Worldwide Lighthouses

Ornsay Lighthouse


General Information

Established: 1857

Current Lighthouse Built: 1857

Height: 19 Metres (62.34 Feet)

Automated: 1962

Electrified: 1988

Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board

Designer: David Stevenson and Thomas Stevenson

Light Information

White: 15 Nautical Miles

White (Emergency lamp): 10 Nautical Miles

The Lighthouse that stands on the small Island of Ornsay shines over the Sound of Sleat was built in 1857 to match the similar design of the Eilean Ban Lighthouse, at the other end of the Kyle Rhea (The channel between the Sound of Sleat and Kyle of Lochalsh, separating Skye from the Mainland)

The Light marks the entrance to the Sound of Sleat and is a 19 meter high white tower with a gold painted gallery and lantern base. The lantern itself is painted white, whilst the domed roof is black.

Inside the lantern is a setup of two modern Acrylic Fresnel lenses, one above the other; one is for normal usage and is powered by mains electricity, whilst the other lamp is an Emergency backup, powered by an array of batteries that are kept in the tower. The emergency set-up can keep the light operational for several days.

The tower is separate from the keepers cottages, which are two single story dwellings sited a short distance from the tower. These were sold in 1966 following the automation of the light in 1962 and were converted into rent-able cottages, ideally located for fishing and sailing. 1988 saw the light changed to mains power instead of the clean Acetylene Gas that allowed for the Light to be made automatic.

Something unusual about the Light is that it is not monitored remotely from the NLB headquarters in Edinburgh like most of the Lighthouses operated by the Northern Lighthouse Board, but it is in fact reliant on somebody local to keep a watch that the lamp is working properly.