Carraig Fhada Lighthouse is located at the western approach to Port Ellen at Kilnaughton Bay. It is an unusual square tower 57 feet high and does not have a lantern, but a small beacon is mounted on its top. The lighthouse is easily viewed from the Islay ferry coming in from Kennacraig to Port Ellen.
Port Ellen is the second largest town on Islay after Bowmore. Sheltered in Leodamas Bay it was founded by Walter Frederick Campbell in 1821. The town was named after his wife Eleanor, and the name was later shortened to Port Ellen.
Carraig Fhada Lighthouse was built in 1832 by the Laird of Islay, Walter Frederick Campbell in memory of his first wife, Lady Ellinor, or Eleanor Charteris. Lady Charteris died aged only 36 in September 1832. The tower has been used as a lighthouse since 1853.
A commemorative plaque on the side of the lighthouse reads:
This tower is erected to the memory of Lady Ellinor Campbell by her husband.
Ye who mid storms and tempests stray in danger’s midnight hour: behold where shines this friendly ray, and hail its guardian power: ‘Tis but faint emblem of her light. My fond and faithful guide. Whose sweet example meekly bright led thro’ this world’s eventful tide my happy course aright. And still my guiding star. She lives in realms of bliss above. Still to my heart blest influence give and prompts to deeds of love: ‘tis she that bids me on the steep, kindle the beacon’s flame. To light the wanderer over the deep. Who safe shall bless her name: so may sweet virtue lead your way. That when life’s voyage is over: secure like her, with her you may attain the heavenly shore.
A short walk just beyond the lighthouse are the Singing Sands. These are so-called because of the sounds made as you walk over the sand in some conditions.