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Butt of Lewis Lighthouse


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The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse is one of the most visited attractions on the whole of the Isle of Lewis, with 70,000 visits a year.

The Butt of Lewis is the most northerly point on the Isle of Lewis, and it also marks the start/end of the Hebridean Way cycle route from Barra to the Butt. The headland is marked by a lighthouse, which was built in 1862 by John Carr & Co. of Ardrossan and was designed by David Stevenson, an engineer of the Northern Lighthouse Board, costing £4,900.

Unusually for a Scottish lighthouse, it is constructed from red brick and is unpainted due to common bricks not being able to withstand the exposure of the sea.

The lighthouse is 37m (121ft) high and there are 168 steps to the lightroom, which is no longer accessible to the public. The light was changed a number of times and between 1869 and 1976 the light was powered by paraffin. In 1985 an electric, gearless pedestal was installed which flashed white every 5 seconds. On the 30th of March 1998, the light was automated, making it one of the last lighthouses in the British Isles to be converted. It is now remotely operated from the North Lighthouse Board’s Headquarters in Edinburgh.

The light, since it was automated, uses 2 banks of sealed beam units, giving the character of 1 flash every 5 seconds which is visible for 25 nautical miles.
Before the lighthouse was automated it was manned by 3 keepers who lived at the station with their families.

During the Second World War, on the 16th of November 1940, a German Plane strafed the Butt of Lewis during its return from a patrol in the North Atlantic. Little damage was caused, and as far as can be ascertained, only a firing pass was made, destroying an 8-volt W/T accumulator.

The lighthouse’s supplies were all delivered by sea up until the 1960s, due to the poor road structures. This includes the supplies used to build the lighthouse, some of which were lost when a ship was wrecked near Stoth, just up the coast from the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse is also listed in the Guinness Book of Records as one of the windiest spots in Britain.


Butt of Lewis, United Kingdom

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