Lighthouses of Scotland: Highlands

This page covers lighthouses of northern Scotland, including all of the Highland Council area. This includes a large area of the Scottish mainland, as well as the large Isle of Skye, the so-called Small Isles, and a number of other islands at the northern end of the Inner Hebrides. Most of these northern coasts are rugged, often wild, and always dangerous to navigation.

The Northern Lighthouse Board , established by an act of Parliament in 1786, manages the major lighthouses of Scotland and the Isle of Man. For five generations, engineers of the Stevenson family created for the Board a network of elegant and durable lighthouses famous around the world. Most of these lighthouses remain in service today.

Most Scottish lighthouses are accessible by road or hiking trail, but only a few are open for climbing. Travelers in this region, especially the western part, will find Scottish Gaelic in frequent use. The Scottish Gaelic phrase for a lighthouse is taigh solais; eilean is an island, sgeir is a skerry or rock, kyle is a strait, and rubha or àird is a cape or promontory.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume A of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 114.

General Sources
Northern Lighthouse Board - Lighthouse Library
The Board's web site includes information and photos for many of the lighthouses.
Online List of Lights - Scotland
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Bill MØBNN Lighthouse Page
Bill Newman's site has photos of many Scottish lighthouses.
Lighthouses in Highland Council Area
Photos available from Wikimedia; many of these photos were first posted on Geograph.org.uk.
World of Lighthouses - Scotland
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in Scotland, United Kingdom
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Ankes Leuchttürme - Schottland
A fine collection of 1998 photos.
Petra's Scotland Pages - Lighthouse List
Photos posted by a German visitor.
44th Lighthouse Expedition
America's wide-ranging Carter family toured Scottish lights in 2004.
Britische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
The Stevensons
The history of Scotland's remarkable family of lighthouse engineers.

Rubha Reidh Light
Rubha Reidh Light, Melvaig, June 2006
Geograph Creative Commons photo by F. Leask
 


Cape Wrath Light, Durness, May 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Bruce McAdam


Mainland West Coast (Lochaber and Lochalsh) Lighthouses
* Corran Point (Ardgour)
1860 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white, red, or green light, depending on direction, 2 s on, 2 s off. 13 m (42 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. The lighthouse guides ships through the Corran Narrows, a sharp constriction in Loch Linnhe. Trabas has an excellent closeup, Newman has good photos, Wikimedia has photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located beside the A861 highway on the west side of the Narrows of Loch Linnhe in Corran. Accessible by road and easily viewed from the Corran Ferry, which crosses the loch just north of the Narrows. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-051; Admiralty A4132; NGA 4080.
**** Ardnamurchan (Àird Nam Murchan)
1849 (Alan Stevenson). Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 35 m (115 ft) round granite tower with lantern and gallery, attached to 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse unpainted stone, lantern painted black. A photo is at right, Iain Barker has a photo, the Undiscovered Scotland web site has an excellent page on the light station, NLB also has a page, Newman has photos, C.W. Bash has a view from the sea, Trabas has a closeup photo, Wikimedia has numerous photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse stands on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, the westernmost point of the mainland of Great Britain. After it was automated, in 1988, the station buildings, except for the tower, were leased to a charitable trust. The principal keeper's house is now a visitor center and museum; the original 1st order Fresnel lens is among the items displayed. The fog signal engine room is also open to visitors, and the two assistant keeper's houses are available for vacation rental. Located at the end of the single-track B8007 secondary road about 11 km (7 mi) west of Kilchoan. Site open, buildings open daily April through October, tower open to guided tours. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust. ARLHS SCO-005; Admiralty A4082; NGA 4016.
Sgeir Dhearg (Mallaig)
1901. Active; focal plane 6 m (20 ft); two flashes every 8 s, white or green depending on direction. 7.5 m (25 ft) square masonry tower, painted white. A closeup photo is available, Trabas also has a closeup, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a skerry on the east side of the entrance to Mallaig Harbour. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Mallaig Harbour Authority. Admiralty A3960; NGA 3780.
Ardnamurchan Light
Ardnamurchan Light, Ardnamurchan, June 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Grynneman
[Sandaig (Camusfearna) (2)]
2002 (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 6 s. 5 m (16 ft) square skeletal tower clad with white aluminum panels to provide a daymark. Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island in the Sound of Sleat just off the mainland near Sandaig and about 5 km (3 mi) east of Ornsay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-200; Admiralty A3940; NGA 3808.
* Sandaig (1) (relocated to Glenelg)
1910. Inactive since 2002. 8 m (26 ft) octagonal cast iron (?) lighthouse with lantern and gallery, painted white. Roy Tait has a closeup, Jo Waddell has a 2007 photo, a 2008 photo is available, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. When a new light was built in 2002, the lighthouse was relocated to Glenelg, on the mainland. Nicely restored, the tower is located next to the Glenelg ferry terminal. Site open, tower closed.

Small Isles Lighthouses
Note: The Small Isles (Na h-Eileanan Tarsainn) are an archipelago located northwest of Mull and west of the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The principal islands are Canna, Rùm (Rhum), Eigg and Muck.
Eigg
1906 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 24 m (80 ft); white flash every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Cailean Macleod has a good closeup, Chris Downer has a view from an arriving ferry, Trabas has a distant view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. The Isle of Eigg (pronounced "egg") is accessible by passenger ferry from Mallaig, but the lighthouse is located on a much smaller island, Eilean Chathastail, which shelters Glamisdale, Eigg's only safe harbor, at the southeastern tip of the larger island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust. ARLHS SCO-066; Admiralty A4080; NGA 4012.
Hyskeir (Òigh Sgeir)
1904 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 41 m (136 ft); three white flashes, separated by 3 s, every 30 s. 39 m (128 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim, lantern black. A photo is at right, Dougie Beck has a view from the sea, Patrick De Jode has the very distant view from Canna, and Google has a satellite view. This isolated lighthouse marks an important hazard in the Sea of the Hebrides, the broad sound between the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Located on a rocky islet about 8 km (5 mi) southwest of Canna. Accessible only by boat, in dangerous seas, or by helicopter. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-106; Admiralty A4076; NGA 3992.
Canna (Sanday)
1907 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 6 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A closeup photo is available, Patrick DeJode has a 1999 closeup photo, Canna Primary School has posted a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse guides ships through the Sound of Canna, the passage between Canna and Rùm. Located at the eastern tip of Sanday, an uninhabited island joined to Canna by a footbridge; Canna, westernmost of the Small Isles, is accessible by passenger ferry from Mallaig. The lighthouse is accessible by a hiking trail, but from the lack of photos it appears to be one of the least-visited Scottish lighthouses. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: National Trust for Scotland (Canna Reserve). ARLHS SCO-037; Admiralty A4074; NGA 3988.
Hyskeir Light
Hyskeir Light, Sea of the Hebrides, May 2005
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Fin'n'Liz

Skye Lighthouses
Note: The Isle of Skye is the northernmost major island of the Inner Hebrides group, and by far the largest island of the chain. Separated from the mainland by the narrow channel of Loch Alsh, the island is now linked to the rest of Scotland by the Skye Bridge (A87), completed in 1995.
* Eilean Bàn (Kyleakin)
1857 (David and Thomas Stevenson). Inactive since 1993, but maintained as a daybeacon. 21 m (70 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with buff trim, lantern black. A photo is at right, Newman has great photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse guided ships through the Kyle Akin, the narrow strait separating the Isle of Skye from the mainland and connecting the Inner Sound on the northwest to Loch Alsh on the southeast. The lighthouse stands in the water off the southern tip of Eilean Bàn, a small island in the middle of the strait, connected to the island by a walkway. The keeper's house was purchased in 1963 by Gavin Maxwell, the naturalist and author of The Ring of Bright Water. He lived in the house for 20 months prior to his death in 1969, and it is now a museum to his memory. The Skye Bridge (A87), completed in 1995, now crosses Eilean Bàn lengthwise; Newman has a photo of the bridge sweeping over the lighthouse, and the photo at right was taken from the bridge. In 1998 the government transferred management of the island and light station to the Eilean Bàn Trust, and in 2011 the Trust received full ownership of the station. Ownership of the island was transferred to the Forestry Commission Scotland in 2012. Guided tours of the island and house are available from the Trust's Bright Water Centre in Kyleakin, near the Skye end of the bridge. Site open to tours, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Eilean Bàn Trust. ARLHS SCO-115.
[Eileanan Dubha]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 5 m (16 ft) square skeletal tower clad with white aluminum panels to provide a daymark. Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a skerry in Loch Alsh about 1.5 km (1 mi) east of the Eilean Bàn lighthouse. Accessible only by boat; there's a good view from a parking area on the A87 highway on the north (mainland) side of the loch. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-072; Admiralty A3927; NGA 3772.
Eilean Bàn Light
Eilean Bàn Light, Kyleakin, May 2005
Flickr Creative Commons photo by donaldw
Kylerhea
1892 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); flash every 3 s, white, red, or green depending on direction. 7 m (23 ft) square masonry tower with lantern, painted white. Most small Scottish lighthouses of this type have been replaced. Kyle Rhea is a narrow strait connecting Loch Alsh with the Sound of Sleat to the south, separating the Isle of Skye from the mainland. Trabas has a photo, Stu Nathan has a view from the mainland shore, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the west (Isle of Skye) side of the strait about 1 km (0.6 mi) north of the Kylerhea ferry terminal; clearly visible from the ferry, which operates only in the summer. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-116; Admiralty A3938; NGA 3812.
* Ornsay Beacon (Isleornsay North) (2)
2002 (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 8 m (27 ft); red flash every 6 s. 9 m (30 ft) square skeletal tower clad in white aluminum panels as a daymark, mounted on the square pyramidal stone base of the original lighthouse. Trabas has a photo, a distant photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the northeast point of the Isle of Ornsay. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-019; Admiralty A3942; NGA 3804.
* Ornsay (Isleornsay, Eilean Iarmain)
1857 (David and Thomas Stevenson). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white light occulting once every 8 s. 19 m (62 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with buff trim, lantern black. The 1-story keeper's house was purchased by Gavin Maxwell, the owner of the Eilean Bàn lighthouse (see above), and it is now owned by the Eilean Bàn Trust. James Rooney's photo is at right, Kevin McKenzie has a photo, Trabas has a good photo, Finlay Oman has a 2007 photo, Newman has photos from a 2005 visit, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. The Isle of Ornsay is on the west side of the Sound of Sleat (pronounced "slate"), sheltering the harbor of Isleornsay on Skye. The lighthouse is actually located on a tiny islet, Eilean Sionnach, off the south shore of the Isle of Ornsay. Accessible only by boat, but there are excellent views from the mainland. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-161; Admiralty A3944; NGA 3800.
[Point of Sleat (2)]
2003 (station established 1934). Active; focal plane 20 m (67 ft); white flash every 3 s. 5 m (17 ft) square skeletal tower clad in white aluminum panels as a daymark. Joan Veale has a closeup photo, Trabas has Kees Aalbersberg's distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a distant satellite view. A small photo shows the 1934 lighthouse. Located at the southernmost point of the Isle of Skye, marking the west side of the entrance to the Sound of Sleat. There are picnic tables near the light. Accessible by a popular hike of about 13 km (8 mi) roundtrip from Aird of Sleat at the end of the A851 highway. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-219; Admiralty A3952; NGA 3788.
Ornsay Light
Ornsay Light, Isleornsay, September 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by James Rooney
[Ardtreck Point (2)]
2002 (station established 1940). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 6 s. 7 m (23 ft) square skeletal tower clad with white aluminum panels to provide a daymark. Newman's photos are of the original tower, and Trabas also has a photo of the original lighthouse. Several distant photos of the new tower are available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a promontory on the south side of Loch Harport about 3 km (2 mi) northwest of Portnalong on the southwestern side of the Isle of Skye. Site open; it is possible to walk to the light from Portnalong. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-009; Admiralty A4068; NGA 3984.
* Neist Point
1909 (David A. Stevenson). Active; focal plane 43 m (140 ft); white flash every 5 s. 19 m (62 ft) round cylindrical tower attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. John Allan's photo is at right, David Ian Robert has a good photo, Trabas has an excellent closeup photo, and Marinas.com has aerial photos. The lighthouse is probably endangered; the aerial photos and Google's satellite view show it at the very edge of a vertical cliff. For a number of years the three keeper's houses were available for vacation rental. In February 2004 the light station was for sale for £395,000. Apparently the property has been sold and the station is no longer open to the public. Located on the westernmost point of the Isle of Skye about 5 km (3 mi) southwest of Milovaig. Accessible by road and a walk of about 900 m (1/2 mi). Parking is available. Site and tower closed, but it should be possible to view the lighthouse from nearby. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: private. ARLHS SCO-147; Admiralty A4064; NGA 3980.
Neist Point Light
Neist Point Light, Milovaig, April 2014
Geograph Creative Commons photo by John Allan
Waternish (Vaternish) Point
1924 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 20 s. 7 m (23 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern, painted white. Nigel Homer has a good photo, another closeup photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the northwestern point of the Isle of Skye on the tip of the Waternish peninsula, about 7 km (4.5 mi) north of Trumpan. Accessible by hiking from the end of the road near Trumpan. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-252; Admiralty A4056; NGA 3964.
[Eyre Point (3)]
2001 (station established 1893). Active; focal plane 6 m (20 ft); flash every 3 s, white or red depending on direction. 5 m (16 ft) square skeletal tower clad with white aluminum panels to provide a daymark. Nigel Homer has a good photo, Trabas also has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Eleanor and Clyde Moore have posted a small photo of the second (1938) lighthouse, a 5 m (16 ft) cylindrical tower with lantern attached to a small cottage. The original light was described as a "small masonry tower." Located near the south point of the Isle of Raasay, northeast of Skye. Site status unknown (the lighthouse is on private property). ARLHS SCO-077; Admiralty A3909.6; NGA 3708.
Rona (South Rona)
1857 (David and Thomas Stevenson). Active; focal plane 69 m (225 ft); white flash every 12 s. 13 m (42 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim, lantern black. 1-story stone duplex keeper's house enclosed by a stone wall. Trabas has a photo, Calum McRoberts has a closeup as well as the wider view at right, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The Isle of Rona is often called South Rona to distinguish it from another Rona (which also has a lighthouse) at the northern end of the Outer Hebrides (see Western Isles page). Located northeast of Skye and north of Raasay, the island has been uninhabited since the 1920s but is popular as a wilderness vacation destination. The lighthouse is at the northern tip of the island, marking the entrances to the Sound of Raasay to the west and the Inner Sound to the east. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-185; Admiralty A3904; NGA 3660.
Rona Light
Rona Light, Isle of Rona, April 2007
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Calum McRoberts

Wester Ross Lighthouses
Note: Wester Ross is the western region of the former county of Ross and Cromarty; it includes the mainland coast north of Skye and south of Sutherland. This coast faces The Minch, a broad gulf between the mainland and the Outer Hebrides.
Eilean a Chait
About 1880. Inactive since the 1920s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern, attached to a small 1-story keeper's cottage. Lighthouse painted white. Jon Royle has contributed photos, and Bing has a satellite view. A second keeper's house (built for the keeper's family) is on the neighboring island of Eilean-an-Duine; at low tides Eilean-an-Duine is joined to the mainland and one can wade from one island to the other. The lighthouse and keeper's house were sold separately, and both remain in private ownership. The lighthouse was used during the 1970s as a holiday rental but is not in any use today; the keeper's house is a private residence. Located on a small island at the entrance to Loch Carron just north of Plockton and about 10 km (6 mi) northeast of Kyle of Lochalsh. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS SCO-348.
* Rubha Reidh (Rua Reidh, Rubh' Re)
1912 (David A. Stevenson). Active; focal plane 37 m (120 ft); four white flashes, separated by 2.1 s, every 15 s. 25 m (83 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to 2-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim, lantern black. F. Leask's photo appears at the top of this page, Trabas has a closeup by Arno Siering, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Rubha Reidh is a prominent headland jutting into The Minch about halfway between Stoer Head and the Isle of Skye. Automated in 1986, the station was leased by Chris Barrett and Fran Cree, who have operated it as a vacation inn since 1989. In 2014 the station was approved as a wedding venue. Located on the headland about 5 km (3 mi) north of Melvaig. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: Rua Reidh Lighthouse. ARLHS SCO-191; Admiralty A3900; NGA 3640.
Cailleach Head (1) (Scoraig)
1953. Inactive since 2001. 4 m (13 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. Chris Eilbeck has a closeup photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse was relocated to the village of Scoraig, about 4 km (2.5 mi) southeast of the original location, and restored by volunteer effort as a tiny exhibition and heritage center. This remote village is accessible by boat but can only be reached by land by a 5 km (3 mi) hike from Badralloch. Site open, tower open to visitors (inquire locally). Site manager: Scoraig Community Association.
[Cailleach Head (2)]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (196 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 5 m (16 ft) square skeletal tower clad with white aluminum panels to provide a daymark. A 2012 photo is available, Richard Webb has a distant view from the sea, M.J. Richardson has a similar distant view, Trabas has a very distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the tip of the peninsula separating Loch Broom and Little Loch Broom, about 16 km (10 mi) west of Ullapool. This site does not appear to be accessible by road. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-028; Admiralty A3887; NGA 3624.
* Rubha Cadail (Rhue)
1952. Active; focal plane 11 m (35 ft); flash every 6 s, white, red, or green depending on direction. 9 m (29 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Ian Capper's photo is at right, Trabas has a photo, Scott Young has a fine closeup, Richard Webb has a distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is on the point separating Loch Kanaird and Loch Broom, marking the north side of the entrance to the upper portion of Loch Broom and the harbor of Ullapool. Accessible by a short walk from the village of Rhue, off the A835 highway about 5 km (3 mi) north of Ullapool. Also accessible by a shoreline hiking trail from Ullapool, a walk of about 10 km (6 mi), and there should be a good view from ferries between Ullapool and Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Ullapool Harbour Trustees. ARLHS SCO-193; Admiralty A3885; NGA 3616.
Rubha Cadail Light
Rubha Cadail Light, Ullapool, August 2007
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Ian Capper

Sutherland Lighthouses
Note: Sutherland is a former county that shares the northernmost Scottish mainland with Caithness to the east. The name seems inappropriate at first for such a northern region, but it is derived from the Norse Suðrland, "southern land," so called because it is to the south of Orkney and Shetland.
* Stoer Head (Rubha Stòr)
1870 (David and Thomas Stevenson). Active; focal plane 59 m (194 ft); white flash every 15 s. 14 m (56 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim, lantern black. The upper floor of the keeper's house is available for vacation rental. Trabas has Arno Siering's photo also seen at right, C.W. Bash has a view from the sea, Wikimedia has numerous photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. In 2013 the NLB put the keeper's houses on sale for £210,000. Located on the westernmost point of the Stoer peninsula about 5 km (3 mi) west of Culkein. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site operator: National Trust for Scotland. ARLHS SCO-226; Admiralty A3882; NGA 3600.
* Cape Wrath (Am Parbh)
1828 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 122 m (400 ft); four white flashes, separated by 2 s, every 30 s. 20 m (65 ft) round granite tower attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. Fog horn (3 blasts every 45 s). 1-story signal station (1930s) adjacent to the light station. Bruce McAdam's photo appears at the top of this page, NLB has a page for the lighthouse, Anne Burgess has a good 2008 photo, Trabas has a closeup photo by Arno Siering, Wikimedia has numerous photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This historic lighthouse marks the northwestern tip of the Scottish mainland. Much of the surrounding area is set aside for military training, and public access is tightly controlled. However, guided tours are available from Durness via minibus over a rough road 18 km (11 mi) long. The keeper's house is occupied by resident caretakers, who opened a café for visitors in 2009. Tours available daily May through September. Tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-039; Admiralty A3880; NGA 3576.
Stoer Head Light
Stoer Head Light, Culkein
photo copyright Arno Siering; used by permission
[Loch Eriboll (Whiten Head) (2)]
2003 (station established 1894). Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); flash every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 5 m (16 ft) skeletal tower clad with white aluminum panels to provide a daymark. David Glass has a closeup photo, Trabas has a view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a headland in the eastern entrance to the loch about 8 km (5 mi) north of Inverhope on the north coast of Scotland. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-126; Admiralty A3874; NGA 3580.
* Strathy Point
1958 (P.H. Hyslop). Inactive since 2012. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower rising from a 1-story keeper's house complex. Buildings painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. Karl Heinz has a good photo, Newman has several photos, Rog Frost has a view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Last built of the traditional Northern Lighthouse Board lighthouses, this light filled in a large gap in lighting the north coast of Scotland. It was deactivated in March 2012, to the dismay of local residents. Located at the end of a long promontory on the central north coast, about 6 km (4 mi) north of Strathy. Accessible by road off the A836 highway just west of Strathy. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-227; Admiralty A3590; NGA 3048.

Caithness Lighthouses
Note: The historic county of Caithness occupies the extreme northeastern corner of the Highlands, with a northern coast facing Orkney across Pentland Firth and an eastern coast facing the North Sea.
* Holburn Head (Scrabster)
1862 (David and Thomas Stevenson). Inactive since 2003. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower rising from one end of a 2-story keeper's house. The lighthouse was deactivated in August 2003 after alterations to the port of Scrabster made its light misleading. Ken Trethewey visited the station in March 2003; he found the principal keeper's house unoccupied and in poor condition, but a more recent house adjacent to the lighthouse compound was occupied. A photo is at right, Catherine Sinclair has a portfolio of photos of Scrabster's harbor and the lighthouse, Elisabeth Burton has a photo, Newman also has photos, Cailean Macleod has a 2008 photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. The light is actually not on Holburn Head itself but is about 1 km (0.6 mi) south, on the north side of Scrabster. Accessible by car; also clearly visible from ferries between Scrabster and Stromness in Orkney. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-097; ex-Admiralty A3578.
* Dunnet Head
1831 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 105 m (344 ft); four white flashes every 30 s. 20 m (66 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery. 1-story keeper's house and other light station buildings, including an inactive square fog signal tower still carrying its diaphone horn. Trabas has a great closeup photo by Ian Wright, Newman has good photos, Jonathan Billinger has a good photo of the station, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. This handsome lighthouse marks the northernmost point of the mainland of Great Britain and the western entrance to Pentland Firth, the strait beween Orkney and the mainland. World War II fortifications stand near the lighthouse. Located atop a vertical cliff at the northern point of the Dunnet Head peninsula, about 6 km (4 mi) north of Brough at the end of secondary road B855. Parking provided. Site and tower closed, but the lighthouse can be viewed from outside the wall of the compound. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-063; Admiralty A3574; NGA 3040.
Stroma (Swilkie Point)
1896 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); two white flashes, separated by 4 s, every 20 s. 23 m (75 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Fog horn (2 blasts every 60 s). Buildings painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. A 2007 helicopter view is available, Trabas has a distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. Stroma is an uninhabited island in Pentland Firth about 5 km (3 mi) northwest of John-o'-Groats, and the Swilkie is a notorious whirlpool formed by conflicting tidal currents north of the island. The lighthouse was built to warn ships to stay clear of this very dangerous area. Located on the north point of the Isle of Stroma. Accessible only by boat; the owner of the island is said to offer tours from John-o'-Groats on summer weekends. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-228; Admiralty A3568; NGA 3032.
Holburn Head Light
Holburn Head Light, Scrabster, June 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Gestumblindi
* Duncansby Head (John-o'-Groats)
1924 (David Alan Stevenson). Active; focal plane 67 m (220 ft); white flash every 12 s. 11 m (36 ft) square concrete tower with lantern and castellated gallery, originally attached to a 2-story keeper's house. Buildings painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. Wikimedia has many photos including the closeup photo is at right, Newman has fine photos, Trabas has a closeup photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. In the summer of 2005 extensive renovations replaced the keeper's house with a much smaller 1-story structure. Huelse has a historic postcard view showing the original appearance of the station. The light station marks the extreme northern end of Scotland's east coast and the southeastern entrance to Pentland Firth, which separates the mainland from the Orkney Islands. Located atop a spectacular vertical cliff (a great photo is available) about 5 km (3 mi) east of John-o'-Groats. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-062; Admiralty A3558; NGA 3016.
** Noss Head
1849 (Alan Stevenson). Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); white or red flash, depending on direction, every 20 s. 18 m (59 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. A 2nd order Fresnel lens from this lighthouse is on display at the Wick Heritage Centre in Wick. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. The light station buildings are occupied by the Clan Sinclair as a library and historical research center; the principal keeper's house is available for vacation rental. Trabas has a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse may be endangered; the satellite view shows that is perilously close to the edge of the cliff. Located about 4 km (2.5 mi) northeast of Wick, marking the southern entrance to Sinclair's Bay. Site and study center open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: Clan Sinclair. ARLHS SCO-157; Admiralty A3544; NGA 3012.
* Wick North Pier
1910. Inactive. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) hexagonal iron skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Lantern and upper half of the legs painted white, lower half of legs painted brown. A closeup photo is available, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. The town of Wick was formerly the county seat of Caithness. Located midway on the pier. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Wick Harbour Trust. ARLHS SCO-342.
Duncansby Head Light
Duncansby Head Light, John-o'-Groats, August 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Akinom
* Wick South Pier
1897. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); flash every 5 s: directional light, showing white over the entrance channel, red or green to the sides. 11 m (36 ft) octagonal masonry lighthouse with lantern and gallery, painted white. Fog bell (2 quick strokes every 10 s). The light and fog bell are active only during fishing season. Trabas has a closeup photo, David Martin has a photo, Stanley Howe has a photo of the lighthouse and harbor, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an indistinct street view and a satellite view. Located at the end of the pier sheltering Wick Harbour. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Wick Harbour Trust. ARLHS SCO-313; Admiralty A3528; NGA 3000.
* Clyth Ness (Clythness)
1916 (David Alan Stevenson). Inactive since 2010. 13 m (42 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with a single red horizontal band. 1-story keeper's house. Michael Beales has a 2013 photo, Angel Abalos has a view of the station, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Google has a very distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. The light was discontinued on 18 March 2010. Located atop a cliff about 5 km (3 mi) northeast of Lybster, just off the A99 coastal highway. Site open, tower closed. Owner: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-048; ex-Admiralty A3524; ex-NGA 2996.
* Lybster South Pier
1884. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); red light occulting once every 6 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim; lantern painted red with a white dome. Dorcas Sinclair's photo is at right, Trabas has a closeup photo of the tower by Arno Siering, Bryan Eveleigh has another fine photo, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Formerly a major fishing port, Lybster now caters more to tourism and recreational boating; a visitor center has summer programs. Located at the foot of the pier sheltering Lybster Harbour. Accessible by car. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Lybster Harbour Trust. ARLHS SCO-299; Admiralty A3522; NGA 2988.

Lybster Light, Lybster, March 2005
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Dorcas Sinclair

Easter Ross and Cromarty Lighthouses
* Tarbat Ness
1830 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); four white flashes, separated by 2.1 s, every 30 s. 41 m (135 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands; lantern painted black. 1-story keeper's houses and other light station buildings. The 3rd order Fresnel lens used from 1892 to 1984 is displayed at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Trabas has a good photo, Ewan MacLeod has a 2008 photo, Steven Brown has a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The lighthouse, the third tallest in Scotland, stands on the sharp point separating Dornoch Firth from Moray Firth. Located about 5 km (3 mi) northeast of Portmahomack. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-236; Admiralty A3506; NGA 2984.
Nigg Oil Terminal
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 31 m (102 ft); green light occulting once every 5 s. 27 m (89 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a distant street view across the firth, but the tower is hard to find in Google's satellite view. Located at the end of the terminal's jetty, which projects about 600 m (3/8 mi) into the north side of Cromarty Firth about 3 km (1.8 mi) west of the entrance. Site and tower closed, but there are views from the ferry between Cromarty and Nigg. Operator/site manager: Nigg Oil Terminal. Admiralty A3493; NGA 2952.
** Cromarty (Cromba)
1846 (Alan Stevenson). Inactive since 2006. 13 m (42 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from 1-story keeper's house. Building painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. Sibling of Chanonry Light. The keeper's house and outbuildings are now occupied by an ecology field station of the University of Aberdeen. Newman has photos, Tom Richardson has a good 2008 photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The light was discontinued on 28 February 2006. In April 2007, the lighthouse tower was offered for sale by the Northern Lighthouse Board, and in August 2009 it was sold to the University. Located on George Street in Cromarty, on the south side of the entrance to Cromarty Firth. Site open, field station open during business hours, tower closed. Owner/site manager: University of Aberdeen (Lighthouse Field Station). ARLHS SCO-056; ex-Admiralty A3490; NGA 2940.
* Chanonry (Cananaich)
1846 (Alan Stevenson). Active; focal plane 12 m (40 ft); white light, occulting once every 6 s. 13 m (42 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from 1-story keeper's house. Building painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. Dave Connor's photo is at right, Trabas has a fine photo, Newman has photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Chanonry Ness is a sharp point at the end of a sandy spit projecting southward into Moray Firth at the beginning of the approach to Inverness. Located at the end of Ness Road 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southeast of Fortrose; accessible by car. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Admiralty A3440; NGA 2900.
* Craigton Point (2)
2002 (station established 1904). Active; focal plane 6 m (20 ft); flash every 4 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 7 m (23 ft) octagonal 1-story building with a pyramidal roof; the light is mounted on a balcony. The building, a Royal National Lifesaving Institution lifesaving station, is painted white; roof is black. Trabas has a photo, another good closeup photo and a third photo are available, and Google has a closeup street view and a good satellite view. This light guides vessels eastbound from Beauly Firth into Moray Firth. Located on a promontory at North Kessock, on the north side of the firth almost under the Kessock Bridge. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: RNLI Kessock Station. Admiralty A3446; NGA 2916.
Chanonry Light
Chanonry Light, Fort George, May 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Dave Connor

Nairn Lighthouse
* Nairn East Pier
1932. Active; focal plane 6 m (20 ft); white, red or green light depending on direction, 3 s on, 1 s off. 5 m (17 ft) octagonal concrete tower; the light is mounted on the roof. Tower painted white. Trabas has a closeup, Vicky Brock has a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located at the end of the east (longer) breakwater at Nairn; accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty A3436; NGA 2892.

Caledonian Canal Lighthouses
Note: Loch Linnhe and the Caledonian Canal combine to provide a sheltered waterway about 130 km (80 mi) long, extending through the heart of the Scottish Highlands. The waterway connects Oban and the Firth of Lorn on the west coast with Inverness and Moray Firth on the northeast coast.
* Bona Narrows (Bona Ferry)
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal building, painted white, with an octagonal pyramidal roof; the light was shown through a square window of the upper story. Des Colhoun has a 2009 photo, another photo is available, Robert Dunn also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Trabas has a photo of the active light (focal plane 6 m (20 ft); two continuous white lights mounted one above the other on a 6 m (20 ft) steel mast). In 2006 plans were announced to restore the lighthouse and build a visitor center with a craft shop and restaurant on adjoining, privately owned land. These development plans were fiercely opposed by some residents of the area, and the plans were abandoned. In September 2008, David Stewart, a member of the Scottish Parliament, called for action to save the deteriorating lighthouse. In March 2009, Scottish Canals announced a plan to restore the building and make it available for holiday accommodations. In August 2010, £380,000 in grants for restoration were announced, and the reopening of the lighthouse was scheduled for 2012. This did not happen, and in July 2013 the BBC reported that an additional £30,000 was needed for the project. In September 2013, it was announced that the restoration and conversion would go forward as a £450,000 project. Located at the northeastern end of Loch Ness in Lochend, marking the west side of the canal's northbound exit from Loch Ness to its smaller extension, Loch Dochfour, about 11 km (7 mi) southwest of Inverness. Site open, tower closed. Operator: British Waterways Scotland. ARLHS SCO-347; Admiralty A3470.
* Fort Augustus
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); green flash every 3 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical tower, painted white, with a black conical roof. The light is shown from a square window near the top of the tower. Trabas has a photo, and Tom Reed has another photo, and Google has a street view, but overhanging trees block our view of the lighthouse in Google's satellite view. This lighthouse and the next two are called "pepperpots" and are claimed to be the smallest lighthouses in Britain (there are other claimants for this title). Located at the southwestern end of Loch Ness in Fort Augustus, marking the east side of the canal's southbound exit from Loch Ness to a series of five locks. Accessible by a walking path. Site open, tower closed. Operator: British Waterways Scotland. ARLHS SCO-350; Admiralty A3472.
* Gairlochy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); flash every 3 s, white or green depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical tower, painted white, with a black conical roof. The light is shown from a square window near the top of the tower. Trabas has a photo, John Allan has a good photo, Royston Vasey also has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the south side of the canal's southbound exit from Loch Lochy about 800 m (1/2 mi) northeast of the locks at Gairlochy; accessible by a short walking path. Site open, tower closed. Operator: British Waterways Scotland. ARLHS SCO-322; Admiralty A3480.
* Corpach
1819. Active; focal plane 6 m (21 ft); white, red, or green light, depending on direction, 2 s on, 2 s off. 6 m (21 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower, painted white, with a black conical roof. The light is shown from a square window near the top of the tower. Steve Fareham's photo is at right, Marian Jones has a sunset photo, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the north side of the entrance to the Caledonian Canal from Loch Linnhe in Corpach, about 3 km (2 mi) north of Fort William. Accessible by a walking path. Site open, tower closed. Operator: British Waterways Scotland. ARLHS SCO-320; Admiralty A4140; NGA 4092.
Corpach Light
Corpach Light, Corpach, May 2013
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Steve Fareham

Information available on lost lighthouses:

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Notable faux lighthouses:

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Adjoining pages: North: Orkney | East: Eastern Scotland | South: Argyll and Bute | West: Western Isles

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Posted October 19, 2004. Checked and revised August 9, 2014. Lighthouses: 40. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.