Tiumpan Head Lighthouse

Tiumpan Head Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Tiumpan Head, pronounced “Chumpin” was the last major lighthouse to be lit on the Isle of Lewis by the Northern Lighthouse Board.

A causeway from Stornoway links Lewis to the Eye Peninsula, and at the tip of the peninsula is Tiumpan Head Lighthouse.

Rudha Tiompan is the Gaelic name for Tiumpan Head.  A Tiompan is a one-sided knoll, which may explain the name.

Tiumpan Head lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Several applications had been made for a lighthouse at Portvoller, the location of the current lighthouse.  However, these had been refused by the Board of Trade.  It was not until 1879 that the application was finally approved.

The 68ft high lighthouse was built by David A and Charles Stevenson and was first exhibited on 1st December 1900.

Tiumpan Head
Photo: Patrick Tubby

The lighthouse was visited by Her Majesty The Queen in 1956. Accompanied by Prince Charles and Princess Anne, it was the 7-year-old Prince who sounded the first blast on a new fog siren.

Interestingly, this is reputed to be the first lighthouse that The Princess Royal had visited, aged 5.  This is perhaps, where her fascination with lighthouses began. Princess Anne is Master of Trinity House and Patron of the Northern Lighthouse Board and Happisburgh Lighthouse in Norfolk.

This YouTube video briefly shows the royal visit to Tiumpan Head Lighthouse.

Six lighthouse keepers were stationed at the lighthouse.  Three keepers and their families lived in the accommodation.  A local assistant and two occasional lighthouse keepers lived nearby.

During automation in 1985, the original Fresnel lens was replaced with a bank of sealed beam units. The foghorn building was demolished and the air and water tanks removed.

The former first-order optic was dismantled during automation and is in storage at the Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle, Stornoway.

The cottages were sold off in the 1980s and the site is now run as a dog kennels and cattery.

Established: 1900
Engineer: David A Stevenson
Tower Height: 21 metres
Light Character: Fl W(2) 15 s
Light Range: 25 miles
Elevation: 55 metres
Automated: 1985