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A 130-year-old world-famous Scottish lighthouse is to be switched off and sold as part of a money saving exercise. (Extract from a Scottish newspaper. 22 August 2012)

The Turnberry Lighthouse shines out across the Forth of Clyde and is well known to golf fans because of its location on the world famous Ailsa golf links.

The 19th century structure is to be sold by the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) to help cut costs.

Turnberry lighthouse is well-known to golfers around the world. (And is now owned by American billionaire - Donald Trump. Ed - 3/8/15)

Heralded as “probably the most famous lighthouse in the world,” property experts believe Turnberry will be converted into holiday accommodation for wealthy golfers.

The majestic lighthouse sits on the mainland near Ailsa Craig island and was designed by David and Thomas Stephenson to warn passing vessels from Bristo Rock. It was built in the moat of the 13th century Turnberry castle.

Since 1878 it has flashed its white light every 15 seconds, helping ships to navigate up to 24 nautical miles away.

In an official report, the NLB found Turnberry Lighthouse to be of “limited value” to modern-day commercial shippers, the majority of whom passes west of the island, and “derives little benefit from Turnberry.”

The decision made by NLB, who intend to sell the tower in 2015, has been met by sadness by locals and lighthouse experts.

Ken Trethewey, founder of the Lighthouse Society of Great Britain and author of The Keepers, said the structure was a “fantastic icon” for Scotland.

He said: “I remember watching the Open when it was last at Turnberry and it occurred to me that the lighthouse is probably the most famous in the world, just because it appears on television screens and photographs all over the globe.

“I can’t think of another lighthouse that has more exposure. People talk about Bell Rock and the Eddystone, but in actual fact, Turnberry is the one that people all over the world see, it’s unbelievable. I didn’t know Turnberry was on a list of proposed closures, and my initial reaction is sadness because it’s a fantastic icon for lighthouses and Scotland.”

Archibald McFarlane, secretary of the Clyde Fishermen’s Association, said the lighthouse would attract a lot of attention on the open market. “There are all sorts of people that fall in love with the history of the buildings and they make a very unusual home. I’m sure Turnberry would make a very good home, although you’d need to be fairly fit to climb all the stairs,” he said.

Ian Duff, from Oban, who worked as a keeper at 13 Scottish lighthouses between 1976 and 1992, before automation rendered his post redundant, said Turnberry was a “plum station” to work at.

He said: “Keepers generally looked on it as a plum station,” he recalled. “You were close to a community and, of course, the golf course. You also got a lot of visitors compared to other lighthouses.

“Similar lighthouses have been turned into luxury hotels, and I would imagine that when Turnberry is sold off, it’ll go for a large sum of money because of where it’s situated. I remember when the Open was at Turnberry, people where trying to rent the keeper’s accommodation and were willing to pay very large sums of money just for the one week.”

Leisurecorp, the Dubai World investment company which owns the Turnberry resort, describes the lighthouse as “one of Turnberry’s most powerful charms.””

The lighthouse is just yards away from the green of “Bruce’s Castle”, the ninth hole at Turnberry’s Ailsa course, which has hosted the Open four times. It was last seen on TV screens across the world when veteran Tom Watson, 59, was beaten to the prize by fellow US professional Stewart Cink in 2009.

Lorna Hunter, information officer at the NLB, said: “Following consultation the board intends to discontinue the current major light when the station becomes due for refurbishment in 2015.

“Under the board’s governing legislation, they are only able to hold property for providing aids to marine navigation or supporting this work. Therefore the board may dispose of the site.”



Silent Key – Mike Dalrymple – GM4SUC - Founder of the ILLW

Obituary by Ayr Amateur Radio Group

Photo of Mike operating at Turnberry Lighthouse

It is with great sadness that we wish to note the passing of Mike Dalrymple, GM4SUC, a long standing member of the Ayr Amateur Radio Group, and who served so effectively as club Treasurer for over nineteen years.    Mike died on the 21st of December 2005, after a prolonged period of illness that was bravely borne.


Mike was a founder member of the Ayrshire RAYNET Group, and became the Deputy Controller shortly after its inaugural meeting in January of 1985.  He remained in this office until retiring in 1999 due to the ill health of his wife Doris. He was a most able Event Controller, and his input to the development of the Group in the years that followed proved invaluable.   Most notable during this period was the involvement of Ayrshire RAYNET and Mike’s own personal participation, in the tragic events of the Lockerbie air disaster.


Mike was also keen on Special Event Stations, and organised many over the course of the years, including one commemorating the life of John Paul Jones, the father of the United States Navy. Another was the “Northern Lights“ Weekend  in Scotland, which became the seed  for what was to become the annual International Lighthouse and Lightship event. With the cooperation of other interested Amateur Radio enthusiasts world wide, Mike worked tirelessly to develop the ILLW into the major international success it is today, with currently some forty countries being represented.  One reason for this success is its simplicity, being conceived as a “fun” weekend, with no pressure to make large numbers of contacts; and there, as he intended, to be enjoyed by radio enthusiasts throughout the world.   The ILLW, held annually on the third weekend in August, will remain as an enduring tribute to Mike’s legacy.



Professionally, Mike served as an Air Traffic Control Officer with the National Air Traffic Services at Atlantic House in Prestwick. He leaves his wife Doris, son Andrew, daughter-in-law Lorraine, and grandson Scott living in Scotland, whilst son Paul and his children, Ben and Emily, live in France, and daughter Jacqueline, in London. He will be sadly missed.

Vale Mike GM4SUC

Update at 30 June 2006: Mike's family recently scattered his ashes over the grounds of Turnberry Lighthouse and on 19th August the Ayr Amateur Radio Group erected a stainless steel plaque at the lighthouse in memory of Mike.

Update 5 October 2011: Turnberry Lighthouse now carries the unique ILLW identifying number UK0000 in memory of the link between Mike and the lighthouse where he spent many hours with his fellow members of the Ayr Group. The Lighthouse has now (2016) been sold to an American developer, Donald Trump, who has renovated the cottages and tower and an overnight stay at the site costs around $3,500US





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