Wheatears nesting

We love this time of year. The migratory birds are starting to arrive back from their winter in Africa, and one of the  first to return is the wheatears. The males arrive early – we saw our first on March 30th – followed by the females a couple of weeks later. A pair have taken up residence in a hole under a rock on the bank opposite the lighthouse and are busy back and forth with nesting material. We look forward to finding out if they raise a family!

Read More

Spring cleaning

It’s that time of year again. We open for the season in a few short weeks, so we’ve been doing all those little maintenance jobs that needs attention, and we’re giving the whole place a thorough deep clean, ready to welcome our first guests of 2017.

Read More

Sunrise for Rabbie Burns

A beautiful sunrise this morning, and tonight is Burns night so we’ll be celebrating with haggis, neeps & tatties!

Read More

A wild and stormy end to the year

The winter gales have hit with a vengeance over the last few weeks with some named storms such as Storm Barbara. We’re not quite sure why only some storms have names as they all seem to be just as strong here!

Read More

Another season ends!

We can hardly believe that it is already the end of our season – it seems only a few days ago that we were opening up at Easter! Tonight the clocks go back and the dark winter nights are upon us. Over the winter we’ll be relaxing and making plans for next year and reflecting on all the lovely guests from around the world that we have hosted this season, as well as doing all those maintenance jobs that a historic listed building needs!

Read More

Rainbow after the storm

Around this time of year we get equinoctal gales and over the last couple of days the weather has been wild, wet and windy. Just before sunset last night the clouds broke and the wind dropped to give us some fantastic pre-sunset light with a rainbow.

Read More

Orca at sunset

Hebridean Whale Cruises were tracking an orca a couple of miles off the Rua Reidh headland a couple of nights ago. They got a fantastic photo!

Read More

Back online!

In late July we had huge thunderstorms and our transformer was hit by lightning, which was very spectacular if a little scary! SSE were soon out to fix it and kindly lent us a generator to keep us going while they installed a new transformer. Our satellite internet was also hit and we have been without email or web access for nearly a month, so it’s a great relief that we are now back online!

Read More

The turquoise sea

The sea has been an amazing turquoise for the past few days. It’s due to the plankton bloom his time of year and makes the place look amazing! Photo taken at Gruinard Bay by talented local photographer Mark Appleton.

Read More

View from a drone

Some photgrapher guests who stayed recently were trying out their new toy – a drone. Here’s a still from one of their videos – you can see further videos on our facebook page.

Read More

Orchids in flower

This time of year, the moorlands above the lighthouse start to come alive with colour. Among the many species of orchid that grow here is the early Purple, which has a particularly impressive dark pink flower spike. We found a dozen or more of these beautiful and fragile plants on our walk today.

Read More

Baby ravens

Over the last few weeks we have been watching the progress of a raven family as they nested on the cliffs, laid eggs and hatched chicks. In the last couple of days they chicks have lost their baby fluff and are now standing up and investigating the big wide world – we think they are going to fly any time now.

Read More

The Shiant Isles

It’s been a fabulous sunny day today and the Shiant Isles were looking amazing this evening, dark and brooding with the sun behind them. The Shiant Isles are home to one of the world’s largest breeding colonies of puffins, with around 70,000 pairs. They will be arriving already with most making their nests in May, and they stay around until August when the chicks have fledged. Although puffins don’t nest on the mainland here, we often see them flying around the lighthouse during the summer months.

Read More

Sweet treats

Always on the lookout for new treats for our guests, I decided to make some coconut ice. It’s gone down very well!

Read More

Spring cleaning

It’s that time of year again. We open for the season at Easter so the place is getting a spring clean inside and out. We were blessed with a couple of days of good weather, so took the opportunity to get some painting done! Inside, there is more redecoration too – three rooms in the flat have been refurbished. It’s great to feel we are emerginhg from winter, and we’re looking forward to our first guests arriving.

Read More

Wild windy weather

Over the last few days the weather has been cold and crisp with a biting north wind. Although it means we are chilly, the air is clear and the views are fantastic. And we get some very impressive waves as there is nothing to stop them (no land between us and the North Pole!)

Read More

Clootie Dumpling

The weather is wet, windy and miserable today so I decided to cheer us up by baking a clootie dumpling. A traditional Scottish dessert, it’s made with flour, oatmeal, sultanas, currants, suet, sugar and spices with some milk and golden syrup to bind it. Ingredients are mixed well into a dough, then wrapped up in a cloot (cloth), placed in a large pan of boiling water and simmered for a couple of hours before being lifted out and dried in an oven. Real comfort food. The best bit is the skin!

Read More

Working off the festive pounds

While the rest of the country battles with wet and windy weather, we’ve been fortunate over the last couple of weeks to have cold, mostly clear days with little wind. The New Year’s resolution is to lose the inevitable weight put on from Christmas over-indulging! A brisk walk along the cliffs was in order and we were rewarded with fine views of the mighty Suilven covered in snow.

Read More

Our Christmas snowflake

We were very excited to have this little chap as a Christmas visitor! It’s a snow bunting – sometimes colloquilly known as a snowflake. We see them very occasionally in the winter and it’s always a delight!

Read More

Sunset over Skye

Living in such an exposed place with panoramic views, we are very aware of the passage of the sun through the seasons. At midsummer, the sun sets at the tip of the Western Isles. Now, just a few days before the winter solstice, it’s almost halfway down Skye.

Read More

A glorious sunrise

One of the upsides of the shorter days this time of year is that sunrise and sunset are at times we are likely to be awake! This morning the skies over the lighthouse were filled with pink and orange hues.

Read More

An exciting encounter

Our guests staying in the First Officers Quarters self-catering apartment were lucky enough to have a close-up encounter with a weasel! They watched it for around 20 minutes and got some great photos.

Read More

Risso’s dolphins

Yesterday the weather was gorgeous, and we went out to stand at the lighthouse wall to see the sunset, when a small pod of Risso’s dolphins popped up! They have huge sickle shaped fins and were just gently turning over in the calm seas, but every now and then one would leap completely clear of the water. A spectacular sight!

Read More

A spectacular aurora

On Wednesday night we were lucky enough to have clear skies and a most spectacular showing of the Northern Lights. The photo is by talented local photographer Mark Appleton, taken from the beach at Opinan and looking out towards Staffin on Skye. You can see more of Mark’s photos on his website http://markappletonphotography.com/

Read More

September wildlife sightings

September has been a great month, not only because of the lovely weather, but also for wildlife sightings. We have a sightings board in our wildlife hide for guests to write up what they’ve seen, and it’s filling up fast.

Read More

A jolly little fishing boat

We spotted this jolly little fishing boat setting creels just off the shore from the lighthouse this morning. The cool, clear waters around us are home to crabs, langoustines and lobsters which are the major catch for the fishing industry here.

Read More

Northern Lights

There’s a distinctly Autumnal nip in the air now, and one advantage of the darker nights is that we get the chance to see the Aurora Borealis. It’s a rare phenomenon as it needs both solar activity and clear weather, but last night we were lucky to see the aurora glowing faintly in the northern skies.

Read More

Gentle giant

Today we saw our first basking shark of the year! These gentle giants follow the plankton bloom and migrate north as the seas warm up, so we usually see them in August or September. Despite their huge size (up to 14m) they are harmless as they only eat plankton by filter-feeding. They can filter thousands of gallons of water per hour. The view from land is usually of two fins; the dorsal fin and the tail fin. The shark we saw today had a very large dorsal fin so must have been pretty big.

Read More

Sunny summer days

The weather this summer has been mixed, to say the least. We’ve had everything from lovely summer sunshine to cold, wet and windy! But hooray, today is one of the sunny days! Lovely to see the mesembryanthemums outside our back door soaking up the sunshine – they only open when the sun is out!

Read More

Magpie moths

The moorland above the lighthouse is alive with hundreds of magpie moths at the moment. These pretty moths fly by day and they’re everywhere – I don’t remember seeing such a good year!

Read More

A grand mountain corrie

Today we had a rare day off, and we decided to do one of our favourite walks, to the triple buttress at the back of Beinn Eighe. The walk starts from Glen Torridon and snakes its way up the pass between the mighty peaks of Liathath and Beinn Eighe, ending at the spectacular Coire Mhic Fhearchair. The wild mountain scenery is breathtaking. It’s about an hour’s drive from Rua Reidh and well worth the effort.

Read More

Midsummer dolphins

After what seems like weeks of grey weather, the sun came out today just in time to celebrate Midsummer’s Day! A pod of common dolphins also came out to play and we enjoyed watching them in the sunshine from the lighthouse wall.

Read More

A rare visitor

Every now and then we get a rare visitor to the area around the lighthouse. Over the last couple of days there has been an Iceland Gull hanging around; it’s smaller than a herring gull and much whiter. Great to see!

Read More

A study in monochrome

We get many opportunities to photograph beautiful sunsets from the lighthouse in shades of red, orange and gold, but yesterday afternoon well before the sun went down the clouds, sky and sea were stunning in shades of silver and grey.

Read More

Egg raiders

The cliffs and stacks are full of nesting birds at the moment. We counted eighteen pairs of fulmars high up on the stacks and there are many more shags a bit further down. Down nearer sea level there are black guillemots, and the rock doves are nesting in the caves. High up on the cliffs there is a raven’s nest with chicks already. On our daily walk along the cliffs we spotted three casualties – three eggs which have been predated by something. What could have taken them? Ravens, hooded crows, greater black-backed gulls and bonxies (great skuas) will all take eggs. However these three were quite neatly placed on the top of the cliff and it may be more likely that the culprit is a pine marten!

Read More

To the beach

Today has been one of those gorgeously sunny days when the light sparkles off the sea, the views are heart-achingly beautiful, the skylarks are singing, and all is right with the world. We thought: should we tackle all those outside jobs we’ve been meaning to do as soon as we get a good weather day? … or shall we go to the beach? The beach won!

Read More

Let the onslaught begin ….

Good Friday and we are open for business! After the relative peace and quiet of the winter months the place is spring-cleaned, the beds are made up and we’re ready to receive our first guests of the season. And what a season it’s going to be! We are already nearly fully booked for the summer months so we’re going to be busy – and we hear that bookings in Gairloch and Wester Ross generally are high too! Looking forward to our next day off in November … Happy Easter everyone!

Read More

A beautiful whale and calf

We are always looking for unusual items to decorate our accommodation and we fell in love with this art deco stylized bronze of a whale and calf. We love whales and we love art deco, so we couldn’t resist.

Read More

Ten little pieces of art

One of the great things about this beautiful area is that the scenery, light, colours and tranquillity attracts many artists to come here to live and work. When we renovated the building we decided to decorate it with artwork exclusively from local artists and photographers, and we have some wonderful pieces which we continue to enjoy and which our guests often comment upon favourably. Our guest room keys have up to now lived on cheap plastic fobs so we decided to upgrade them to something much nicer! We commissioned a talented local young artist, Laura Ellakirk, to produce something appropriate for us. To our delight she has created ten adorable mini pieces of art, which are made from shells collected on local beaches and set in resin. We think they are gorgeous and can’t wait to start using them!

Read More

Masters of the sky

Our resident pair of white-tailed sea eagles have been frequent visitors around the lighthouse for the last few days. Sea eagles are the UK’s largest birds of prey and with a wingspan of two metres they make a majestic sight soaring above the cliffs, earning their nickname of  the ‘flying barn door’. They are frequently mobbed and harried by gulls, crows and ravens, and their aerobatics as they try to outsmart their tormentors are fascinating. We never tire of watching these amazing creatures.

Read More

Haggis, bashed neeps and chappit tatties

25th January is the birthday of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns. Burns Night takes a standard form the world over; the celebration starts with a speech of welcome followed by the first course of the meal Cock-a-Leekie soup (a delicious soup made with chicken, leeks and pearl barley). Then the star of the show – the haggis – is piped in to the room by a piper playing the Highland bagpipes. For those who are not familiar with this Scottish delicacy, it’s a sheep’s stomach filled with sheep’ offal, oatmeal and spices. Sounds disgusting and tastes absolutely delicious! It is traditionally served with ‘bashed neeps’ (swede) and ‘chappit tatties’ (mashed potato). After the main course, the dessert is  Cranachan, a Scottish dessert with raspberries, cream, oatmeal and whisky. Following the meal there are the traditional speeches. The first is the ‘Immortal Memory’  which is a serious and informative speech covering some aspect of Burns’ life and work. Then the evening starts to lighten up as one of the men in the audience proposes the ‘Toast to the Lassies’ – a very irreverent speech poking fun at the ladies. One of the ladies in the audience then replies with the ‘Toast to the Laddies’ which is usually very risque and pokes even more fun at the men. The evening finishes with singing and dancing, and of course lots of whisky being consumed. We joined Wester Ross Burns Club for their annual celebration at the Myrtle Bank Hotel in Gairloch last night and a great time was had by all; delicious meal and entertaining speeches.

Read More

Hurricane devastation

The wild weather before Christmas was clearly just a taster of what we would get in the New Year! On the night of Thursday January 8th 2015 a hurricane hit North-West Scotland and wind speeds of up to 113mph were recorded, with the resulting chaos and power cuts. At the lighthouse we were lucky enough to only be without power for 24 hours; others were in the dark for much longer. As daylight dawned on Friday, the true force of the storm became apparent. Our friend Ian at Gairloch Marine Wildlife Centre, who runs wildlife-watching boat trips which many of our guests have enjoyed, woke to find his visitor centre smashed to smithereens. A devastating personal blow after years of hard work to build up the business, and a great loss to Gairloch of a fine visitor attraction. Undaunted, Ian plans to rebuild his visitor centre in defiance of the forces of nature. We wish him luck and hope that he’ll be back up and running in time for the visitor season.

Read More

White Christmas

Christmas and Boxing Days treated us to some cold, clear weather with blue skies and starry nights. We get very little snow here at the lighthouse as it’s so close to the sea, but the mountains of Assynt have a good white covering now. The view is from the path that leads from the lighthouse to the old jetty.

Read More

A wild winter storm

One of the questions we get asked most often by our summer guests is “what’s it like here in the winter?”. The answer is that we can get some pretty wild weather, and this week we have seen the first of the winter storms, with 80 mph winds and lashing rain. The gale started from the west and we got some big waves, although we are a little sheltered from the Atlantic rollers by the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides. But on Thursday night the wind swung round to the north and we got the full force of the storm, complete with thunder and lightning. There is nothing between us and the North Pole  to stop the waves and they were spectacular, crashing over the rocks and the jetty where supplies for the lighthouse used to be landed. The noise of the wind and waves was deafening, even inside the lighthouse. Little for it but to hunker down in front of a cosy fire with a dram of whisky and marvel at the force of nature from the safety of this solid old building.

Read More