N/A, L Jones

Location: Arran

The story of the Arran lighthouses

For shipping, the island of Arran’s position in the firth of Clyde between the mainland and Kintyre means its lighthouses are very important. Arran’s first lighthouse, guarding its south east coast, was of the oldest in Scotland, built in 1790 on the small island of Pladda by Thomas Smith.

To distinguish it from the other three lighthouses in the area, it had another light placed twenty metres below the top one. Rebuilt in 1821, it was one of the first lighthouses to be powered by paraffin instead of sperm oil and was also fitted with a fog horn in 1876. In 1901, another first was for its fixed light to be replaced by a powerful group of flashing lights.

The lighthouse was then fully automated in 1990. Situated on Holy Island, Arran‘s other two lighthouses were built by David and Thomas Stevenson. First was the ‘Inner’ Lighthouse in 1877, lighting up the southern entrance to Lamlash bay on Arran’s East coast. It is locally known as ‘Wee Donald’. Its keepers saved the Ossian and its crew in 1894 before it went fully automatic and unmanned in 1901. Guarding the main channel up the firth of Clyde, the ‘Outer’ lighthouse, also known as the Pillar Rock Lighthouse, was built in 1905 as the first of the Northern Lighthouse Board’s square lighthouses.

Both Inner and Outer lighthouses were fully electrified in 1977. All three are manned from Edinburgh.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.