20130406- The Bell Rock Lighthouse Tartan Launch 005
20130406- The Bell Rock Lighthouse Tartan Launch.
Pictured are designer Steven Patrick Sim with Harry Simpson and Alan Mowatt modelling the tartan.
Over 200 years since its lifesaving beam of light first shone across the North Sea, the Bell Rock Lighthouse now has its own tartan.
The Bell Rock Lighthouse 200th Anniversary Tartan was officially launched in Arbroath on Saturday, April 6 - a date known across the globe as Tartan Day.
Designed by tartan designer Steven Patrick Sim of The Tartan Artisan, the Bell Rock Lighthouse Tartan made its first official appearance at a special ceremony at ArbroathÕs Signal Tower Museum, originally the onshore base for the Bell RockÕs lightkeepers and their families.
ÒI 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 lighthouseÕs bicentenary,Ó said Steven, who is from Arbroath.
ÒThis 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, as well as the important part the people of Arbroath, or Red Lichties, played in building Robert StevensonÕs iconic structure two centuries ago.Ó
Steven explained that, having previously designed the Red Lichtie Tartan, he began working on a tartan to commemorate the Bell Rock Lighthouse, which stands proudly on the Inchcape Reef, 11 miles from Arbroath Harbour. ÒI wanted to devise a tartan that reflected the lighthouseÕs flashing beam of light, a feat which was achieved through careful positioning of the white and grey lines running through the tartan,Ó said Steven, who added that the red lines in the tartan represent the secondary red light that used to shine out from the Bell Rock.
ÒThe muted dark blue and black shades are for the treacherous North Sea at night while the solid black commemorates the thousands of sea farers who lost their lives on the Inchape ReefÕs deadly rocks before the Bell Rock Lighthouse was built, as well as the men who lost their lives during the construction of the lighthouse. In addition, there are 90 threads between the black and the white, representing the 90 courses of granite blocks that make up the lighthouse tower.Ó
Once the design process was complete, Steven approached the Northern Lighthouse Board, custodians of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, for their official seal of approval. ÒI was delighted when the Northern Lighthouse Board not only endorsed the Bell Rock Lighthouse Tartan but also named it their official tartan,Ó said Steven, who added that the Bell Rock Lighthouse Tartan has been accepted by the Scottish Register of Tartans.
Proudly wearing his Bell Rock Lighthouse Tartan tie, Roger Lockwood, Chief Executive of the Northern Lighthouse Board, said: ÒThis 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".
The official launch of the Bell Rock Lighthouse Tartan was attended by invited guests with a connection to the Bell Rock Lighthouse, including the Earl of Southesk, Patron of the Year of the Light; Bell Rock Lighthouse expert David Taylor, whose great-great-great grandfather played a key part in the building of the lighthouse; and Roger Lockwood of the Northern Lighthouse Board. Following a short presentation by Steven about the origin of the tartan, the guests enjoyed the first performance of a song composed by Ian Lamb and sung by Alan Mowatt, who was accompanied by Ian, ÔThe Bell Rock LightÕ.
Arbroath businessman Harry Simpson, who chaired ArbroathÕs Year of the Light Committee, was one of the guests at the launch. ÒIn 2011, the bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse provided Arbroath, and the county of Angus, with 12 months of community-based celebrations and a high profile in the local, national and international media,Ó said Harry. ÒWorking with local councillors, businesses, organisations and local people throughout the Year of the Light was a delight - and working with Steven on the development and launch of this exciting new tartan has been equally pleasurable.
ÒThe Bell Rock Lighthouse Tartan will ensure the Bell Rock Lighthouse and its many connections to Arbroath and the people of Arbroath remains in the spotlight. I am incredibly proud to be looking out to the Bell Rock Lighthouse wearing my new Bell Rock Lighthouse kilt.Ó
To find out more about The Tartan Artisan, visit www.theTartanArtisan.com.
Copyright Andy Thompson Photography.
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