For centuries, lighthouses have warned seafarers of the danger of land. Today, they serve to remind us of our maritime heritage and the continuing importance of Scotland’s marine environment. Cromarty Lighthouse was built by Alan Stevenson, uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson, and operated by the Northern Lighthouse Board until it was de-commissioned in 2005. The Lighthouse Tower, Keeper’s Cottage and Old Buoy Store are now used for marine research and teaching by the University of Aberdeen.
Visitors will be able to tour the Lighthouse Tower and Old Buoy Store, where there will be displays, talks and activities relating to current marine issues and research.
Song of the dolphin boy meets the flying dustbin – Illustrations from Elizabeth Laird’s recent childrens’ novel about marine plastics will be on display within the lighthouse upon which the book is based. Other displays in the tower will cover recent studies of fulmars – a seabird so commonly affected by plastic waste it’s become known as the flying dustbin.
Dolphin detectives – Every year, thousands of photographs are taken of the Moray Firth of dolphins to track their numbers and movements. Come along to the Old Buoy Store and experience how families can help us analyse all these pictures through the internet.
Marine renewables – Look across the firth from Cromarty harbour, and you’ll see huge wind turbines being constructed as part of Scotland’s development of marine renewable energy. During the afternoon, scientists from the University of the Highlands & Islands and the University of Aberdeen will give short presentations in the Old Buoy Store on key aspects of this new industry.
Sounds of the deep – Sound is important to many underwater animals, many of which have loud and unusual calls. Collect instructions at the Lighthouse Tower, and follow a sound trail around the Cromarty shore to try and identify some of these calls. Stop along the way and find out just how big a blue whale is, and telescopes will be on hand to try and spot some of the local dolphins.
Booking not necessary. For more information please contact Kate Kennedy, RSE Outreach Officer, Tel: 07502 111610
Professor Paul Thompson FRSE, University of Aberdeen
Dr Magnus Davidson, University of the Highlands and Islands