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Ornsay Lighthouse

Located on the islet of Eilean Sionnach, located to the southeast of Isle Ornsay in the Sound of Sleat, the Ornsay Lighthouse lies a half-mile (1 km) east of the hamlet of Isleornsay. The lighthouse comprises a white tower 19m (62 feet) in height and was built in 1857 by engineer David Stevenson (1815-86). His brother Thomas (1818-87) designed a new lighting apparatus suited to a lighthouse positioned in a relatively narrow channel. The light was automated in 1962 and further modernised in 1988, when mains electricity replaced the previous gas-powered light. The optical system now comprises a 300mm (11¾ inch) acrylic lens focussing a 250-watt tungsten lamp which is flashed electronically and has a range of 15 nautical miles (28 km). There are backup systems in case of lamp or power failure, although the light is not automatically controlled and relies on an observer to report problems.

The former lighthouse keepers' cottages were purchased by author Gavin Maxwell in 1966, which he then modernised to provide holiday accommodation.


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