On of the reasons that visitors come to the Isle of Tiree, off the coast of Scotland, apart from the many stunning sandy beaches that outline the island, is the Hynish Shore-Station. We visited in May 2016 and had the site of the restored shore-station of Skerryvore Lighthouse all to ourselves. The buildings at Hynish were started in 1837 and finished in 1844, comprised a dock, workshops and lodgings for those involved in the building of the Skerryvore Lighthouse.
The signal tower was built in 1843 to provide semaphore communication with Skerryvore Lighthouse. Semaphore is a system of sending visual messages using hand-held flags, discs or paddles. Before radio, the signal tower was the only way of communicating between the lighthouse and the shore station. At the same time the Lighthouse Keepers Cottages, on Upper Square, were built to serve the Lighthouse.
The Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum, which occupies one of the old workshops, tells the story of the heroic engineers and keepers who built and maintained the lighthouse on a treacherous low-lying reef 10 miles south-west of Tiree.
The museum is full of information of those who helped to build Skerryvore lighthouse, Scotland’s tallest, on a remote reef 12 miles south-west off the windswept Isle. The architect of this ambitious project was Alan Stevenson, uncle of Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson, who loyally spoke of Skerryvore as “the noblest of all extant deep-sea lights”
The Hynish Heritage Trail (maps available from the museum) leads you around the workshops and walled gardens that once served this small community. The museum is open from May to September.
The Lighthouse Keepers cottages today.