The Stoer Head Lighthouse stands on a rocky promontory surrounded on two sides by cliffs near the westernmost point of the Stoer Peninsula. Some twelve miles by single track road north of Lochinver this is a remote spot today, and must have been still more so when the lighthouse was built in 1870.
28 miles due west of here is another lighthouse, at the tip of the Eye Peninsula on the Isle of Lewis. The Minch, which separates the Western Isles from the mainland, has a reputation for being one of the most formidable stretches of water anywhere in the world in bad weather, and over the centuries this area became the graveyard of many ships.
Stoer Head Lighthouse was built by David and Thomas Stevenson, members of the Stevenson dynasty who as successive generations of chief engineers of the Northern Lighthouse Board were responsible for building most of Scotland's lighthouses.
The lighthouse itself is just 14m tall and as a result is surprisingly dumpy in appearance, projecting nor far above the adjoining buildings. Its location means that the light is actually 54m above sea level and as a result, dumpy or not, Stoer Head Lighthouse has helped make life a little easier - and in many cases longer - for mariners travelling in these waters for 140 years.
The lighthouse was oil-fuelled for much of its life, but was later converted to operate by electricity. It was automated in 1978 and since then has been run from the headquarters of the Northern Lighthouse Board in George Street, Edinburgh. Previously it was home to a Principal Lightkeeper and an Assistant, plus their families. They necessarily had to be fairly self sufficient, and nearby you can still see the remains of a byre, stables and a pig shed, all intended to help support the keepers and their families.
Today's visitor should leave their car in the parking area near the neck of land below the final short climb to the lighthouse. From the car park it is also possible to walk along the wild and lonely coast north-east towards the Point of Stoer, some two miles away. The keepers' accommodation is today rented out as two holiday apartments for those looking for the ultimate in get-away-from-it-all accommodation. Residents can park rather closer to the lighthouse itself than more casual visitors.