Worldwide Lighthouses

Arnish Point Lighthouse

Arnish Point

General Information


Established: 1853

Current Lighthouse Built: 1853

Height: 21 Metres (68.9 Feet)

Automated: 1963

Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board

Designer: Alan Stevenson

Light Information


White: 21 Nautical Miles

Red: Nautical Miles

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 metres 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 metres 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.

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