Strathy Point
Strathy Point lighthouse
photos: ©

North Coast

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Update: 16-03-2024

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Cape Wrath
Duncansby Head
Dunnet Head
Holborn Head
Pentland Skerries
Strathy Point
Swilkie Point

Place of the lighthouse

Strathy (from Scottish Gaelic 'Srathaidh', meaning "place of the strath"). A Strath is a large valley, typically a river valley that is wide and shallow (as opposed to a glen, which is typically narrower and deep). Today's Strathy is a sparse and scattered community, spread across the wide valley of the River Strathy as it flows into beautiful Strathy Bay. The village lies some twenty miles west of Thurso, Sutherland Scotland.

The west end of Strathy is marked by the Strathy Inn. Nearby is the junction A386 with a minor road that leads two miles north past straggling crofts to a parking area near the tip of Strathy Point. From here you can walk to the Strathy Point Lighthouse.

Building of the Lighthouse

The construction of the Strathy Point lighthouse was approved in 1953 and lit for the first time in 1958. Strathy Point filled one of the last important dark blanks at the north coast of Scotland. In 1900, it was first proposed to build a lighthouse at Strathy Point. But the Nortthern Lighthouse Board then refused approval. Later, the vesselowners thought that an additional light was realy required in the area, where a temporary light had been shown during the second World War. Sheriff Sir Robert Maconochie, who inaugurated the permanent light, came from legal family long associated with the NLB, being himself an ardent pleader for the Strathy light.

The buildings of the lighthouse, designed by the NLB's Engineer, Peter H. Hyslop, are laid out in a square with covered-in passage ways, giving protection from the high winds on this outstanding headland. The traditional round tower has been abandoned at this lighthouse and is now a squared tower. (curved walls in the traditional design require appropriate interior fittings). Strathy Point was the first Scottish Lighthouse built as an all-electric station, with major light and fog signal.

Warning systems (Light, Fog horn, Radar Beacon)

The 4th order lens was provided with two optical panels with a focal lenght of 250mm, rotating, with an electric stepper motor, round a Metal Halide 250watt lamp and had a range of up to 26 nautical miles. The optic is only a quarter of the size considered necessary twenty years before and the lantern measures only two meter in diameter. The fog signal, of which the horns were set 120° apart to spread the sound, was of type diaphone and blasted 4 times every 90 seconds. In 1987 the foghorn is discontinued.

Decommissioning the lighthouse

In 2010, the NLB assessed the utility and the necessity of the Strathy Point lighthouse, taking into account the existing and future requirements for national and international shipping. Every resource, such as lighthouses, beacons and buoys in the vicinity of Strathy Point lighthouse, was examined to determine if and where necessary improvements were needed.

The vessel traffic analysis demonstrated that commercial vesselping passed some distance to the North of Strathy Point, on a direct line between Cape Wrath and the Pentland Firth. It was also noted that fishing and leisure use in this area is limited. The light was identified as a passing light on a radar of a conspicuous coast line rather than a significant way point or hazard marker.

A formal consultation process with local users, harbour authorities, vessel owners and vessel operators, fishing groups and leisure users followed. The consultation responses largely supported the NLB's assessment that the light is a passing light of minimal significance to most traffic. It was therefore agreed to discontinue the light at Strathy Point and it was permanently discontinued with effect from 2 March 2012.

Following the discontinuation of the light, the NLB no longer required the lighthouse at Strathy Point and plans were put in place to sell the lighthouse. On the 5th of April 2013 the NLB sold the lighthouse and is no longer responsible for the maintenance of these buildings.

Additional information

In 1790 Captain John Mackay of Strathy sold his land to William Honeyman, an Edinburgh lawyer who was later to become Lord Armadale of Strathy. Honeyman was the first landowner in north Sutherland to realise that his land was worth much more when leased in large blocks to Northumberland sheep farmers than when leased to large numbers of small tenant crofters.

It was just a matter of applied economics to clear these people, forcibly, if necessary, from the land they had occupied for generations. Many emigrated to the colonies, often via coastal settlements that rapidly grew to accommodate the displaced crofters. One of these was Strathy. Until the clearances there had been just four crofters in Strathy, a figure which grew to 42, including 20 cleared from Strathnaver.

Perhaps the oddest thing about the village of Strathy is the presence of no fewer than four churches, all built between 1828 and 1910. The earliest of the four churches was built to a standard Thomas Telford design in 1828.

Click on the photo to see a nice video of Strathy Point on Youtube.
Strathy Point lighthouse

Strathy Point


Character: Discontinued (Fl. W 20s.)

Strathy Point lighthouse
(click to enlarge the map)
Engineer: Peter H. Hysop

Lat, Lon: 58°35.933' N, 004°01.113' W

Established: 1958
Character: Was Flashing White every 20 sec.
Range: 26 NM ~ 48.2 km
Elevation: 45 meters above sealevel
Tower: 14 meters
Init. Costs: £ ?.
Econ. Costs*: £ ?.
*) According to:

Automated: March 31, 1997
Last Keepers: PLK - D. Noble
: ALK - C. Babiak
: ALK - ?
Fog horn: Diaphone, 4 blasts every 90s.
: Discontinued 1987

Status: Discontinued March 2, 2012
Authority: Northern Lighthouse Board
Remarks: .....

Strathy Point lighthouse

Strathy Point lighthouse

Drone flight around Strathy Point

Strarhy Point - Drone flight- Toor Boy