New Year’s Day Dook hansels Year of the Light

IN HONOUR of the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, 2011 is being celebrated across the globe as the Year of the Light.

The Earl of Southesk, patron of the Year of the Light, said: “I would hope the Year of the Light will inspire people to learn more about the Stevensons, who epitomise all that was great about Scotland two centuries ago and could be great about Scotland now.

“The Stevensons were a remarkable family with immense intellectual abilities who were committed to using those skills for the public good.”

The Bell Rock Lighthouse is considered one of Robert Stevenson’s most impressive feats of engineering. Both the deadly reef lying 11 miles from the town’s harbour and the lighthouse, which was completed in 1811, play important parts in the history and heritage of Arbroath.

In recognition of this, the local community has planned an exciting programme of Year of the Light events in and around the town.

The first is Cancer Research UK’s ‘New Year’s Day Dook’, at 2 p.m. on Saturday at The West Links – in sight of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Potential dookers must be over 16 and can register up to 1 p.m. on Saturday at Gayfield or you can register before the event by calling 01241 874988 or e-mailing

Registration costs £5, sponsorship forms are available (with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK), and the brave souls who venture into the water will be presented with a Cancer Research UK/Year of the Light T-shirt.

The formal opening of The Year of the Light will be exactly 200 years after a beam of light first shone out from the top of the Bell Rock Lighthouse – February 1, 2011.

Harry Simpson, chairman of the Year of the Light steering committee, said: “The celebrations will be sparked off by a spectacular fireworks display at Inchcape Park. The pyrotechnic experts have promised us a breathtaking display with music, which will not only delight the crowds at Inchcape Park but will also be visible to boats miles out at sea - and, if it was still manned, by the keepers on the Bell Rock!”

Every baby whose birth is registered in Arbroath during 2011 will receive a special commemorative certificate, signed by John Boath, the last principal keeper on the Bell Rock; David Taylor, a direct descendent of the Arbroath ship’s captain who was involved in the construction; and Carolyn MacPherson, chief registrar, Angus Council.

Harry added: “These certificates will be a wonderful memento for these children, and it’s quite possible that some of them may even be at the 300th anniversary of the Bell Rock, in 2111!”

Another memento will be the special, limited edition, commemorative cover issued by Arbroath and District Stamp and Postcard Club on February 1. This celebrates the bicentenary of the lighting for the first time, of the light on the Bell Rock Lighthouse and can be ordered through the club’s website ( or e-mailing

For more information visit