Rubha Cadail

Rubha Cadail Lighthouse
Rubha Cadail
Current Version Built:
Height (ft):
John Davidson Gardner
Ullapool Harbour Trust

Rubha Cadail Lighthouse, just outside of the small village of Rhue, near Ullapool sits on a peninsular that separates Loch Canaird and Loch Broom. The small port at Ullapool is one of the main gateways to the Western Isles.

The lighthouse shares many similarities with the early automatic lights that sprung up around the scottish isles in the early 1900s, many of which were designed by David Alan Stevenson - the lower half of these lights (as with the lighthouse here at Rubha Cadail) were essentially cabinets, housing the acetylene gas supply that fuelled the light, and any other equipment necessary for the operation of the light. Stevenson was joined by John Davidson Gardner in 1904, making Gardner his chief assistant in 1911. After David Alan Stevenon's death in 1938 he continued working for the Northern Lighthouse Board, and according to his obituary "In this final stage of his career his responsibilities increased: with his partner (Mr J. Oswald) he undertook harbour improvements and repairs, advised port authorities on aids to navigation".

The Lighthouse came into operation in 1952, with Gardner retiring in 1955, it is highly likely this tower owes it's design to him, and his experience designing similar automatic lights alongside Stevenson.

Nowadays the light is electric, and power is generated by a bank of three solar panels mounted on an extension to the gallery of the lighthouse. The original lens from the lighthouse was replaced with a modern plastic lamp when the light was converted to solar power in 2002. Today the light flashes once every 6 seconds. Coloured shades (or lack thereof) in the lantern provide white sectors visible for 9 Nautical Miles as well as red and green sectors, both visible for 6 Nautical Miles depending on the direction the light is viewed from.

The Lighthouse can be viewed from the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries that operate the route between Ullapool and Stornoway, and can also be reached via a footpath from the village of Rhue. The original glass fresnel lens is on display in the ferry terminal in Ullapool, mounted near the staircase.