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Although it may at first seem a little strange to be including a section about local history on this site I just had to do it. I feel the history of a place is such an important factor when trying to ... Read More ...
From then until recent times nothing is heard of happenings on Heston. In the 18th century at the height of the smuggling activity, the island was used as a depot, the goods being stored in the caves as well as being sunk and buoyed in the waters off-shore. One of the caves is reputed to have shelves or ledges cut out in the rock, and S.R.Crockett made great play with this in his 'Raiders'.
In the 19th century a copper mine was being worked and traces of the workings can be seen on the slope above that remarkable natural feature, the 'Elephant Rock', on the mainland side of the island not far from the cottage. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the mussels on the Rak were cropped by some Kippford residents who took them to Dalbeattie whence they were sent by train to the English markets. In 1893 a light was established on the seaward side after much agitation because of the numbers of craft that were being lost. A few years later the light was much strengthened; it is still in being; about three years ago it was changed for an automatic lighthouse. It used to be in the care of the residents in the island cottage, their fee being only a little more than the rent they paid. There was formerly a life-boat stationed on the Balcary shore - the Boathouse and the slipway, which have now been turned into a private residence, can still be seen - and there was a gun on the island for the summoning of help when required.
No one stays permanently on the island nowadays, although the cottage is sometimes let as a holiday home. The only inhabitants now being the seabirds, mainly gulls, in great numbers, and a grazing flock of sheep.back to top