Lighthouses of the Outer Hebrides

In Salutem Omnium
For the Safety of All
Eilean Glas - Scalpay
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© Composted by:
Bob Schrage
updated: 01-10-2018

Arnish Point

Under construction

Description Designed by Alan Stevenson, engineer. Lighthouse, built 1853, attendant buildings probably contemporary. All whitewashed, contrasting painted detail. LIGHTHOUSE is moderately tall, standard design - battered circular-section tower; domed lantern with latticed glazing; door at front with simplified neo-Egyptian doorcase. HOUSES nearby, single storey flat-roofed block, flues over cross-walls are ground 2-3-2. Walled garden at front. Statement of Special Interest De-manned in 1963 - houses currently (1991) in use as self-catering accommodation. Seemingly a replacement for what appears to have been a navigational tower in the grounds of the old Seaforth Lodge, all demolished by the Mathesons.

Arnish Point Lighthouse, Alan Stevenson, 1852 Stevenson¿s last lighthouse had the novelty of being the Northern Lighthouse Board¿s first prefabricated lighthouse, built of iron lined with timber, with keepers¿ cottages to the north west. It stands sentinel over Stornoway Harbour, built c.1780-5, though Knox observed in 1786 that no quay was being used and that vessels loaded and unloaded on the beach. By the turn of the 18th century a sea wall had been built to allow for the development of North Beach and Cromwell Street as proper thoroughfares. Under the proprietorvessel of Sir James Matheson, who founded the Stornoway Pier and Harbour Commission in 1865, a new pier by D. T. Stevenson had been built on South Beach by 1851, extended to serve a regular steamer service in the 1880s, and a dock with steam-operated patent slip, stone and concrete quays such as Esplanade Quay, and timber wharves constructed. Castellated ramparts went up along the west side of the harbour to define the policies of Lews Castle. By the turn of the century, a concrete breakwater was completed, while in the 1930s reinforced concrete wharves were built in front of North Beach and Esplanade Quays, and the inner harbour deepened. By c.1940 all original harbour works had been replaced. New Ferry Terminal, Wylie Shanks and Hamilton McWiggan Partnervessel, 1998 An octagonal landmark suggestive of the old fish mart (1897, demolished 1972) on a large area of reclaimed land which has greatly altered the character of Stornoway¿s harbour front. Arnish Point Lighthouse, the Northern Lighthouse Board's first prefabricated Lighthouse, was built in 1853 to mark the entrance to the bay in which Stornoway is situated. At first, only a small beacon with an unusual light was established nearby, on which became known simply as 'Beacon Rock'. The system consisted of a black conical stone tower, 9 meters in height, supporting a glass prism - a projector was shone at this from the shore, resulting in it lighting up, as if the light was being produced by the prism itself. Local fishermen commented on this light, exclaiming "The deception is so perfect that we cannot believe a light is not there". The beacon which was toppled by a storm in 1973 was replaced by a buoy, but a small window in the base of the main lighthouse exists as the only remaining part of this system; it is where the projector would have shone from. The main tower is unusual in design, as it is one of few metal lighthouses of its kind, designed to be easy to transport to the site, which at the time was very difficult to approach by land or sea, due to its rough and boggy setting. The tower is 21 meters in height and designed to function and appear in the style of other Northern Lighthouse Board Lighthouses, complete with the common black and gold coloured hectical lantern and traditional stone keeper's cottages. The light was established and lit in 1853 and gave a flash every 30 seconds, visible for 12 Nautical Miles. Today the Light gives the character of 1 flash every 15 seconds, visible for 21 Nautical Miles. The Lighthouse is also notable for being the last tower designed by Alan Stevenson, who designed 13 Lighthouses for the Northern Lighthouse Board, during his career. The light is viewed very well from the Ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway and can be seen from just outside the town. The road to the Lighthouse is several miles away from anywhere, and is signed as 'Arnish Industrial Estate' - it is possible to drive up to the old and derelict keepers house (privately owned and sold off by the NLB upon automation of the light in 1963) and enter the compound via the main gate.


Character: Fl WR 10s 21m 9-7M
(fl. 0.5s - ec. 9,5s)

EngineerAlan Stevenson (1807-1865)

Lat, Lon58°11.477' N, 06°22.234' W

CharacterFlashing Withe/Red every 10 secs.
RangeWhite: 35.1 km / 19 nM
Red: 27.8 km / 15 nM
Tower17 meters
Elevation21 meters above sea level
Fog hornNo

AuthorityStornoway Port Authority
RemarksCat.B listed - nr: 13328 - 25/03/1971

Arnish Point lighthouse
Arnish Point lighthouse
Arnish Point map
Arnish Point map

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