Butt of Lewis Lighthouse

Some interesting, though possibly useless, facts about our local lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built in 1862 by David Stevenson and his brother, Thomas. David Stevenson was an engineer with the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Thomas Stevenson was the father of the much loved author, Robert Louis Stevenson. 

It stands at almost the same latitude as Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada, and Kristiansand in Norway.

It is officially the windiest spot in the U.K, though tonight it was perfectly calm.

There used to be a foghorn beside it, which sounded until 1995. I have wonderful, comforting childhood memories of its deep, long, low bellow sounding out as I lay snuggled in my bed. 

Sadly, it is heard no more. And I miss it.

The lighthouse was manned when I was growing up. The flashing was caused by a huge lens which revolved around the light. Before it was automated, the lighthouse keeper had to wind up the clockwork motor by hand every half-hour each evening.

Initially, the light was fuelled by fish oil, but between 1869 and 1976 paraffin was used. Since 1976, it has been all electric. 

There are 168 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Sadly, the lighthouse is not open to the public now, so we cannot climb to its top any more. 

Interestingly, the man who was building the spiral stair of steps went on strike for 'an extra penny a day'. Apparently, there were so few experts to do the work that he was given what he'd asked for.


  1. beautiful skies to showcase this lighthouse. :)

  2. What interesting history. Winding it every 1/2 hour during the night? Whew...a lot of work.

  3. Very interesting facts and a beautiful lighthouse! Too bad that it is no longer manned or open to the public.

  4. those are fantastic shots...lighthouses are like barns...fun to look at for some reason.

  5. This was an awesome post. I love RL Stevenson and had no idea of his "lighthouse heritage". Thank you.

  6. I love lighthouses. My mothers family were trawler fishermen, so their lives depended on them.

  7. Beautiful lighthouse! Thank you for sharing those very interesting details, I DO like to learn those sorts of things. :D


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