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Butt of Lewis Lighthouse, Isle of Lewis. Via Rockartwolf.

 

The Northern Lighthouse Board manages all the lighthouses of the Western Isles except for the harbor lights of Stornoway, the largest town of the islands.

There are three main lights on the Island of Lewis, Butt of Lewis, Tiumpan Head and Arnish Point with smaller lights at Milaid Point and Rubh Uisenis.

The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse was built by David Stevenson, who was at the time Engineer to the Northern Lighthouse Board, in 1862. Little is known of the Station’s early days, though 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 in turn was replaced by electricity. The current light is fixed, and sits inside a large lens, in effect a giant magnifying glass. The lens revolves around the light, thus giving the familiar flashing effect.

The station became the radio link for the keepers on the isolated Flannan Islands in the early 1930’s, and continued to function as such until 1971, when the Flannans was demanned, and the light made automatic. Today, the Butt of Lewis acts as the monitoring station for the automatic light on the Flannans, North Rona and Sula Sgeir and is the radio control station for the North Minch area.

The Butt of Lewis was manned by three Keepers who lived at the Station with their families. The Station’s claim to fame, according to the “Guinness Book of Records” some years ago is that it was the windiest spot in the United Kingdom.

The fog signal at the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse was discontinued in 31 March 1995.

The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse was automated on 30 March 1998 and is now remotely monitored from the Board’s headquarters in Edinburgh.

 

All this and more wonderfully trainspotter-style info on Hebridean lighthouses can be found here!