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Copinsay Lighthouse, Including Foghorn and Keepers' Houses

A Category B Listed Building in East Mainland, South Ronaldsay and Burray, Orkney Islands

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.8966 / 58°53'47"N

Longitude: -2.6723 / 2°40'20"W

OS Eastings: 361359

OS Northings: 1001220

OS Grid: HY613012

Mapcode National: GBR M5R6.Y97

Mapcode Global: WH7CN.XNN5

Entry Name: Copinsay Lighthouse, Including Foghorn and Keepers' Houses

Listing Date: 8 December 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 352645

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB18574

Building Class: Cultural

Location: St Andrews and Deerness

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: East Mainland, South Ronaldsay and Burray

Parish: St Andrews And Deerness

Traditional County: Orkney

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Description

D A Stevenson, completed 1915. 2-stage, circular-plan lighthouse tower. Painted brick with painted long and short margins to openings. Base course; door to W at 1st stage; window at each stage to E; corbelled walkway with cast-iron railings between 2nd stage and lantern; bracketed walkway with cast-iron railings around lantern; domed roof. Tapered circular-plan foghorn tower directly to E of lighthouse. Painted stone. Evenly disposed ventilation holes around upper rim; entrance to W (rear). Flat-roofed, rectangular-plan keeper's house to W of lighthouse. Painted stone with painted long and short margins to openings; painted long and short quoins. 4-pane timber sash and case windows; decorative brackets to cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIORS: not seen, 1998.

Statement of Interest

The island of Copinsay lies SE of the Orkney Mainland, the lighthouse standing on its easterly shore. It was the last Major Lighthouse to be built on Orkney and rises 79 metres above sea level. At 16 metres high, its light has a range of 21 miles. The contractor was Hugh MacDougal of Oban who went bankrupt during the construction process but was employed as foreman by the Commissioners. The brick and the granite were transported from Oban by 'puffers' which beached at the west side of the island and were carted to the building site by Mr Foubister, occupant of the farm. The materials were then hauled to the top of the cliffs by steam driven winches. Originally, the keepers lived at the lighthouse with their families; a school teacher also lived on the island and had a classroom in the farmhouse. Subsequently the farm has been deserted and the lighthouse designated a rock station which was automated 1991. Copinsay is now an RSPB nature reserve and in 1973 was dedicated to the late James Fisher, author, broadcaster and ornithologist.

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