Thursday, 27 April 2006

Arnish Lighthouse

The Arnish Lighthouse stands at the entrance to Stornoway Harbour, and looks out over to Stornoway, about 2 miles to the north and Lower Sandwick, directly across the channel. The light was automated in the 1970s or thereabouts, after which the keeper's cottage was converted into a private residence. You can reach it from the entrance gates to the Arnish Fabrication Yard, which lies 5 miles south of Stornoway. The access road starts on the Lochs Road (A859), a few miles west of the town. The road offers very nice views across the harbour, to Point and (on clear days) to the mainland mountains.

The Arnish Light also witnessed the tragedy of the Iolaire's sinking in 1919. Every islander will know he is home as soon as he passes the lighthouse.
Every islander's heart bleeds when the demure building slowly recedes behind the ferry on the way to the mainland. It has witnessed the mass emigrations on ships like the Metagama in 1923. It has seen Mod competitors come and go, latterly in October 2005.

Arnish Light looks out over the Minch, and watches over the fishermen, risking life and limb in pursuit of fish and other seacreatures. In December 2004, one of their number perished on rocks only 100 yards from the Lighthouse.
The Arnish Light winks at the crofters of Lower Sandwick, and is a familiar nocturnal companion for those in Stornoway who live on the waterfront. It looks out over the town, the sea and the island. Although in an isolated position, it is every bit a part of island life as Stornoway itself. ]]>

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