Visit a Scottish lighthouse – things to do in Scotland


14 January 2015
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Explore Scotland’s maritime heritage with our guide to five lighthouses which welcome visitors.
Visit a Scottish lighthouse – things to do in Scotland Images

Explore Scotland’s maritime heritage with our guide to five lighthouses which welcome visitors.

Kinnaird Head

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, Kinnaird Head, is the location of Scotland’s first mainland lighthouse. Visitors can take a tour of the lighthouse tower (pictured) throughout the year and visit the museum, which charts the history of the country’s lighthouses from the earliest times through to the present day. The museum is also home to nationally important collection of glass lenses and lighting technology.

Facilities on site include a shop and café, and the museum runs a programme of events.

Kinnaird Head, Castle Terrace, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire AB43 9DU; tel: 01346 511022; website.

Mull of Galloway

This lighthouse stands at Scotland’s most southerly point, looking out over the Rhins of Galloway. Climb the 115 steps of the lighthouse to enjoy views over the water, where dolphins and porpoises can often be viewed. There is also a visitor exhibition on this history of the lighthouse, which was built by Robert Stevenson and first lit in 1830. The lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1971 and fully automated in 1988; now remotely monitored by the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Open April to October. Other facilities include a coffee shop and RSPB nature reserve.

Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway DG9 9HP; tel: 01776 840554; website.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Built in 1839 by Alan Stevenson, Ardnamurchan Lighthouse stands at Britain’s most westerly point, its 36-metre high granite tower a landmark for miles. The lighthouse was built using granite from the Isle of Mull and is designed in a unique ‘Egyptian’ style. A lighthouse keeper and family lived on site until 1988 and the lighthouse is now fully automated.
Facilities on site include a visitor centre, coffee shops, fog horn area and outdoor viewing platform, and visitors have the chance to climb 152 steps and two ladders to the top of the lighthouse.

Open April to October

The Lighthouse, Adrnamurchan Point, Kilchoan, Acharacle, Argyll PH36 4LN; tel: 01972 510210; website.

Sumburgh Head

Designed by Robert Stevenson in 1821, Sumburgh Head is located at the southern tip of the Shetland mainland. The lighthouse is a landmark for mariners and visitors alike, being the first sight of the Shetland isles that visitors arriving by ferry glimpse.

The lighthouse was fuelled by paraffin until 1976,when electricity was introduced, and the last keepers left Sumburgh in 1991. Visitors can see the engine room, radar hut, fog horn and Muckle Roe Light, as well as enjoying the scenery from the view points, and the lighthouse also hopes to introduce tower tours.
Open April to September. Facilities include a visitor centre and nature reserve.

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, East House, Virkie, Shetland ZE3 9JN; tel: 01950 460800; website.

North Ronaldsay

North Ronaldsay is the site of Scotland’s last working foghorn station and Old Beacon, built in 1789 and one of Scotland’s oldest intact lighthouses (pictured). North Ronaldsay Lighthouse was built by Alan Stevenson in 1854 and visitors can climb 176 steps to the top of the 139-foot tower.

Facilities include a visitor centre, exhibition and tours of the site’s wool mill.

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse, Dennis Ness, North Ronaldsay, Orkney KW17 2BE; tel: 01857 633297; website.




 

Images: Kinnaird © Otter; Mull of Galloway © M Campbell; Ardnamurchan © Trevor Rickard; Sumburgh Head, Nicholas Mutton; North Ronaldsay old lighthouse © Alex Cameron