Sgeir Bhuidhe (1904)

Sgeir Bhuidhe (1904) Lighthouse
Sgeir Bhuidhe (1904)
Current Version Built:
Height (ft):
David Stevenson
Appin Community Council

Sgeir Bhuidhe is a small rocky islet in Loch Linnhe, located just north of Port Appin. The Northern Lighthouse Board first established an automatic light on Sgeir Bhuidhe in 1904, coming into operation on August 26th. The tower was one of a handful of automatic types used by the Northern Lighthouse Board, built to the design of David Alan Stevenson. The early 1900s saw hundreds of automatic lights built to his designs spring up all over Scotland's many remote islands and headlands, each only requiring occasional maintenance and refuelling to keep them operational - the fact many lasted up until the start of the 21st century was a testement to how well designed they were. Unlike most, this tower comprised of a lantern room and gallery mounted above a large upright cylindrical acetylene tank which formed the body of the tower, but also contained the fuel source. A number of these tank lighthouses were built, however they were far less common than some of the other types of automatic light, and now only one remains completely intact, on Sgat Mòr at the mouth of Loch Fyne. Several sources suggest these tanks were used to store acetylene, although others suggest parafin fuelled this light.

In 2001 the Northern Lighthouse Board gave notice that it intended to replace the lighthouse with a more reliable tower. The Iron tower had seen better days, and the board were gradually replacing many of these small automatic lighthouses as they aproached the ends of their servicable lives, some of which had fallen into quite a poor state of deterioration, becoming more expensive to maintain and repair.

On 9 February, 2001 the small lighthouse made international headlines after a local reported to the NLB depot in Oban that the lighthouse and it's adjoining utility building had been repainted in a pink with yellow polka-dot colour scheme resembling the popular UK Children's TV character Mr Blobby. The lighthouse was apparently targeted in protest of the proposed replacement of the structure, which had to be repainted and restored to its original white colour scheme, despite it's impending replacement.

By 2002 a new lighthouse had been erected on the small islet in it's place, but thanks to the input of local groups including The Appin Historical Society, Appin Community Council and many local residents the structure was not replaced by a SPLAT (Solar Powered Lattice Aluminium Tower) type lighthouse, but a more traditional lighthouse instead, built to a more traditional design in keeping with the scene.

Today, the lantern of the original 1904 lighthouse can be found in Port Appin, where it is preserved as a local history display, documenting the story of the lighthouse and it's replacement, alongside other local information. The upkeep of the lantern and it's information board now falls to the Appin Community Council.