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Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Lighthouse (19th Century)

Site Name Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Classification Lighthouse (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Ardnamurchan Point; Point Of Ardnamurchan

Canmore ID 22125

Site Number NM46NW 4

NGR NM 41587 67473

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/22125

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Ardnamurchan
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Argyll

Recording Your Heritage Online

Ardnamurchan Point At Ardnamurchan's western extremity, the road becomes a walled granite causeway on 'a bluff headland, rocky, sterile, and wind-worn' (W. Daniell, 1818).

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, Alan Stevenson, 1848 Massive pink granite tower rising from a fissured plateau, visible from the road for many miles as a lantern suspended above bare rock. At its base are the flat-roofed keepers' dwellings, built to a model house type devised by Robert Stevenson and developed with more specifically antique references by his son, Alan, an amateur classical scholar. Their proto- Modernist detail is spare but bold, redolent of the Egyptian style; the lamp's base is discreetly decorated with stylised Egyptian figurines. The plan is elegant and compact, with 'stores' projecting radially in a half wheel from the base of the tower, the central open court enclosed to the east by a rectangular accommodation block, converted to lighthouse exhibition/museum plus self-catering accommodation by Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust, 1997. Contemporary steading range with barn, byre and workshop for each keeper, now converted to cafe/shop. Each of the townships clinging to Ardnamurchan's remote northern coast is a reminder of the programme of clearances from villages like Bourblaig that was imposed on the estate's impoverished tenants during the 19th century. Patterns on the landscape, clusters of ruined buildings and abandoned rigs, mark the old, unlotted townships. Linear holdings provided for those evicted during the 1820s and 50s characterise townships created at that time, such as Portuairk (reached by road only in 1950-1) and Sanna, whose children walked over the hills to school at Achosnich. Most dwellings intact today are those 'improved' with housing grants and loans available after 1926, now mostly holiday cottages. Achnaha remains a honeycomb of broken walling, although a barn (still in use) and a house have recently been re-thatched. Eastwards, where the landscape is refreshed with sweet green grazings, townships were cleared c.1850 for the Swordle and Ockle farms (some holdings being reassigned after the Great War).

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press http://www.rias.org.uk

Archaeology Notes

NM46NW 4.00 41587 67473

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse [NAT]

OS (GIS) AIB, April 2008.

NM46NW 4.01 NM 41593 67454 Keepers Cottages

NM46NW 4.02 NM c.4155 6750 Sundial

NM46NW 4.03 NM 41644 67279 Steading (Visitor Centre)

NM46NW 4.04 NM 41575 67486 Foghorn

For associated quarries at Camas Tuath, Mull (NM 3520 2424), see NM32SE 16.

(Location cited as NM 416 675). Ardnamurchan lighthouse, built 1848, engineer Alan Stevenson. A circular-section, slightly-tapering stone tower, with a corbelled walkway and standard lantern. The keepers' houses are single-storey, flat-roofed. The most westerly lighthouse on the mainland of Britain.

J R Hume 1977.

This (shore) lighthouse was converted to group flashing in 1927/8.

R W Munro 1979.

NM 4158 6745. Ardnamurchan Lighthouse: The lantern of this lighthouse rises to a height of 55m above the shore of the most westerly point of the British mainland. It was designed by Alan Stevenson in 1846 and built by Robert Hume, a contractor from Gatehouse-of-Fleet. The light was first displayed in 1849, the total cost of construction being #13,738. In its original form the light was fixed; a flashing signal was adopted in 1928.

(A full description of the lighthouse and associated buildings is given by RCAHMS).

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1971.

Architecture Notes

Reference: Bell Rock Folio belonging to Mr R Q C Stevenson, Edinburgh

40. Ardnamurchan Lighthouse (Plate XXVII). Engraving.

James Andrews delt. William Miller Sculpt. (Alan Stevenson's Account of the Skerryvore Lighthouse, 1848).

Activities

Construction (1849)

Light established in 1849. Designed by Alan Stevenson in 1846 and built by Robert Hume.

Field Visit (1971)

NM 4158 6745. Ardnamurchan Lighthouse: The lantern of this lighthouse rises to a height of 55m above the shore of the most westerly point of the British mainland. It was designed by Alan Stevenson in 1846 and built by Robert Hume, a contractor from Gatehouse-of-Fleet. The light was first displayed in 1849, the total cost of construction being #13,738. In its original form the light was fixed; a flashing signal was adopted in 1928.

(A full description of the lighthouse and associated buildings is given by RCAHMS).

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1971.

Publication Account (1985)

Impressive both from the sea when rounding Ardnamurchan Point or when approached by land at the most western tip of the British mainland, the lighthouse was designed by Alan Stevenson in 1846 and completed some three years later; it was one of the last of the series of great stone towers to be built by the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouse Board. The lighthouse tower has a height of 28m at which point the parapet walk surrounds the light-room; the tower and keepers' houses were designed on opposing sides of a courtyard with further accommodation in a rather uninspiring low block. The main architectural features of note are the Classical doorway at the base of the tower and the arched base of the upper parapet. In the light-room the original lens mechanism and mounting may still be seen.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Argyll and the Western Isles’, (1985).

Modification (1988)

Automated in 1988.

K Allardyce 1998

References

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