Ardnamurchan Lighthouse is situated on the most westerly point of the British mainland. It was established in 1849 by Alan Stevenson. The tower incorporates architectural features inspired by Ancient Egyptian design and the lens was designed by the Paris-based manufacturer, Letourneau.


The origins of the name ‘Ardnamurchan’ have long been debated. One theory is that it stems from the Gaelic Àird nam Murchan, meaning “point of the sea-hounds (or otters)” in English. However, another suggests that it was derived from Artda Muirchol, relating to the English “point of the pirates (or wreckers),” where the “col” from Muirchol refers to wickedness.

1845: The site was chosen and 20 acres of land was purchased for a sum of £20 from Mr Alexander Cameron, who was grudgingly paid an additional £58 for the inconvenience caused during building operations. During the three years it took to complete the lighthouse, scurvy broke out among the workmen and a doctor was brought to site to treat them.

1849: The oil light was first exhibited on the night of the 5th of October and, following completion of the works, two lightkeepers were appointed at a yearly allowance of £18. They kept two cows and roughly a dozen sheep at the station.

1852: The tower was struck by lightning during a severe storm, breaking the windowpanes and tearing plaster from the walls. 50 feet of boundary wall was knocked down and 40 feet of road was washed away by the heavy seas. The keepers’ boat was broken up, despite it having been secured 15 feet above the last known high water mark.

1988: The lighthouse was automated and is remotely monitored from the Northern Lighthouse Board’s headquarters in Edinburgh.

1996: The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust took over the former Keepers’ Cottages and outbuildings.

2020: Supported by the Scottish Land Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust completed a Community Asset Transfer to bring the lighthouse complex (exclusive of the tower which is still owned and managed by the Northern Lighthouse Board) into community ownership. The site operates as a visitor attraction and social enterprise, offering visitors the chance to learn more about Scottish lighthouses and the flora and fauna of the Ardnamurchan peninsula.


Year Established



Alan Stevenson


Latitude   56°43.619'N
Longitude 006° 13.567'W


Group Flashing (2) every 20 seconds


55 metres


18 nautical miles


Grey granite tower, 35 metres in height. There are 152 steps to the top of the tower.

Public Access


Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Visitor Centre

Visit their website

Ardnamurchan is one of Scotland's Outstanding Lighthouses.

See more NLB Lighthouses