Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Beacon of Ornsay

The Beacon of Ornsay lies between the Isle of Skye and the mainland. It was built in 1857 and David and Thomas Stevenson were the engineers for the project. It was one of the first lights to have only one keeper as a result of modern technology. But it was completely automated in 1962 and the keeper was no longer required. Its setting is one of the most beautiful in the Hebrides. The view from Oronay on the right is by Tony Kinghorn, via Wikimedia

In the narrow sounds of the west coast, Thomas Stevenson devised a new "condensing" apparatus by which the light shown in different directions varied in strength according to the distance from which it was required to be seen. This was in fact one of a series of improvements in the dioptric system introduced by Thomas, some of which were shown in the Great Exhibition of 1851. (Source "Scottish Lighthouses")

Ornsay light was automated in 1962 and in 1966 Gavin Maxwell Enterprises Ltd, of "Ring of Bright Water" fame, bought the cottages at Ornsay and those at Kyleakin. The Ornsay cottage had four bedrooms and a 27-foot sitting room which looked up the Sound of Sleat to the north-east.

The light is currently unmonitored and relies on an observer to report any problems to Northern Lighthouse Boards headquarters in Edinburgh.

The light was modernised in 1988 when mains power was installed to replace the earlier gas system.

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