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Cloch Point Lighthouse
Cloch Point light from the north, looking towards Innellan
Argyll and Bute UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location Firth of Clyde
Coordinates 55°56′29″N4°52′50″W / 55.94151°N 4.88049°W / 55.94151; -4.88049 Coordinates: 55°56′29″N4°52′50″W / 55.94151°N 4.88049°W / 55.94151; -4.88049
Year first constructed1797
Year first lit1797
Constructionwhite tower with a black band
Tower height76 feet (23 m)
Focal height76 feet (23 m)
Light sourceOil (1797–1829)
argand lamp (1829–c.1900)
acetylene (c.1900–)
Intensity40,000 candela
Range14 nautical miles
Characteristic Fl. W 3sec
Fog signal (c.1895)
Heritagecategory B listed building  Blue pencil.svg

Cloch or Cloch Point (Scottish Gaelic : stone) is a point on the coast of the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. There has been a lighthouse since 1797 to warn ships off The Gantocks.

Firth of Clyde firth

The Firth of Clyde is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean off the southwest coast of Scotland, named for the River Clyde which empties into it. It encloses the largest and deepest coastal waters in the British Isles, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran. Within the Firth of Clyde is another major island – the Isle of Bute. Given its strategic location, at the entrance to the middle/upper Clyde, Bute played a vitally important military (naval) role during World War II.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.



Cloch Point lies on the A770, north of Inverkip, three miles south-west of Gourock, on the east shore of the Firth of Clyde, directly opposite Dunoon.

Inverkip village in the United Kingdom

Inverkip is a village and parish in the Inverclyde council area and historic county of Renfrewshire in the west central Lowlands of Scotland, 4 miles (6.4 km) southwest of Greenock and 9 miles (14.5 km) north of Largs on the A78 trunk road. The village takes its name from the River Kip. It is served by Inverkip railway station.

Gourock town in Scotland

Gourock is a town falling within the Inverclyde council area and formerly forming a burgh of the county of Renfrew in the West of Scotland. It has in the past functioned as a seaside resort on the East shore of the upper Firth of Clyde. Its principal function today, however, is as a popular residential area, extending contiguously from Greenock, with a railway terminus and ferry services across the Clyde.

Dunoon town on the Cowal peninsula in the south of Argyll and Bute, Scotland

Dunoon is the main town on the Cowal peninsula in the south of Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It is on the western shore of the upper Firth of Clyde, to the south of the Holy Loch and to the north of Innellan.


The Cloch Lighthouse was designed by Thomas Smith and his son-in-law Robert Stevenson. The building was completed in 1797. There appear to be two generations of keepers' houses, the older now used as stores and the more recent having crow-stepped gables. The short circular-section tower has a corbelled walkway and triangular windows. The foghorns were added between 1895 and 1897.

Thomas Smith (engineer) Scottish businessman and early lighthouse engineer

Thomas Smith (1752–1814) was a Scottish businessman and early lighthouse engineer.

Robert Stevenson (civil engineer) Scottish civil engineer and famed designer and builder of lighthouses

Robert Stevenson, FRSE, FGS, FRAS, FSA Scot, MWS was a Scottish civil engineer and famed designer and builder of lighthouses.

Crow-stepped gable stairstep type of design at the top of the triangular gable-end of a building

A crow-stepped gable, stepped gable, or corbie step is a stairstep type of design at the top of the triangular gable-end of a building. The top of the parapet wall projects above the roofline and the top of the brick or stone wall is stacked in a step pattern above the roof as a decoration and as a convenient way to finish the brick courses.

Cloch Point Lighthouse Cloch lighthouse.jpg
Cloch Point Lighthouse

The light was built by John Clarkson (engineer); Kermack and Gall built the tower, while Smith and Stevenson installed the oil lantern which was first lit on 11 August 1797. [1] The light was replaced in 1829 with an argand lamp and silvered reflector. About 1900, it was lit with acetylene. A radio beacon was installed about 1931.

Argand lamp

The Argand lamp, a kind of oil lamp, was invented and patented in 1780 by Aimé Argand. Its output is 6 to 10 candelas, brighter than that of earlier lamps. Its more complete combustion of the candle wick and oil than in other lamps required much less frequent trimming of the wick.

Acetylene chemical compound

Acetylene (systematic name: ethyne) is the chemical compound with the formula C2H2. It is a hydrocarbon and the simplest alkyne. This colorless gas is widely used as a fuel and a chemical building block. It is unstable in its pure form and thus is usually handled as a solution. Pure acetylene is odorless, but commercial grades usually have a marked odor due to impurities.

The dioptric and catadioptric lenses floated in baths of mercury and were rotated by a clockwork mechanism powered by falling weights. [2] As well as tending the light, the keepers had to wind the mechanism by hand every two to three hours.

Today, the light is fully automated and unmanned. The main light has been replaced by a light on a pole outside the lantern room.

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  1. "Inverkip, The Cloch Lighthouse". Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland . Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  2. "Overview of Cloch Lighthouse". Gazetteer for Scotland . Retrieved 16 January 2011.

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