The Moongate was built with 8 tons of stone, using a single wooden former to keep the shape during construction, again no mortar or cement was used. The structure was held in place by the careful shaping and positioning of the stone on the arch and the weight of the dry stone supports on either side of the gate.
The Moongate was part of the display for the Bicentenary of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, and was awarded a Gold Medal.
This was a unique build in that the branch developed the concept, designed the structure and built the finished feature. The Greenock Rotary Club and the Clyde Port Authority had invited the West of Scotland Dry Stone Walling Association to build a suitable dry stone feature at the entrance to the Ocean Terminal Greenock to greet the 50,000 cruise liner passengers who visit each year. In the middle of the feature we housed the old fog bell of Greenock Pier. The bell has a historic interest in that it was cast in a foundry in the Gorbals in 1875 and used for many years to sound a fog warning in the Clyde estuary.
The feature is 18 metres long and around 45 tons of red sand stone was used in the build. It was built in a month by our volunteers and was complete in time for the arrival of the first cruise liner of the 2011 season.
The feature was formally opened on the 17 June by the captain of the Vision of the Seas, a cruise liner making its first ever call to Greenock carrying over 3,000 passengers. The feature has been affectionately nicknamed, the ‘Great Wall of Greenock’.
Following the success of the wall and bell feature the branch were invited to build a “Moongate Feature” at the Ocean Terminal. This was officially opened by the captain of a cruise liner. It features a centerpiece of a weather stone and an accompanying explanation which gives passengers a humorous take on the Scottish weather. I suppose we should now call the feature the ‘weather stone moongate’.