Rinns of Islay, Lighthouse Keepers’ Dwellings

The Rinns of Islay lighthouse keepers’ houses are NOT yet officially on the for sale market.

The Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Buildings, Island of Orsay, By Islay

Tower NOT Included

We were fairly sure that these buildings would be coming up for sale as the Northern Lighthouse Board told us so on 9th December 2015…

Extract of Freedom of Information Reply From The NLB: 9/12/2015

However, the Northern Lighthouse Board appear to have changed there mind. The current NLB chief executive has banned this website from asking Freedom of Information questions, libelling us as “vexatious”. We generally make 3 or 4 FOI requests of the NLB each year.

The NLB CEO forgets he was quite happy to ask us for £8,000 worth free building-site accommodation and welfare facilities for his staff at the Noss Head Lighthouse premises we own. This related to his custodianship of the NLB spending a year installing a static LED light at the tower the NLB still own within our grounds – and painting the tower etc. Over the past 30 years previous NLB CEO’s and especially the brilliant NLB staff have been very helpful in providing copy plans and elevations for example. This has led to ruined lighthouse keepers’ cottages being restored at NO cost to the NLB.

This Website’s Noss Head Lighthouse HQ: Owned By Us NOT The NLB CEO.

Our contractors and visitors + friends blocked in thoughtlessly by NLB vehicles on our private road. It would have been nice if they had asked or at least given us fair warning. For 30 years we have said “yes” to the NLB whenever they have asked for our help.

Our Noss Head Lighthouse Compound. The Tower Footprint Is All The NLB Own

In essence, the current Northern Lighthouse Board CEO refuses to provide a few pounds worth of plan drawings due to cost cutting; but is more than comfortable to take thousands of pounds worth of free premise facilities for a full year from us without even a “thank you” note. Worse, this man and his entity causes massive disruption to our lighthouse site and then tells us to go away for bothering him with £20 worth of FOI paper request.

Our mistake. In November 2017 we gladly said “yes” to the NLB when they asked for help. Little did we know that with the current regime, the NLB is a one-way street. A lot of take and little give.

Noss Head Lighthouse Compound. Home To This Website

The NLB CEO abuses our hospitality and then refuses to help save the Ailsa Craig Lighthouse ruins (long story to be covered in due course).

We now have to be circumspect about what and when we narrate this sad and sorry saga on our website as we are appealing this man’s decision-making process. Not least, but he may cause the ruination of the Ailsa Craig Lighthouse Compound. Once the Information Commissioner has processed our FOI Appeal and possible HM Court proceedings have been settled we will clarify the problem with a dedicated page on this website.

For now, and because of the obtuse actions of the NLB High Command, we are unable to clarify what on earth their plans are for the Rinns of Islay lighthouse buildings that were going to be sold off to private buyers. Sorry.

This is quite a complex situation. We had long and involved relationship with the NLB over many years, so it has been common to exchange a lot of correspondence and work closely together to the combined goal of ensuring lighthouse buildings are kept in good condition. We are keen to set the record straight for our readers, but as the NLB is run by some of the most senior lawyers in the country we also need to be very judicious about what is written. But be sure, there will be a day when the ruinous decision-making process is examined in forensic detail. It is difficult not to get quite angry when faced with a stubbornness that will place important and historic lighthouse buildings at risk of demolition. Needlessly.

Worse, we believe there may now be a repeat of this where NLB staff are placed in harm’s way: click here.

One look at the £21,500 damages awarded by HM Court against the Northern Lighthouse Board and Calypso Marine Ltd., (which the NLB escaped with by the skin of it’s teeth) and readers will understand why we need to be careful.

Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Buildings. Courtesy: Mr Ron Ireland

For Now, we are led to believe – by NLB staff who are reasonable (in fact very decent) – that there has been a change of senior management and the 9th December 2015 policy to sell off Rinns of Islay lighthouse cottages has been countermanded.

Fair enough.

We actually think this is a good change of policy.

But why has the NLB CEO gone all defensive about FOI requests?

Maybe some of the other FOI’s by OTHER people (not us) have made the NLB a bit touchy? For example, how much do the NLB spend on booze! Understandable that the NLB CEO gets a bit prickly. Click Here to study NLB FOI Selection.

But our FOI requests have been in an effort to stop this disastrous result from continuing…

The Ailsa Craig Island Lighthouses. Half of This Is In Clear State of Dereliction

The Northern Lighthouse Board CEO refuses to help us find a way to rescue these lighthouse buildings on Ailsa Craig Island. We have a CV of successful lighthouse renovations bringing back other derelict lighthouse property from the brink of ruin. By calling our efforts to find a way of restoring Ailsa Craig buildings “vexatious” the NLB CEO does himself and his organisation a disservice and we believe gets very close to: Bringing the Northern Lighthouse Board into disrepute.

What would you call an organisation that conducted it’s duties in a way that failed to protect historic lighthouse buildings?

Especially if that organisation’s reason for existence is to preserve life at sea by providing and maintaining lighthouse buildings in good, serviceable condition?


Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Cottages: For Sale? Yes or No

Apologies to our readers for having to take an FOI tangent on this page. But we need to explain why we are UNABLE to give our readers a definitive answer to whether or not Rinns of Islay lighthouse cottages will be for sale.

The NLB CEO has banned us from asking!

Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Buildings Photo By Ian Cowe

The Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Buildings, Island of Orsay, By Islay

Tower NOT Included

Photograph Courtesy of Ian Cowe

Rinns of islay Lighthouse - Islay Blog

The Rinns of Islay Lighthouse Buildings, Island of Orsay, By Islay

Tower NOT Included

Photograph Courtesy of The Islay Blog


To be added onto our LIGHTHOUSE ALERT email list and receive news and information when relevant lighthouse sales and events occur – such as the Rinns Lighthouse keepers’ house sale – please email us and add the words LIGHTHOUSE ALERT in to the subject line

Click here and type LIGHTHOUSE ALERT into the subject line

We will then do the rest to keep you updated.


For clarity, the Rinns of Islay are often spelt Rhinns. The style and wording is often down to personal or cultural preference (click here).