwood, chief executive of the Northern Lighthouse Board, said: “This striking tartan commemorates the oldest, continuously operating rock lighthouse in the world, which, over 200 years since it was built, is still doing its job perfectly, warning passing shipping of the dangers of the Inchcape Reef.”