How? Who?

Rinns of islay Lighthouse - Islay Blog

One of Three Secrets: Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Buildings, Island of Orsay, By Islay, Argyll (c) Islay Info
Don’t tell anyone yet 🙂
Two keepers’ houses in this picture are very likely to come up for sale during 2017.

If in doubt about our veracity, and accuracy on these matters – it is 100% over the past 25 years, just read some of the following detail:-.  

One of the pleasures in sharing and publishing details of lighthouse properties that come up for sale or rent, has undoubtedly been the inbound emails that arrive each day from folk looking to acquire one of these exceptional properties. Good friendships have evolved this way. It is a really nice element for motivation in keeping the website going. In amongst the emails, there are some types of question that appear often. Indeed a couple echo the modern acronym of FAQ. We don’t yet have an FAQ page, but for now we do answer OAQs – occasionally asked questions. So this page is aimed at answering two: How? and Who?

A large element of this…

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes With A Mindset For Sleuthing

Photograph Courtesy of BBC Television

Plus a healthy portion of this…

Hamish Macbeth Police Series Robert Carlyle - Plockton

Robert Carlyle as Police Constable Hamish MacBeth

Photograph Courtesy of BBC Television

Past police training meets current property sleuthing. Whatever else, this combination has a proven track record of working well. One of the results? This lighthouse website.

First – focusing on the How?

More generally how do you find the lighthouse buildings for sale? This is a mainstream question. There are several ways. Some quite obscure. Just one example: If you keep an eye on whether a lighthouse authority is going to gift an historic lighthouse tower lens to a museum, odds are that tower will be decommissioned and come up for sale in due course.

Point Lynas Light Phot Talsarnau Times

Maginificent Lighthouse Lens Example

Photograph Courtesy of the Talsarnau-Times

Apart from the industrial elegance of these optical devices, they are, fortunately, items that tend to be saved if a tower is being decommissioned and sold off. It happens more often than you might imagine. This lateral thought through a lens process was proven correct when it yielded us the tower at Tod Head to list for sale for our readers back in 2012…

Tod Head Lighthouse Tower MAIN

Tod Head Lighthouse Tower: £145,000
That Extremely Rare Gem: An Actual Lighthouse Tower

Photograph Courtesy of Alec MacKellaig

We managed to give readers of our websites 12 months advance notice that this beautiful – and rare – lighthouse tower was likely to come up for sale. For lighthouse buyers this grace of extra time is vital. We know as it has been key in our own purchases at Strathy Point (click here) and Ailsa Craig (click hereyikes it’s that bloke chewing a wasp again – blame Google search engine not us!). As forecast, some 12 months later, Tod Head Lighthouse Tower did, in fact, come up for sale: click here. We hope to update readers on progress at Tod Head lighthouse tower in due course.

Tod Head Lighthouse Photo Montage: Click Here

How we found out about Tod Head coming up for sale was due to the lighthouse tower lens removal and a mix of detective work. Curiosity plus a little investigatory diligence. As for the current progressive search and discovery of new lighthouse property coming up for sale…

You’ve highlighted the Rinns of Islay lighthouse buildings as coming up for sale, but what about the other two lighthouse properties due to be listed? How do I find out about these now, ahead of time?

As well you might ask. We know that Rinns of Islay keepers’ cottages will be coming up for sale in 2016. But there is more. Much more. Two further sets of lighthouse properties on the horizon are interesting. Each is situated in a truly iconic location. One is known the world over. Here’s the rub. I can give you a challenge – to have a go at finding out what juicy lighthouse building for sale morsels are going to come up for sale later in 2017. Get your mind into Sherlock Holmes meets Kirsty Allsop and Phil Spencer mode. Who knows, you might just own one of these amazing properties during 2017.

For this current triumvirate of forthcoming lighthouse sales we owe a debt of gratitude to one very interesting Admiral who emailed. He nudged us. Not that we are indolent in searching and researching; it is just there are some doors you don’t knock on too often, lest the goodwill is worn thin.

Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Buildings Photo By Ian Cowe

Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Keepers’ Houses, Island of Orsay, By Islay, Argyll
These Are Coming Up For Sale In 2016/2017
To identify other unlisted lighthouse buildings coming up for sale?
Photograph Courtesy of Mr Ian Cowe

Other ways to find lighthouse buildings for sale or to rent are reactive – we get a fair few estate agents and/or lighthouse owners approach this website directly. For whatever reason if you search “lighthouses for sale” on the internet this site often comes to the top of the list and folk then get in touch. Next thing you know – there are more lighthouses for sale appearing on this website.

Dunnet Head Lighthouse Compound Stewart Watt

Dunnet Head Lighthouse Compound £225,000
The Estate Agent Approached Us To Feature Their Client’s Property

Photograph Courtesy of Stewart Watt

Dunnet Head is the most northerly part of mainland Britain. Along the road to the East is another lighthouse property that was for sale – with wonderful views of islands, the sea and passing ships to watch. The property also included that rare item, the tower and was complete with the residential accommodation of the former keeper with it too. The estate agent got in touch and it was a delight to feature this fine little lighthouse compound.

Keepers Cottage, Holborn Head Lighthouse, Scrabster, Thurso, Caithness, KW14 7UJ Bill Fernie

Holborn Head Lighthouse at £190,000 
The Estate Agent Approached Us To Feature Their Client’s Property

Photograph Courtesy of Bill Fernie

We often receive over 1,000 visitors to Lighthouses For Sale & Rent each day. On occasion that has reached 10,000 in two hours. This happens when there is a boost in publicity – click here. A three page article helped others, and we still get invites. Apparently one of our crew is the “got to guy” for lighthouses according to a respected BBC Radio 2 presenter. All this is good for you – whether you are buying or selling a lighthouse building.

Our Chief Lighthouse Truffle Hunter Has A Face For Radio

But it brings in immediate viewings for lighthouse owners who are looking to sell.

Also please remember we do have cash buyers now ready and waiting to offer.

This website is really lucky in having a good network of like minded lighthouse aficionados the length and breadth of Britain (and we have some in Republic of Ireland too). Amongst this number are a dedicated team of spotters who catch any lighthouse sale we might miss – then email it in to share with others.

Though it is becoming apparent that there are a finite number of lighthouse buildings for sale at any given moment. Any flavour of this genre is rare. The towers are incredibly scarce. So most of our features here are for former lighthouse keepers’ homes that make it onto the sale market once the keeper has retired. Since the automation process where the control of tower lights was removed from local lighthouse keepers’ responsibility to central headquarters and remote control, there has been a steady fading out of that noble profession…

Last Lighthouse Keepers - North Foreland 1998

The Last Lighthouse Keepers – A Memorable Send Off
North Foreland Lighthouse Automation 1998. The last six lighthouse keepers. With HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (then Master) and Rear Admiral Sir Patrick Rowe (then Deputy Master). Main Article: click here.

Photograph Courtesy of Trinity House

All over the country ceremonies were held to close a great chapter in the pages of these iconic institutions: click here.

Even with the end of an era, hope can spring eternal. As the old adage goes: when one door closes, another opens. For lighthouse buildings the doors that close after lighthouse keepers’ retire then re-open for new inhabitants of these homes. Often the doorways lead to a redolent time filled with adventure, quality of life, inspiration and much more. A new breed of folk who love these places with heart and soul joined a growing land based navy of lighthouse building dwellers. Some for solitude. Some to write, photograph, rest, recharge, contemplate, walk, read, breath freely. Some to share the place with guests who visit the particular lighthouse buildings that can now been rented for holidays.

Far from dying off, these places continue to thrive. Even with modern day GMDSS, INMARSAT and related aids to navigation that make tower lights redundant, many still remain lit for the safety of smaller vessels that aren’t yet SatNaved up to the gunnels. Sorry I digress. How to find lighthouse buildings for sale? Probably the most efficient and effective way – to check this website regularly.


Moving on from the how to the who, I can state categorically, if it wasn’t for this…

Scottish Police College Class Photo

Tulliallan Police College

Photograph Courtesy of Mr Davie Dunn

…and a a great deal of this…

Scottish Police College, Tulliallan Drill

Police Training: Physical Fitness, Drill & Studying A Lot of Law

Photograph Courtesy of Yorki Face

…you wouldn’t be reading Lighthouses For Sale & Rent. This website simply would not exist. Strange you may think, but not too left of field. The police were very thorough training me to do that job. The ancillary benefit is that there is a sort of Sherlock Holmes mixed with Hamish Macbeth now imprinted upon my DNA. Added to which is the love of living in lighthouse buildings – and sharing that potential style of home with others. A potent mix that has been at work evolving this website. From near prehistoric times:-

Russ McLean At Tulliallan Police College 1980s

Russ McLean At Tulliallan Police College
So Long Ago – Almost Sepia Photography

Alright, the photograph is very grainy – almost an antique now. Thankfully not many of these old pictures exist. Especially with the rictus smile. One other image provides a clearer, and more relevant illustration for our lighthouse locating purpose. It is reproduced immediately below. Why relevant? Well 25 years later I am guiding you to two lighthouse keepers’ houses for sale that are barely 25 miles and 47 minutes away from where I and Sheena MacGillivray were standing: click here. We had no idea back then of what would come to pass in the here and now. Yet with the aid of modern science, and Google 3D Streetview, a quarter of a century after the picture was taken, you can virtually turn the camera around and see what I and Sheena were looking at – view wise – all that time ago. More: it is possible to wander around the area from the controls and screen of your own laptop, computer, Ipad etc. Amazing. Also very useful if you are looking for closed properties to buy. Just take a tour of where my line of sight is directed, then turn left. My old police station has since been closed down, and may well be for sale – along with a lovely sea view. Islay is a wonderful place to live, and Port Ellen is one of my favourites. Though that is probably a lot to do with the beautiful ferries that ply from this island port. If you prefer former cop shops to lighthouses, then the 3D Streetview system may be just the ticket for you.

Russ McLean and Sheena MacGillivray on the island of Islay

Russ McLean & Sheena MacGillivray At Port Ellen.

Start Sleuthing Practice: What do you reckon? Is this the spot: click here

More Hamish Macbeth than Taggart. But that job resulted in this website.

During the time from way back then I managed to acquire my first lighthouse home here:-


Davaar Island Lighthouse in Argyll Looking Across To The Isle of Arran

Photograph Courtesy of Ian Cowe

Then onwards with more good fortune to live at:-

Strathy Point Lighthouse Buildings Photo Mr Ian Cowe

Strathy Point Lighthouse Compound

Photograph Courtesy of Ian Cowe


Ailsa Craig Lighthouse Copyright CC T Burner

Ailsa Craig Island Lighthouse Compound

Photograph Courtesy of T. Burner

If a plain old bobby can manage this, then I am sure the vast majority of readers here can do so too. Life is short, so please, give your dreams a go.

At the beginning or my lighthouse journey, well over twenty five years ago – as a sanctuary from the stresses that formed part of a job in the police, there were parallels to be drawn with the Hamish Macbeth television series. The fiction of M.C. Beaton was closer to reality than you might reckon.

Hamish Macbeth BBC Video Box Cover

Actor Robert Carlyle As PC Hamish MacBeth
Life Does In Fact Imitate Art

Photograph Courtesy of BBC Television

Perhaps the pen will get round to putting some of those Old Bill experiences onto paper. A friend and contemporary officer from way back when – Denzil Meyrick has managed this very successfully with his DCI Daley novels. For now, this website takes up most of the time available for keyboarding. Detective thriller books will need to take a back-seat for the time being.

Though I suspect the majority of folk reading this have a detective instinct within themselves. Many people enjoy a good old film or television detective mystery. The challenge to solve problems in your own head is almost addictive. A similar thing applies when compiling regular updates of this website. Also, part of who I am is driven by the real buzz when others join in the search for one of these amazing places to live, and finding themselves with a unique reboot to the meaning of life. It happened again today. An email landed from a lovely person who stumbled upon Lighthouses For Sale. After finding a suitable lighthouse building for sale on this website, she got on a plane, went to look at the property, fell in love with it, made the offer, and now the lawyers are in the final stages of conveying the noble building into her custody. Respect for privacy prevents me from going into too much detail, but there really is great excitement from this end of the website when matters of moment evolve towards such a happy ending.

Back to the question of Who? This has partly been answered with that mortifying photograph above – taken around 1985 at Port Ellen. Likely to be Charlotte Street. Google Streetview seems to have it (click here) – what do you reckon? Do the two locations marry up? Not too important, other than getting your own mind into property sleuthing mode – Google Streetview is another top resource to help with this. By the way if Sheena MacGillivray (from the cop snap photo above) or any of her friends read this, please think about getting in touch as it would be nice to catch up. Email: click here.

It is quite difficult writing words that are semi-autobiographical when you are a private person. Perhaps have a go at it yourself. A strange feeling. Will cop-out a little, pardon the pun – more than enough personal stuff and old photos for now. Possibly a better pen-portrait to answer the who element can be found here…

Click Here For More of The ‘Who’ Parts of This Piece

So that is it for the time being in relation to some parts of the how and who questions. Possibly not quite the answers that were expected. More elaboration later on maybe.

Last but not least, some emails received at this end have also been asking for a “lighthouse lifestyle” section. To combat what we mentioned was the visually monolithic appearance of a fair number of photographs. So if any of our readers have interesting stories they might like to share, please get in touch (click here) . Whether you may be a former lighthouse keepers or from the Royal Navy/Merchant Navy with accounts of life as an old salt; or possibly the passion lays with buying and living in a lighthouse, just email and we shall look at putting the desired lighthouse lifestyle section online.

For further details (when available) of Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages Sale:

Click Here For Rinns of Islay Lighthouse News.

To find out about the other two, as yet unidentified lighthouse for sale:

Click Here To Learn More About Lighthouse Sale Detection!

Don’t forget that in any given year, we usually manage to locate between 12 and 24 lighthouses for sale or rent, so it is always a good idea to join our email alert service, and subscribe for news when new property is listed. Just text the word “LIGHTS” to us via our telephone AND please include your email address…

Text “LIGHTS” & Your Email Address To: 0793 557 2803

…then we shall do the rest and let you know when freshly listed lighthouses for sale are uploaded.