Hyskeir Lighthouse

Hyskeir Lighthouse Patrick Tubby

Hyskeir Lighthouse, also known as Oigh-sgeir was built in 1904 to mark the southern end of the Minch. Both Hyskeir and Canna are low lying islands, and prior to the light, both were difficult to observe from the sea.

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Built by David A Stevenson, it is the only Scottish operational lighthouse to still have a hyperradial lens in situ. This is the largest size of optic.

Hyskeir lantern Patrick Tubby
The hyperradial optic in Hyskeir Lighthouse

The keepers’ families lived in Oban.  The house on Glenmore Road was built in 1904 as a shore station for Hyskeir. 

From the 1970s reliefs for the keepers were made by helicopter.  Heavy equipment and oil had to be landed by ship. During the winter of 1980 bad weather prevented the lighthouse vessel Fingal from delivering oil on a number of occasions between September and January. When the supplies were finally landed, only 2 days supply of oil was still left at the station.

Several low bridges connect the islands, and at the far end, the remnants of the fog horn are visible. However, the gardens are now so overgrown that they are difficult to determine.  The keepers had constructed a three-hole golf course. 


Former Beirut hostage John McCarthy and presenter Sandi Toksvig visited in 1994.  They were taking part on board a pilot cutter named Hirta, as part of their Island Race book and documentary.

The lighthouse keepers also kept goats on the island.

In the book Stargazing by Peter Hill, he describes his tour of duty at Hyskeir as a Supernumerary Keeper.

The lighthouse was automated in March 1997.

Established: 1904
Engineer: David A Stevenson
Tower Height: 39 metres
Light Character: Fl W (3) 30 s
Light Range: 24 miles
Elevation: 41 metres
Automated: 1997