Lighthouses of Scotland: Argyll and Bute

This page covers lighthouses of the Argyll and Bute Council area in western Scotland. This council area includes the southern half of the Inner Hebrides islands plus a a large section of the mainland, notably the Kintyre and Cowal peninsulas.

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, and rubha or àird is a cape or promontory. The word loch is used both for lakes and for inlets of the sea; a firth is a larger bay or strait.

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 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.
Lighthouses in Argyll and Bute
Photos available from Wikimedia; many of these photos were first posted on Geograph.org.uk.
Britische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
The Stevensons
The history of Scotland's remarkable family of lighthouse engineers.

Davaar Light
Davaar Light, Campbeltown, August 2009
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Leslie Barrie
 

Mull of Kintyre Light
Mull of Kintyre Light, September 2011
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Peter Church

West Dunbartonshire Lighthouse
* Ardencaple Castle (Castle Point Range Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 26 m (86 ft); two continuous green lights, one mounted 3 m (10 ft) above the other. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical stone castellated tower, unpainted. No lantern; the lights are displayed through square portholes on one corner of the tower. Stephen Mackenzie has a closeup photo, Trabas has a similar photo, Becky Williamson has a closeup, and Google has a satellite view. Ardencaple Castle was the traditional stronghold of the Clan MacAulay. The Royal Navy requisitioned the building during World War II and then demolished it in 1957, leaving only this one tower standing because of its function as a navigational beacon. The front light is mounted on pilings in the Clyde. Located on Ardencaple Drive in Helensburgh. Site open, tower closed. Owner/operator: Clydeport. ARLHS SCO-329; Admiralty A4422.1; NGA 4476.

Cowal Lighthouses

Note: Cowal is an irregular and rather mountainous peninsula bordered on the west by Loch Fyne and on the east by the Firth of Clyde and several of its branches. A large part of the peninsula is protected as the Argyll Forest Park.
[Carraig nan Ron (Seal Rock)]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); white flash every 2 s. 5 m (17 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is red. Trabas has a distant view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This lighthouse is located at a wild location on Loch Long at the entrance to Loch Goil, roughly 25 km (15 mi) north of Helensburgh. Accessible only by boat. Operator: unknown. Site manager: Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. ARLHS SCO-315; Admiralty A4411.4; NGA 4440.
Gantock Beacon (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1886). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical stone tower, painted white. No lantern. Trabas has a photo, Thomas Nugent has a 2008 photo (note the Cloch Point lighthouse in the distance), and Bing has a satellite view. The light is listed as being rebuilt in 1898 with a height then of 15 m (49 ft). This beacon marks a particularly dangerous rocky ledge, the Gantock Rocks, about 600 m (3/8 mi) southeast of Dunoon Castle in Dunoon. Accessible only by boat, but the beacon is easy to see from shore. Site and tower closed. Owner/operator: Clydeport. ARLHS SCO-302; Admiralty A4398; NGA 4380.
* Toward Point
1812 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 21 m (70 ft); white flash every 10 s. 19 m (63 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is weathered metallic green. The keeper's house, a private residence, was for sale for £335,000 in 2012. Fog signal tower with diaphone horn, attached to a 1-story engine house. Newman has good photos of the station, Trabas has a a closeup, another good photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the headland at the junction of the Clyde with the Kyles of Bute, the loch separating the Isle of Bute from the mainland. Accessible by road, just off the end of the A815 highway about 3 km (2 mi) south of Innellan. Site and tower closed (private property) but the lighthouse can be viewed from close by. Operator: Clydeport. ARLHS SCO-245; Admiralty A4362; NGA 4356.
* Caladh (Kyles of Bute)
1888. Obviously inactive as a lighthouse for many years but still used as a daybeacon. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) round masonry tower with a window at the top through which the light could be displayed. Google has a satellite view. Bill Newman rediscovered this forgotten lighthouse in April 2002, but we need information on its history. Located on the west side of the entrance to Loch Riddon about 4 km (2.5 mi) northeast of Tighnabruaich, not far off the A8003 highway. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: unknown. ARLHS SCO-304.
Toward Point Light
Toward Point Light, Innellan, August 2012
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Thomas Nugent
Sgat Mòr (2)
Date unknown (station established 1923). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 3 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical white fiberglass (?) tower with lantern. This lighthouse marks the east side of the entrance to Loch Fyne from the Sound of Bute. Gordon Brown has a photo, a closeup is available, Trabas has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island off the point of Rubha Stillaig about 3 km (2 mi) south of Portavadie. Accessible only by boat (or sea kayak). Site open, tower closed. Operator: unknown. ARLHS SCO-353; Admiralty A4296; NGA 4276.

Bute Lighthouse
Note: Bute (Bhòid in Gaelic) is an island separated from the end of the Cowal peninsula by narrow channels known as the Kyles of Bute. The island has a population of more than 7000, with Rothesay being the principal town. Ferries link the island to the mainland.
* Rubh'an Eun
1911. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); red flash every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) white octagonal cylindrical metal tower with lantern and gallery. Gary Rogers has a 2005 photo, and Bing has a distant satellite view. The lighthouse is badly rusted in Trabas's photo, but it appears in better shape in a June 2008 closeup. Located at the southeastern tip of the Isle of Bute, marking the west side of the entrance to the Clyde estuary. Accessible by a hike of about 5 km (3 mi) roundtrip from the end of the B88 secondary road in Kilchattan Bay. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Clydeport. ARLHS SCO-182; Admiralty A4344; NGA 4332.

Inverary Lightship
* Irish Lightship Penguin
1910. Decommissioned 1966. 30.5 m (100 ft) steel lightship, converted to a 3-masted schooner. Hull painted black, superstructure white. Wikimedia has several photos, a page for the ship has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. After being decommissioned in 1966, the ship was sold and used as a youth sea training vessel named the Hallowe'en. In 1982 it was sold, converted to a schooner, and renamed the Arctic Penguin. In 1995 it was moored at Inverary as a maritime museum. The ship has been for sale for £180,000 for several years. Located at the pier at Inverary, on the west side of Loch Fyne. Site open, vessel open in season. Owner/site manager: Inverary Maritime Museum.

Mull of Kintyre Lighthouses

Note: Kintyre is a peninsula about 50 km (30 mi) long and roughly 15 km (9 mi) wide, extending from north to south. The peninsula ends with a blunt headland called the Mull of Kintyre, "mull" being a corruption of the Gaelic word maol for a bare, rounded headland.
* Davaar
1854 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. 1-story keepers' house and other buildings. Neil Robertson's photo is at the top of this page, Trabas has a photo, Finlay Oman has a 2008 photo, Marinas.com has excellent aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the northeast point of Davaar Island, marking the south side of the entrance to Campbeltown Loch and the harbor of Campbeltown on the east side of the Mull of Kintyre. The island is accessible at low tide by walking a shingle bar called the Doirlinn, but caution is needed: the bar is about 1200 meters (3/4 mi) long and the window of opportunity for walking over and returning on the same low tide is fairly short. The local tourist information center posts safe times. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-059; Admiralty A4276; NGA 4252.
Sanda
1850 (Alan Stevenson). Active; focal plane 50 m (165 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with buff trim; lantern painted black. This unique light station is perched atop Prince Edward's Rock, a huge boulder with nearly vertical sides; to provide access, an enclosed stairway spirals up through two secondary stone towers before arriving at the lighthouse. Neil Robertson's photo is at right, Gordon Brown has a photo, a view from the sea is available, Trabas has a distant view, Marinas.com has spectacular aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Sanda Island, located about 6 km (3.5 mi) southeast of Southend, is privately owned. Previously it had a number of cottages available for vacation rental, but in 2011 it was sold for £2.5 million to a Swiss businessman who announced there would not be public access. Located at the southern tip of the island, marking the southeastern corner of the Mull of Kintyre and the westernmost entrance to the Firth of Clyde. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-301; Admiralty A4274; NGA 4248.

Sanda
Sanda Light, Isle of Sanda
photo copyright Neil Robertson; used by permission

** Mull of Kintyre (Cantyre)
1788 (Thomas Smith); rebuilt in the 1820s. Active; focal plane 91 m (297 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery rising from 1-story keeper's house. The principal keeper's house, known as Hector's House, and the assistant keepers house, known as Harvey's House, are available for overnight accommodations. Peter Church's photo is at the top of this page, Trabas has a good view from above the lighthouse, Steve Partridge has a more distant view, Marinas.com has excellent aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. This historic light station, one of Scotland's oldest, guards the narrowest point of the North Channel; on fair days the Irish coast can be seen clearly some 19 km (12 mi) away. This passage is often called the Straits of Moyle. Located on the southwestern point of the Mull of Kintyre, 13 km (8 mi) west of Southend. Accessible by a one-lane, rugged road about 11 km (7 mi) long; 4WD recommended. Site open; tower open to cottage guests by arrangement. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: National Trust for Scotland. ARLHS SCO-145; Admiralty A4272; NGA 4244.

Crinan Canal Lighthouses
Note: The Crinan Canal, 14.5 km (9 mi) long, connects the village of Crinan on the Sound of Jura with Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp. Crossing the base of the long Kintyre peninsula, it provides small craft with a shortcut between the Hebrides and the Clyde, eliminating a long trip around the Mull of Kintyre. Opened in 1801, the historic canal has a depth of only 3 m (10 ft) but no height restriction.
* Ardrishaig (2?)
1907 (?) (station established 1850). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white, red or green light, depending on direction, 2 s on, 4 s off. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is black. Alan Stuart has a closeup, a 2012 photo is available, Trabas has a good photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a distant satellite view. The lighthouse appears to date from the late 1800s or early 1900s and is probably the second to stand on this site, but details on its history are needed. Located at the end of the south breakwater in Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp, a branch of Loch Fyne, marking the eastern entrance to the canal. Site open, tower closed. Operator: British Waterways Scotland. ARLHS SCO-006; Admiralty A4304; NGA 4296.
* Crinan
1851. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); flash every 3 s, white or green depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) hexagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with a single red horizontal band; lantern roof is also red. The interior of the lighthouse is a storeroom; access to the gallery is by an external ladder. John Lord's photo is at right, a 2012 photo is available, Patrick Mackie has a 2009 closeup, Trabas has a fine photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the westernmost lock of the canal in Crinan. Site open, tower closed. Operator: British Waterways Scotland. ARLHS SCO-257; Admiralty A4212; NGA 4156.
Crinan Light
Crinan Light, Crinan, January 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by John Lord

Isle and Sound of Jura Lighthouses
Note: Jura is a large island located northwest of Kintyre and just to the northeast of Islay, separated from the mainland by the Sound of Jura. The island is very thinly populated, with fewer than 200 permanent inhabitants; most of the island is taken up by six large estates. Craighouse, on the east coast, is the only village. The island is accessible by car ferry from Port Askaig on Islay, and in the summer there is a passenger ferry to Craighouse from Tayvallich on the mainland.
Ruadh Sgeir
1906 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 6 s. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted white. Derek Lockhart has a photo, and Trabas has a photo by C.F. Aalbersberg, but only a blur marks the site in Google's satellite view. Located on an isolated rock in the middle of the Sound of Jura about 3 km (2 mi) off the northeastern coast of Jura and about 5 km (3 mi) off the coast of the mainland north of Carsaig Island. Accessible only by boat. Visible distantly from a hiking trail north of Tayvallich on the mainland. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-188; Admiralty A4226; NGA 4168.
Skervuile (Sgeir Maoile)
1865 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 22 m (73 ft); white flash every 15 s. 25 m (83 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery mounted on a stone base. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome black. The Multimap.com map of this area indicates that onshore keepers houses survive. Calum MacRoberts's photo is at right, Trabas has a photo by C.F. Aalbersberg, and Adam Ward has a 2010 photo of the Craighouse passenger ferry passing the lighthouse, but the skerry is not seen in Google's satellite view. Surprisingly little information is available on this significant waveswept tower. Located on a rocky reef in the Sound of Jura about 3 km (2 mi) southeast of the entrance to Lowlandman's Bay on the southeastern coast of Jura. Accessible only by boat; there should be distant views from the A846 coastal road north of Craighouse. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-216; Admiralty A4230; NGA 4172.
Na Cuiltean (2)
2005 (station established 1911). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 10 s. 9 m (30 ft) square skeletal tower, clad in white aluminum panels as a daymark, mounted on a rectangular concrete base. Iain James has a distant view, but Google's satellite view does not show the skerry. No photo of the original lighthouse has been found. Located on a small island in the Sound of Jura about 4 km (2.5 mi) northeast of Rubha na Traille, the southernmost point of Jura. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-146; Admiralty A4232; NGA 4180.
* Carragh an t'Struith
1960. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); flash every 3 s, white or green depending on direction. 5 m (17 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A 2010 photo shows that the doors of the lighthouse have been painted green, Chris Downer has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the east (Jura) side of the Sound of Islay about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) north of the Feolin Ferry terminal. Site open (accessible by road), tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-041; Admiralty A4237; NGA 4212.
Skervuile Light
Skervuile Light, Sound of Jura, May 2006
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Calum McRoberts

Isle of Islay Lighthouses
Note: Islay is the southernmost major island of the Hebrides. On the northeast it is separated from the neighboring island of Jura by a narrow channel. To the south, it is about 40 km (25 mi) across the North Channel to Northern Ireland. A popular holiday destination, Islay has a permanent population of about 3500 and is accessible by air and by several ferry routes. Port Ellen and Port Charlotte are the largest villages on the island.
Ruvaal (Rhuvaal, Rubh'a Mhàil)
1859 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 45 m (147 ft); three flashes, separated by 2 s, every 15 s, white or red depending on direction. 34 m (112 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black. 1-story keeper's houses and other buildings enclosed by a stone wall. The light station, except for the tower, is privately owned. Tom Richardson has a photo, Martin Junius has photos from a 1998 visit, Marinas.com has good aerial photos, and a 2010 photo and another fine photo are available, and Bing has a satellite view. The light station is at the northeastern tip of Islay, marking the northern entrance to the Sound of Islay. The site is not accessible by road, although it is possible to reach it by hiking 12 km (7.5 mi) roundtrip from Bunnahabhain. Site and tower closed, although the station can be viewed from outside the enclosure. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-183; Admiralty A4236; NGA 4208.
Carragh Mhor
1928. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); flash every 6 s, white or red depending on direction. 7 m (23 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Guy Beauchamp's photo appears at right, Mick Garrett has a closeup, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west (Islay) side of the Sound of Islay about 1 km (2/3 mi) south of the ferry terminal at Port Askaig, marking the beginning of the narrowest portion of the strait separating Islay from Jura. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-042; Admiralty A4238; NGA 4216.
Carragh Mhor Light
Carragh Mhor Light, Port Askaig, Islay, July 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Guy Beauchamp
MacArthur's Head
1861 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); two flashes every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 13 m (42 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black.The keeper's houses have been demolished. Becky Williamson has a 2012 closeup, Claire Pegrum also has a closeup, a distant view from the sea shows the lighthouse and the enclosing wall, and Google has a satellite view. The 2-story keeper's house appears in Huelse's historic postcard view. Located on the headland at the southwestern entrance to the Sound of Islay, which separates Islay from Jura. This very scenic site is not accessible by road, but there is a somewhat demanding hiking trail (16 km or 10 mi roundtrip) from Ardtalla. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-134; Admiralty A4240; NGA 4220.
Eilean a'Chuirn
1907. Active; focal plane 26 m (84 ft); three white flashes every 18 s. 5 m (17 ft) tower with lantern, painted white. No closeup photo available, but Trabas has Kees Aalbersberg's view from the sea and Marinas.com has aerial photos. The island is not seen at all in Google's satellite view. The lighthouse was repainted in July 2002. Located on a small island about 1.5 km (1 mi) south of Ardmore, marking the easternmost point of Islay. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-349; Admiralty A4242; NGA 4224.
* Port Ellen (Carraig Fhada)
Date unknown (station established 1832). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); flash every 3 s, white, red, or green depending on direction. 19 m (57 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower attached to a similar but shorter tower. No lantern; the light is displayed from a short mast at the top of the tower. Glen Finlas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Thomas Keetley has a 2008 closeup, Jono Renton has a distant view, a view from the sea is available, Trabas has Kees Aalbersberg's view from the sea, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was built by Walter Frederick Campbell, Laird of Islay, and dedicated as a memorial to his wife, Lady Ellinor Campbell, for whom Port Ellen is named; she died at age 36 late in 1832. The lighthouse was refurbished and repainted in 2003-04. Located on a rocky point at the western entrance to the harbor of Port Ellen on the southern peninsula of Islay. Accessible by road; the tower can be reached by a walkway at low tide. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: Carraig Fhada Farm. ARLHS SCO-043; Admiralty A4248; NGA 4228.
* Loch Indaal (Lochindaal, Rubh' an Duin, Port Charlotte)
1869 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); flash every 7 s, white or red depending on direction. 13 m (42 ft) cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern is black. 2-story stone keeper's house. Dorcas Sinclair's photo is at right, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located on Loch Indaal, on the southeast side of the Rinns of Islay peninsula, at Port Charlotte. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: Lochindaal House. ARLHS SCO-198; Admiralty A4254; NGA 4236.
Rubh an Duin Light
Rubh an Duin Light, Port Charlotte, Islay, July 2004
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Dorcas Sinclair
Rinns of Islay (Rhinns of Islay, Orsay)
1825 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 46 m (150 ft); white flash every 5 s. 29 m (96 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black. 1-story keeper's houses and other buildings enclosed by a stone wall. Thomas Keetley's is at right, an excellent closeup photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view of the station. A handsome early nineteenth century tower. Fred Fox reports his experiences as a supernumerary keeper here in 1973. Located on the Isle of Orsay, a small island sheltering the harbor of Portnahaven at the southwestern tip of Islay. Accessible only by boat, but there are good views from the Portnahaven waterfront. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-184; Admiralty A4256; NGA 4232.

Firth of Lorn and Oban Area Lighthouses

Note: The Firth of Lorn (or Lorne) is a broad sound lying between the Isle of Mull to the west and the mainland to the east; however, the mainland coast is flanked by a series of islands known collectively as the Slate Islands. At the northeastern end of the firth, the fishing port and ferry terminal of Oban is sheltered behind Kerrera, the northernmost of the Slate Islands.
* [Scalasaig (3)]
2003 (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); two flashes every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 5 m (17 ft) skeletal tower clad in white aluminum panels as a daymark. Google has a fuzzy satellite view. There is a photo (1/3 of the way down the page) showing the second light at this site, a square masonry tower; the original light was a round tower. Scalasaig is the principal town of the Isle of Colonsay, which is accessible by ferry from Oban. Located on a headland on the south side of the harbor entrance, about 500 m (1/3 mile) southeast of the ferry pier. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-202; Admiralty A4200; NGA 4140.
Rhins of Islay Light
Rhinns of Islay Light, Isle of Orsay, October 2008
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Thomas Keetley
[The Garvellachs (Isles of the Sea) (2)]
2003 (station established 1904). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 6 s. 5 m (17 ft) skeletal tower clad in white aluminum panels as a daymark. Allan Bowes has contributed a photo and has posted some additional photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The Garvellachs, or Isles of the Sea, are a string of small rocky islands oriented northeast to southwest in the lower Firth of Lorn. The lighthouse is at the southwestern tip of the archipelago on Eileach an Naoimh, the Isle of the Saints, famous as the site of a sixth century monastery founded by St. Brendan. Accessible only by boat; tours to the island are available. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: private. ARLHS SCO-238; Admiralty A4196; NGA 4136.
[Dubh Sgeir (2)]
2002 (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); flash every 6 s, white, red, or green depending on direction. 7 m (23 ft) skeletal tower clad in white aluminum panels as a daymark. Gordon Brown has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The name, which means Black Rock in Gaelic, should be Sgeir Dubh, but the incorrect word order is traditional on light lists. The channel between this light and Fladda (next entry) is known for its strong tidal currents. Located southeast of Fladda and about 800 m (1/2 mi) west of Cullipool on the largest of several rocky islets in the north end of the Sound of Luing. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-061; Admiralty A4192; NGA 4132.
Fladda
1860 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 13 m (42 ft); two white flashes every 9 s, white, red, or green depending on direction. 13 m (42 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black. 1-story keeper's houses in fairly good condition. Walter Baxter's photo is at right, David Wyatt has a closeup, Trabas has a fine closeup by Kees Aalbersberg, Nicola Lang has a nice view from the sea, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The island and light station, except the tower, were sold into private ownership in 1976. Located on a small island about 3 km (2 mi) southwest of Cullipool on the Isle of Luing, marking the entrance to the Sound of Luing. Accessible only by boat (ecotours that visit the site are available). Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. Site manager: private. ARLHS SCO-083; Admiralty A4190; NGA 4128.
Sgeirean Dubha
Date unknown (station established 1892). Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 7 m (23 ft) square pyramidal tower on a square concrete base, painted white. Andy Waddington has a fine 2010 photo, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the largest of several rocky islets in the Sound of Kerrera, the southern route from the Firth of Lorn to Oban. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-206; Admiralty A4186; NGA 4120.
Kerrera Northspit
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); red flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a photo, the light is seen in the background of Terry Winters's photo of Dunollie Light (next entry), and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of a rocky reef at the north end of Kerrera, marking the entrance to the sheltered harbor of Oban. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SCO-110; Admiralty A4176; NGA 4100.
Fladda Light
Fladda Light, Cullipool, May 2011
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Walter Baxter
* Dunollie
1892 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); two flashes every 6 s, white, red, or green depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) unpainted stone tower with lantern and gallery; lantern painted white. Trabas has a good photo by Ronald Wöhrn, Newman has several photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Terry Winter has a closeup of the lantern, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This tiny lighthouse is a directional light guiding ships into Oban Harbour from the Firth of Lorn. Located just off the Corran Esplanade in Dunollie, on the north side of Oban. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-064; Admiralty A4178; NGA 4104.

Loch Linnhe Lighthouses

Note: Loch Linnhe is an estuary, an extension of the Firth of Lorn, that points northeastward into the Highlands. The loch is about 15 km (9 mi) long and roughly 2 km (1.2 mi) wide. Lismore is a narrow island that stretches lengthwise in the southern part of the loch.
Lady's Rock
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal solid stone tower painted white; in 2001 the original lantern was replaced by a short skeletal tower clad in red aluminum panels. Rene Just Nielsen has posted a closeup photo, Trabas has a similar photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view of the rock. The rock is named for the wife of a 16th century Scottish lord; according to the story, he stranded her on the rock when she failed to produce a male heir and assumed she drowned, but she was rescued by a passing fisherman. Located on a rock, submerged at high tide, about 2 km (1.2 mi) due east of Duart Point, southwest of Lismore Island in the junction of the Sound of Mull and Loch Linnhe. Accessible only by boat, but there are good views from the ferry between Oban and Craignure on the Isle of Mull. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-118; Admiralty A 4172; NGA 4068.
Lismore
1833 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 31 m (103 ft); white flash every 10 s. 26 m (86 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Entire tower and lantern painted white. Adam Sommerville's photo is at right, Trabas has a photo, James A. Clarke also has a fine photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse marks the entrances from the Firth of Lorn to Loch Linnhe to the north and also to the Sound of Mull to the west. Located on Eilean Musdile, a small island just off the southwestern tip of Lismore Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-121; Admiralty A4170; NGA 4072.
* Sgeir Bhuidhe (Appin) (1) (lantern)
1904 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Inactive since 2002. Originally a square pyramidal skeletal tower with lantern and enclosed upper portion. This lighthouse gained international notoriety in 2001 when pranksters painted it pink. When the Lighthouse Board replaced the light in the following year, it donated the lantern to the village of Port Appin. With funding from the Scottish Lottery Heritage Fund, volunteers refurbished the lantern, painted it white, and installed it beside the town hall in Port Appin. The lantern is not seen in Google's heavily shadowed satellite view of the village. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Village of Port Appin. ARLHS SCO-206.
Sgeir Bhuidhe (Appin) (2)
2002 (station established 1904). Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); two flashes every 7 s, white or red depending on direction. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical white fiberglass tower with lantern and gallery. Trabas has a closeup, Newman also has good photos, Walter Baxter has a 2009 photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The Lighthouse Board intended to place a standard skeletal tower with aluminum panels on this site, but after sharp protests from residents of the Port Appin area the Board agreed to install a fiberglass tower having a more traditional appearance. Located on a rocky ledge just offshore on the west side of Loch Linnhe about 500 m (1/3 mi) north of Port Appin, opposite the northeastern end of Lismore Island. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-360; Admiralty A4160; NGA 4076.
Lismore Light
Lismore Light, Kilpatrick, June 2009
Geograph Creative Commons photo
by Adam Sommerville

Isle of Mull Lighthouses

Note: The Isle of Mull, the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides, is separated from from the mainland peninsula of Morvern by a narrow strait called the Sound of Mull. Tobermory, the principal town of Mull, is near the northwest end of the strait.
Ardmore Point (2)
2003 (station established 1958). Active; focal plane 18 m (60 ft); two white flashes, separated by 2.3 s, every 10 s. 5 m (17 ft) square skeletal tower, clad in aluminum panels as a daymark, attached to a square 1-story equipment room. Entire structure is white. Alan Stewart has a photo, Trabas has a distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a headland on the south side of the western entrance to the Sound of Mull, about 7 km (4 mi) northwest of Tobermory. Site status unknown. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-004; Admiralty A4107; NGA 4028.
* Rubha nan Gall (Tobermory, Sound of Mull)
1857 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 17 m (55 ft); white flash every 3 s. 19 m (62 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. The lighthouse is built just offshore on a tiny islet and is connected to a 1-story keeper's house by a bridge and walkway. Lisa Jarvis's photo appears at right, Oliver Greese has a good closeup photo, Helena Duarte has another excellent closeup, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. In August 2013 the keeper's house was for sale for £225,000. Located on a rocky point about 2 km (1.25 mi) north of Tobermory. Accessible from town by a hiking trail along the shore. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-194; Admiralty A4112; NGA 4032.
[Green Islands (Eileanan Glasa) (2)]
2001 (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); white flash every 6 s. 7 m (23 ft) square skeletal tower clad in white aluminum panels as a daymark. Trabas has a photo, Chris Downer has a distant view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view of the tiny light. Located on the rock known as Dearg Sgeir, northernmost of a small group of islets in the middle of the Sound of Mull about 3 km (2 mi) northeast of Salen. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-091; Admiralty A4122; NGA 4036.
Rubha nan Gall Light
Rubha nan Gall Light, Tobermory, July 2006
Geograph Creative Commons photo
by Lisa Jarvis
* Duart Point (William Black Memorial)
1900 (William Lieper). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); three flashes every 18 s, white or red depending on direction. 9 m (30 ft) stone castellated tower with a light mounted on the top. This unusual beacon was built as a memorial to the Scottish romantic novelist William Black (1841-1898). Trabas has a photo, Richard Webb has a photo, Rene Just Nielsen has posted a distant photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the easternmost point of the Isle of Mull, about 1200 m (3/4 mi) south of Duart Castle and 3 km (2 mi) east of Lochdon. Accessible by a short walk, and there are good views from the ferry between Oban and Craignure on the Isle of Mull. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-295; Admiralty A4174; NGA 4056.
Dubh Artach (Dhu Heartach, St. John's Rock)
1872 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); two white flashes, separated by 3.8 s, every 30 s. 38 m (125 ft) tapered round granite tower with lantern and gallery, incorporating keeper's quarters. Tower painted white with a broad red horizontal band, lantern painted black. The daymark distinguishes this lighthouse from the similar but unpainted Skerryvore Light. Keeper's houses and a signal tower survive on Erraid at the southwest corner of the Isle of Mull (next entry). Barri Millar's photo is at right, a helicopter view is available, and Wikipedia has an article on the history of the station. Located on a rock southwest of Mull and southeast of Skerryvore. Accessible only by helicopter; landing from a boat would be quite dangerous. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-060; Admiralty A4098; NGA 4000.
* [Erraid Shore Station]
1869 (Thomas and David Stevenson). Inactive since 1952. 1-story granite keeper's houses and various outbuildings. Circular cast iron signal house with a conical roof. Meg Pickard has 2005 photos of the cottages and of the signal house, and Google has a satellite view of the station. The cottages were built initially to house the construction crew for the Dubh Artach lighthouse. They then served as the onshore keeper's quarters for Dubh Artach, and beginning in 1892 for Skerryvore Light as well. They were closed in 1952, and thereafter off-duty keepers lived at Oban until Dubh Artach was automated in 1971 and Skerryvore in 1994. The buildings have been sold to a foundation that supports a residential community. Located on the north side of the Isle of Erraid, just off the southwestern tip of the Isle of Mull about 5 km (3 mi) south of Fionnphort; the signal tower is at the highest point of the island, at an elevation of 75 m (246 ft). Accessible by a hiking trail at low tide. Site open, buildings generally closed to the public. Owner/site manager: Findhorn Foundation.
[Bunessan (Eileanan Liathanaitch, Gray Islands) (2)]
2001 (station established 1901. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); flash every 6 s, white or red depending on direction. 5 m (17 ft) square skeletal tower clad in white aluminum panels as a daymark. Trabas has a distant view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island in the entrance to Loch na Lathaich and the harbor of Bunessan, on the north side of the southwestern peninsula of the Isle of Mull. Accessible only by boat; there are views from a hiking trail on the Ardtun peninsula northeast of Bunessan. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-026; Admiralty A4102; NGA 4008.
Dubh Artach Light
Dubh Artach Light, July 2007
Flickr photo copyright Barri Millar; permission requested

Tiree and Coll Lighthouses
Note: The isles of Tiree and Coll lie in a southwest to northeast line west of the Isle of Mull. Tiree has a population of about 800, while Coll has fewer than 200 residents. A ferry from Oban serves both islands.
Skerryvore (Sgeir Mhòr)
1844 (Alan Stevenson). Reactivated (out of service 1954-1959); focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white flash every 10 s. 42 m (138 ft) tapered round granite tower with lantern and gallery, incorporating keeper's quarters. Tower unpainted light gray stone, lantern painted black. Jim Anderson's photo is a right, Jim McCumesty's photo is at right, Wikimedia has a photo by Jim Anderson, Marinas.com has excellent aerial photos, and Wikipedia has an article on the history of the station. This elegant lighthouse and the 1811 Bell Rock Light in the North Sea are Scotland's most famous waveswept lighthouses. The base of the tower is 13 m (42 ft) in diameter with walls 3 m (9.5 ft) thick. The light marks a group of exceptionally dangerous rocks that imperil all ships approaching the west coast ports of Scotland and England around the north of Ireland. The lighthouse was badly damaged by fire on the night of 16 March 1954; after a lengthy period of restoration it was returned to service in 1959. The original signal tower in Hynish (next entry) contains the Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum. Located about 18 km (11 mi) southwest of the Isle of Tiree. Accessible mainly by helicopter; landing from a boat is dangerous. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-215; Admiralty A4096; NGA 3996.
** [Hynish Signal Tower (Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum)]
1843 (Alan Stevenson). Inactive since 1892. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical stone tower topped by an approx. 10 m (33 ft) signal mast. Wikipedia has a closeup photo by James Yardley, C.C.M. Barnett has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. This tower was built to relay signals to and from the on-duty keepers at Skerryvore. Adjacent to the tower are the original 1-story stone keepers houses occupied by off-duty Skerryvore keepers and their families. The Skerryvore shore station was relocated in 1892 to Erraid at the southwest corner of the Isle of Mull (see below). The signal tower remained in the ownership of the Lighthouse Board until the mid 1980s, when it was transferred to the Hebridean Trust and converted into the Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum with displays on the construction and history of Skerryvore Light. The Trust purchased the keeper's houses from the Duke of Argyll in 1997; they have been restored to their nineteenth century appearance. Located at Hynish on the southern tip of the Isle of Tiree; island accessible by ferry from Oban. Site open, museum open daily in the summer. Owner/site manager: Hebridean Trust.
Cairns of Coll
1909 (David A. and Charles Stevenson). Active; focal plane 23 m (74 ft); white flash every 12 s. 7.5 m (25 ft) tower, painted white. Percy Quick has a 2010 closeup photo, Sheila Russell has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small rocky island about 3 km (2 mi) off the northeastern end of the Isle of Coll and about 15 km (9 mi) west of Ardnamurchan Point. Site and tower closed. Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board. ARLHS SCO-032; Admiralty A4084; NGA 4020.
Skerryvore Light
Skerryvore Light, July 2007
Flickr photo copyright Jim McCumesty; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

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Notable faux lighthouses:

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Adjoining pages: North: Highlands | South: Southwestern Scotland | West: Western Isles

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Posted October 19, 2004. Checked and revised August 20, 2013. Lighthouses: 36; lightships: 1. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.