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Scottish lighthouse cottages on sale for $324,000

Ian Harvey

A lighthouse complex first designed by the uncle of legendary author of Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson is going on sale for $324,000. The lighthouse itself, towering above the structure is not included in the deal, but the buyer will get the cottage of the lighthouse keeper and another small superintendent’s cottage.

The shortfall is reasonably compensated with the inclusion of a former engineer room, a storehouse, a former stable and a patch of land spanning over 14 hectares.

This 19th-century lighthouse complex has all the right elements of serenity and peace, along with a touch of history due to its association with the author Robert Louis Stevenson’s uncle.

Located 18 miles from John O’Groats, the complex comes with a remarkable backdrop of Caithness coastline; one of the best in northern Scotland. The actual lighthouse which is fully functional remains the property of the Northern Lighthouse Board; however, all the other structures are included in the grab.

Noss Head Lighthouse is located in Highland Source::By Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Noss Head Lighthouse is located in Highland Photo credit

At the outset, the network of cottages and stables does not present the most elegant view. However, the historical value coupled with the most amazing scenery surrounding the lighthouse makes it worth the bargain.

The construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1849 under the supervision of Alan Stevenson. Alan came from a family of builders and engineers, including his father Robert Louis Stevenson and brother Thomas; Robert Stevenson made his name for his books Kidnapped and Treasure Island.

Alan contributed to the building of 13 such structures up and down the country between 1843 and 1853, all of them equally sound and elegant, this particular lighthouse was the only one with a diagonal glass framed lantern room.

A spate of unfortunate shipwrecks in the region prompted the construction of the lighthouse, and the task was assigned to Alan, to build the structure in the early 19th century. However, the lack of adequate access to the area meant a hindrance to construction; a number of poor folks from the surrounding regions were paid 3/6d a day to build a connect road from Wick to Noss Head. The lighthouse was made fully automated recently in 1987, and in 2006 was acquired by the Clan Sinclair Trust.

The trust has now reached a decision to sell the property in order to raise funds for the preservation project of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe. The keeper’s cottage is considered a Category A listed structure and was built in the classic Stevenson style; a style only fully appreciated by the historians or those who are familiar with the other lighthouses built by the Stevensons.

The estate agents Bidwells are overseeing the selling of the cottages; Alastair Campbell from the Bidwell estate agents said that the Noss Head’s unique history coupled with the serene surroundings of the property makes it a desirable place for those seeking a peaceful habitat on the coast. He added that despite being an unusual set of structures, the lighthouse complex certainly presents numerous opportunities for prospective purchasers.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News