So if things go to plan and the weather helps (neither usually apply on the Isle of May) the tractor shed will be demolished over the next few weeks.
It has stood sentinel over Kirkhaven for over 100 years, built as an entirely functional building with no excuse for decoration in the late 1800’s. Originally it was a coal store for when the whole island was powered by coal but especially the coal-fired steam engines that generated the electricity that powered the light, the first electric lighthouse light in Scotland as well as the air compressors for the fog horn. Gradually these were turned to be powered by diesel and the coal shed was renamed the tractor shed and became home for the island’s old grey Fergie tractor. More recently it has been little used mainly for a bit of temporary storage but not much else.
But the main reason it has to go is that the roof is in such a poor state. The iron work in the concrete is degrading fast in the damp, salt drenched atmosphere and the roof leaks like a sieve. The building has been surveyed and is past restoring, the surveyors wouldn’t walk across the roof to look at it.
The Main light that receive the power that it fuelled can be seen through the slot windows.
We aim to save if possible its solid iron pillars and its floor of granite sets so that they might be used in other projects.
On the door is an old horseshoe, a fair sized, well worn shoe off a working horse. I would love to know the story of that shoe.
A possible use for the site of the building is a new visitor facility to replace the also ageing Mousehouse visitor centre but that is a long way off., of course we will keep you posted.