Ushenish Lighthouse

Ushenish Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Ushenish Lighthouse is located on South Uist.

A track leads upwards for about a mile from the beach, rounding the headland to the short white lighthouse.   Steps lead down to the squat 39ft high lighthouse, which looks across the water to Skye.  

The lighthouse was first lit on 10th November 1857 and designed by David and Thomas Stevenson.

Helipad at Ushenish
Photo: Patrick Tubby

The lighthouse trialled one of Thomas Stevenson’s condensing prism apparatus. This was an improvement to the dioptric system, the process of refracting light.

The keepers and their families must have had a lonely existence with no road or track linking them to the rest of South Uist. In an effort to improve conditions for the keepers’ families, they transferred to the Pulpit Rock shore station at Oban in 1952. The lighthouse was then reclassified as a rock station.

In 1955 a keeper was dismissed from Ushenish Lighthouse when the Northern Lighthouse Board discovered that he had been imprisoned for burglary in Oban.

Photo: Patrick Tubby

Following automation in 1975, the former lighthouse keepers’ accommodation was demolished.

The easiest way to reach Ushenish Lighthouse is by boat. Access across the mainland to the lighthouse is difficult as the terrain is muddy, boggy, and wet.

Established: 1857
Engineer: David Stevenson
Tower Height: 12 metres
Light Character: Fl W R 20s
Light Range: 19 miles
Elevation: 54 metres
Automated: 1970