To the lighthouse

This iconic square lighthouse is one of the first Islay landmarks people see if they arrive by ferry from the mainland into Port Ellen – it’s also the ONLY square lighthouse you’ll see in Scotland.

As well as being a welcome sight for ship captains westering home, it is also a beacon of love, and a symbol of heartbreak. It was commissioned by Walter Frederick Campbell, Laird of Islay, in 1832 in memory of his wife, Lady Ellinor Campbell, who died when she was just 36. Port Ellen was named after her too.

There is an inscription on the lighthouse which reads:

Ye who mid storms and tempests stray in dangers midnight hour. Behold where shines this friendly ray and hail its guardian tower.
Tis but faint emblem of her light my fond and faithful guide. Whose sweet example meekin bright led through this worlds eventful tide my happy course aright.
And still my guiding star she lives in realms of bliss above. Still to my heart blest influence gives and prompts to deeds of love.
Tis she that bids me on the steep kindle this beacons flame. To light the wanderer o`er the deep who safe shall bless her name.
So may sweet virtue lead your way that when life’s voyage is o`er. Secure like her with her you may attain the heavenly shore.”

It’s a short walk to the lighthouse along a good track from Kilnaughton beach (there are a few parking spaces at a small parking area halfway along the track, or just park near the cemetery beside the beach and enjoy the walk along the shoreline.)

A walkway and a little bridge take you right out to the lighthouse – as long as the waves are not coming over the top!

Singing sands

Walk a little further round the headland and you’ll reach The Singing Sands – so named because if the wind is in the right direction it makes the grains of sand ‘sing’ as it plays along the beach.