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Lighthouses of the Outer Hebrides

Discover the lighthouses of the Outer Hebrides.


Please note that some lighthouses offer holiday accommodation or may be privately owned.  

Please take care not to trespass or drive on private property.

Lighthouses of the Outer Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides are an archipelago located across the Minch.  Also known as the Western Isles, there are over 70 islands, although only 15 are inhabited.   The major islands include Lewis, Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra. 

The Isle of Lewis is the furthest north, linked with Harris.  There are some amazing shell beaches and the historic Callanish Standing stones.

Across the sound of Harris is the Isle of Berneray with machair and sandy beaches.  North Uist is reached from the causeway.  Benbecula is very flat, and South Uist is a long narrow island.  There are some rugged hills to the east, and the Island of Eriskay, the setting for Whisky Galore! is accessible by a causeway from South Uist.

Berneray

At the southernmost point of the Outer Hebrides, Barra Head Lighthouse is on the tiny island of Berneray.  Barra is the next island, which has inhabitants. Between 1931 and 1980, Barra Head was inhabited by the lighthouse keepers and their families, but the island is no longer occupied

From the island are views to the north, Vatersay, Mingulay, and beyond.

The cliffs at Barra Head rise to over 600 feet.  Barra Head Lighthouse has the highest elevation, though the tower is only short. 

Barra Head
Barra Head Lighthouse

North and South Uist

Heading north along the eastern coastline is the squat white lighthouse of Ushenish, now devoid of most buildings.  Most of these were demolished after automation.  The lighthouse is almost inaccessible by land, and the best way to access it is by boat.

Monach lighthouses
Monach Lighthouse

On the island of Shillay on the western side of North Uist stands the impressive unpainted tower of Monach Lighthouse.  The lighthouse was decommissioned for a while, and replaced by a modern lighthouse.  It has since been recommissioned using the original tower.

Scalpay

The distinctive Eilean Glas Lighthouse is located on the island of Scalpay. The first lighthouse tower is still in evidence and was one of the first four built by the Northern Lighthouse Board.

The island of Scalpay is joined to the mainland by the Scalpay Bridge.  There are impressive views from the lighthouse across the Minch.

Eilean Glas Lighthouse
Eilean Glas Lighthouse

Lewis and Harris

Lewis and Harris is the largest Scottish island of the Outer Hebrides.  They are both connected but divided by a mountain range.  Lewis is the northernmost part of the island, with Harris to the south.

Guarding the entrance to Stornoway Harbour is Arnish Point Lighthouse.  It was the first prefabricated lighthouse built for the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Further north from Stornoway, Tiumpan Head Lighthouse is a hotel with a difference, as it is now dog kennels and cattery.  It was the last major lighthouse established on the Isle of Lewis.

The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse is located at the most northerly point and is also said to be the windiest place in the UK! 

Butt of Lewis Lighthouse

On the western side of the island at Breasclete is the distinctive building which served as Flannan Shore Station.  This housed the families of the keepers of Flannan Lighthouse and is now a visitor centre.

Outer Isles and beyond

To the far west of the islands is the world heritage site of St Kilda, which was inhabited until 1930. 

Flannan Lighthouse is around 20 miles offshore on the largest of the group of islands, Eilean Mor. The lighthouse was established in 1900 and is best known for the disappearance of all three lighthouse keepers.  Their family shore station was located on the mainland at Breasclete. 

Flannan Isles Lighthouse
Flannan Lighthouse

Much further north, 44 miles northeast of Lewis, is the remote island of Rona, where North Rona Lighthouse is located.

Also, 40 miles north of Lewis is the remote island of Sula Sgeir, famous for the annual guga hunt by the Lewis inhabitants.  Sula Sgeir Lighthouse is located at the southern end of the island.


Accommodation

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Discover more lighthouses and places to visit in the Outer Hebrides

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