Bass Rock is a steep sided volcanic island in the Forth of Firth. Once seen, it is never forgotten and is a well loved landmark seen along the Lothian coast. Actually made of a dark volcanic rock, it appears white as it is the home of the largest gannetry in the world with over 150,000 birds during the breeding system. With the naked eye, they appear as white specks flying and fishing around the rock. Although over a mile from the shore, their calls can be heard from the coast.
The rock is uninhabited as the lighthouse built in 1902 is now automatic. It was used as a hermitage in 756AD by the early Christian hermit, St Baldred, founder of the nearby Tyninghame Priory. Later a chapel was built on the site of his hermitage.
In the mid 16thC it housed a garrison of 100-120 men to defend it against English attacks. If the stories are to be believed, they survived on fish caught by the gannets and kept warm by burning gannet nesting material. They needed to climb up the cliffs using a strong cable specially thrown down for this purpose. It can’t have been an easy billet.
In the mid 17thC it was used as a prison.
Now it is left to the gannets.
For those wanting a closer look, there are boat trips from North Berwick. The boats are small and their was a stiff breeze blowing. We admired from the shore…