The 5 Most Beautiful Lighthouses in Scotland

I must first say that my interest in how lighthouses work and their history is quite limited. However, there is something about the Scottish lighthouses which can be quite magical. The reason is simple.

Lighthouses are located on or not far from the coast (say, on an offshore island). Scotland's 6,000 mile long coast is incredibly varied: there are stunning rock formations, dramatic cliffs, rich wildlife and stories of the past.

There is nothing quite like standing on the coast and looking far into the distance to see the gathering storm, the outline of a distant island or, in some cases, simply imagining that there's nothing between you and Canada but the Atlantic Ocean.

I chose these next Scottish lighthouses because I love their location, I love how they look, how they battle the elements (especially the fierce waves) and how they make you feel when you look at them.

My Favorite Five Scottish Lighthouses

1. Neist Point Lighthouse

Neist Point lighthouse in evening light, Skye

There are not many lighthouses in Scotland which appear as dramatic to the ordinary visitor as the one on Neist Point on the Isle of Skye. You sometimes need rough weather conditions, or a boat to get a proper impression of the lighthouse and its surroundings. With the Neist Point lighthouse, though, all you have to do is stand on what seems to be a horny tail of a vast sea creature poking out into the sea.

Neist Point is the most westerly point of Skye and it has some impressive steep rock faces. You can see the whole of Moonen Bay and the cliffs of Hoe Rape from it. With a bit of luck, you might even see a few sheep wandering about the Point, some of them dangerously close to the cliff edge.

More photos of Neist Point Lighthouse, Skye
Sunset at the Atlantic looking towards South Uist from Neist Point
Moonen Bay and Hoe Rape cliffs in the distance
View of Waterstein peninsula, near Neist Point
Waterstein Head, Skye
Neist Point lighthouse, close-up

2. Lismore Lighthouse

Lismore lighthouse from Mull ferry

Situated on the small island of Eilean Musdile, off the coast of Lismore, this is one of the most scenic lighthouses in Scotland. It's located along the route of the ferry from Oban to Mull which gives varied perspectives of it and the mountains behind it for almost the entire duration of the journey.

One of the views I like best is as you pass Lismore lighthouse, with the mountains - probably Ben Cruachan and the peaks of Glen Etive - rising high behind it. A similarly gorgeous view is from near Duart Castle, on the Isle of Mull, as the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry passes the lighthouse.

More photos of Lismore lighthouse
The lighthouse on a bright day
Lighthouse and Calmac ferry from Duart Castle
Lismore lighthouse in evening light
Lismore lighthouse and ruined buildings seen from Mull ferry
Sunrise over Lismore lighthouse

3. Bass Rock Lighthouse

Bass Rock in evening light

Located in the outer part of the Firth of Forth, on the East coast of Scotland, the Bass Rock has to be one of the most unusual ones in Scotland. The Bass Rock is an extinct volcano lying 3 miles from North Berwick, a lovely town not far from Edinburgh.

Once a prison island, the Bass Rock is now home to 100,000 sea birds which is why the rock appears to be white in bright sunlight (think thousands of kilograms of bird droppings). The thing I love most about it is that the lighthouse is visible from virtually anywhere - from the North Berwick beach and from Tantallon Castle, about 3 miles east of the town, and further.

More photos of Bass Rock
Bass Rock from Tantallon Castle
Close view of Bass Rock lighthouse
Bass Rock from North Berwick beach
Lighthouse and Bass Rock birds
Looking to the Bass Rock from Seacliff beach

4. Ardnamurchan Point

Ardnamurchan lighthouse at sunset

Ardnamurchan Point is mainland Britain's most westerly point and what a wild, lonely and beautiful place it is. I remember the first time I saw a photo of this lighthouse located on the tip of the Ardnamurchan peninsula (a name impossible for visitors to pronounce).

It was being battered by violent Atlantic waves with a single ray of sunlight breaking through the thick black clouds to shine down on it. It was precisely the resistance of this man-made structure in face of massive natural forces that left a lasting impression on me, as well as the beautiful views towards the islands of Rum and Eigg in the distance.

More photos of Ardnamurchan Point lighthouse
Ardnamurchan lighthouse battling the elements
Ardnamurchan in a winter evening
The most westerly point on mainland Britain.
Skewed perspective lighthouse

5. Bell Rock Lighthouse

Bell Rock lighthouse seen from the air

As difficult as it is to get close to the Bell Rock, there's no denying, this lighthouse is a true marvel of the industrial world. Bell Rock lighthouse is located off the East coast of Scotland, approximately 11 miles from Arbroath.

Bell Rock itself is on average 12 feet under water (this varies according to tides) which makes the lighthouse completely sea-washed. In other words, it appears to simply rise from the North Sea. It's difficult to contemplate the sheer force of the waves Bell Rock has to withstand.

More photos of Bell Rock lighthouse
Bell Rock lighthouse at high tide
Britain's oldest rock lighthouse
Bell Rock lighthouse, North Sea
Lighthouse air view
Lighthouse in need of a paint job