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University purchases Moray lighthouse

The University of Aberdeen has purchased the Cromarty Lighthouse as they expand their research into the local marine life.

University purchases Moray lighthouse

A University has made an unusual property purchase in a bid to support its research and education work in the Moray Firth.

The University of Aberdeen has purchased the Cromarty Lighthouse as they increase their base for researchers to study seals, dolphins and seabirds around the north of Scotland.

Since 1990, the Lighthouse Field Station has provided a Highland base for the University’s research and teaching in marine ecology.

Although best known for the local bottlenose dolphins, other species such as harbour and grey seals can be seen throughout the year.

Harbour porpoises are also spotted regularly and other species such as minke whale are sometimes seen during the summer months.

The University’s studies focus on the effect man-made and natural changes in the environment affect the biology of the local populations, thereby supporting sustainable management both in the Moray Firth and in other coastal areas. 

Professor Paul Thompson, who has directed research at the Lighthouse Field Station since it was opened in 1990 said: “Purchasing the lighthouse has offered us a unique opportunity to use this iconic building to expand our work.”

Built by Robert Louis Stevenson’s uncle, Alan Stevenson, the lighthouses lamp was first lit in 1846 using sperm whale oil.

The lighthouse became automatic in 1985 but was withdrawn from service by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 2006.
 
Angus Donaldson, Director of the University’s Estates, said: “We were delighted to receive such widespread community support when we first considered the purchase. It may appear a slightly unusual step for a University to be considering buying a Lighthouse but for a number of reasons it made perfect sense, so we were encouraged that others agreed this would be an appropriate use for such an historic building.”
 
Professor Thompson added: “A lighthouse in the middle of the town is a clear reminder of Cromarty’s maritime heritage. We now look forward to exploring how we can best use the building to maintain that link, and provide new opportunities for locals and visitors to find out more about Scotland’s marine environment.”
 

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