The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse is situated on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It was engineered by David Stevenson in 1862. The station’s claim to fame, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is that it is the windiest spot in the UK.
Little is known of the station’s early days, although the first light displayed was probably fixed rather than flashing, but this is not certain. A plaque in the lightroom indicates that the present equipment was installed in 1905, when the characteristics of the light was one flash every twenty seconds. In 1869, paraffin is known to have replaced the vegetable or fish oil hitherto used as the light source, and indeed continued in use until 1976, when it was replaced by electricity.
The Lighthouse was manned by three Keepers who lived at the station with their families. The station was the radio link for the Keepers on the isolated Flannan Islands in the early 1930’s, and continued to function as this until 1971, when the Flannans was demanned, and the light made automatic.
The fog signal was discontinued on 31 March 1995 and the light was automated on 30 March 1998. Today’s optic system is a Bi Form set up, consisting of a pair of 2 Tier high-powered LED marine lanterns flashing in synchronisation, giving reliability and efficiency.
From the mid-1990s to March 2022, the Butt of Lewis was one of the General Lighthouse Authorities transmitting stations for Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS). Today, the site is the radio control station for the North Minch area.
The light is remotely monitored from our headquarters in Edinburgh.