The Bishops and Clerks are the treacherous stretch of rocky islets and reefs which lie to the west of Ramsey, many of which are submerged or semi- submerged.
They are also subject to the strong tidal races and overfalls, which make the area a notorious hazard for shipping and the site of thirteen known wrecks. They are comprised of four main reefs: North Bishop, Carreg Rhosson,the Daufraich (Welsh for two arms) and the South Bishop. In addition, there are three semi-submerged rocks called the Llechau Isaf, Llechau Uchaf and Carreg Trai.
The Bishops and Clerks have been the scene of countless shipwrecks and when you sit amongst them, even on a calm evening, and watch the raw power with which the tide races through, creating drop offs which look like they shouldn’t be possible in the sea and producing a sound which can be heard from the mainland, it is not difficult to imagine the terror these rocks have inspired in unwary mariners over the centuries. Carreg Rhosson and North Bishop are home to some 150 pairs of storm petrel and, as well as the usual suspects such as guillemots and razorbills, the North Bishop is also home to a small colony of puffins.
South Bishop – Also known as Emsger, Norse for isolated rock.
The South Bishop lighthouse was built in 1834 and converted to electric operation in 1959. In 1971 the addition of a helipad made landing on the island for maintenance considerably easier.
The tower stands 11m high, is 44m above mean high water and was automated in 1983. The light has a range of sixteen miles, and yet only uses a 70 watt MBI bulb. Built as it is, in the path of migrating birds, many were drawn to the light and flew into the lantern until collaboration between Trinity House and the RSPB led to special bird perches being built around the lantern, considerably reducing the amount of deaths caused.
As offshore lighthouses go, the South Bishop is one of the more hospitable, boasting a three-bedroom house as well as a walled garden and unrivalled sea views!
•Wildlife Boat Trips in Pembrokeshire. A love and passion for the Pembrokeshire Coastline and Marine Life. #AWildlifeExperience