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Monach Islands, Shillay, Monach Lighthouse

Lighthouse (19th Century)

Site Name Monach Islands, Shillay, Monach Lighthouse

Classification Lighthouse (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Siolaigh; Heisker Islands; Monach Lighthouse And Keeper's House; North Uist

Canmore ID 9702

Site Number NF56SE 2

NGR NF 59282 62723

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish North Uist
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

SHILLAY It is believed that Celtic monks maintained a beacon here to guide mariners. The successor to this was D. & T. Stevenson's Lighthouse of 1864, with a tall, battered tower and twostorey, flat-roofed house, all of red brick. Operation ceased in 1942 but is to be revived.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NF56SE 2.00 59282 62723

Monach Lighthouse (disused) [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, October 2008.

NF56SE 2.01 NF 59290 62720 Keeper's Cottage

NF56SE 2.02 NF 59515 62685 to NF 59460 62672 Pier

See also NF56SE 1.

Not to be confused with beacons at NF 59557 62535 and NF 59520 62513, for which see NF56SE 4.

Name: Monach Isles (1864)

Location: N57 32 W7 42 Atlantic, 7 miles SW of North Uist

Designed and built: David and Thomas Stevenson

Light first exhibited: 1864

Description: circular red brick tower

Height of light above MHW: 154ft (47m)

Height of tower: 133ft (41m)

Light source and characteristics: W Fl (1) ev 10 secs (now discontinued). (Formerly) paraffin vapour burner: 173,000cp: nominal range 18nm

Fog warning apparatus: None

Daymark only: light discontinued 1942

C Nicholson 1995.

This island lighthouse is situated at the W end of this extensive group of low-lying islands, which is set in the Atlantic to the W of North Uist. It was constructed in 1864 as part of the major scheme for the construction of 29 lights carried out by David and Thomas Stevenson between 1854 and 1878, but was discontinued in 1942, apparently as it was found that any ship which came close enough to see the light was already on danger.

In December 1864, the revolving light mechanism stopped on account of the breaking of a shaft. It was kept revolving by hand over 17 consecutive nights until a replacement was received. The November gale of 1881 wrecked the smaller of two boats at Monach, where radiotelephony was installed before 1925.

The lighthouse apparently remains in sound condition, although it is uncertain whether or not the mechanism and accommodation fittings have been removed.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 13 October 2008.

R W Munro 1979; K Allardyce 1998; S Krauskopf 2001.


Construction (1864)

Light established in 1864 and decommissioned on 22 Nov 1948.

K Allardyce 1998


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