Rhubha Rèidh lighthouse is situated at Melvaig, near Gairloch, Wester Ross. Confusingly, there are several ways to spell the name. Correctly, it is as shown in the title above. However the map below omits the first h in Rhubha. The Northern Lighthouse Board uses Rubh Reidh for the lighthouse itself, perhaps for simplicity. The dial featured is marked Rudh Re. The brass plaque for the lighthouse is headed Rhu Rhea. Whichever, the pronunciation ‘roo ray’ is roughly correct. OS grid · NG7396491847
The lighthouse stands at the remote north west tip of a plump peninsular at the end of a narrow track, with Loch Ewe emerging into the sea to the east. It is one of the ‘Stevenson’ lighthouses, designed by David and completed in 1912. It was automated in 1980 and is still operational. If you want a secluded and unusual place to stay, you can book accommodation in the main building. Official tarmac ends halfway along the 6 mile (or so) road, which continues as an access road. This part of the coastline can be a good place for dolphin and whale watching – if you are lucky, a Minke.
The dial is on display in the outstanding GAIRLOCH MUSEUM, winner of the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2020. Small it may be, but packed with interest. The dial is in a glass case displayed with related items. The entire lantern is housed in the main room, viewable from a gallery above as well as at floor level. Its Fresnel lenses are intact. In a parallel life, I have been peripherally involved with a working ‘clockwork lighthouse’ bedded on mercury, with its original Fresnel lenses (Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas) – possibly the last survivor. There is another lighthouse on the island, long abandoned but still with at least some of its Fresnel lenses.
Rubh Reidh Lighthouse lantern . Gairloch Museum . Sundial in display case
GSS Category: Lighthouse Dial
Photos: Keith Salvesen, with thanks to the Gairloch Museum