The Smalls is a cluster of small rocks in the Irish Sea, 21 miles off St Davids Head. For over 200 years the Small lighthouse has been acting as a hazard warning to passing ships. For myself and Mike Mayberry it was a target, as far as we are aware something that may have only been done once prior. This was the plan...
I took a short video to capture the moment.
The present tower was completed in 1861 and based upon Eddystone tower. It was originally painted red and white but in Ju8ne 1997 the stripes were no longer considered necessary and sand blasted back to natural granite.
The original smalls light house consisted of an octagonal timber house supported by atop of 9 pillars spaced around a central timber post. The structure was 66ft tall. The structure was built at Solva and taken whole to the rock for assembly. It suffered considerable damage and underwent continual maintenance but was eventually replace by the current tower in 1961.
Martyn who had been anxiously listening over the radio of news of our return. We collapsed on the beach very tired but well pleased with ourselves and our achievement.
TRAGEDY ON THE SMALLS
The earlier Smalls lighthouse was supposedly the scene of a tragic episode which occurred around 1800 involving two lighthouse keepers Howell and Griffith. Apparently Howell died unexpectedly one night and Griffith, feared of being accused of murder put the body in a coffin which he made from interior woodwork and lashed it to the lantern rail outside. Fierce winds ripped the makeshift coffin apart and the decomposing hand of the corpse fell in such a way that it looked as if it was beckoning Griffith from outside the lantern window. Griffith managed to keep the lantern lit with the decaying corpse of his former workmate outside. When the usual relief boat arrived several months later, having been prevented by storms from getting close to the rock, Griffith had been driven mad. After this incident, three keepers were always appointed to lighthouse teams.