Located in the south west corner of Scotland on the most westerly finger of the Scottish Mainland is Mull of Galloway Lighthouse. The Mull of Galloway is a small peninsula and is the most southerly point in Scotland. With views across to the mountains of Cumbria in England, the Isle of Man and Northern Island this classic Stephenson lighthouse stands as the welcoming entrance to Scotland.
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Key Facts About Mull of Galloway Lighthouse
Location: Mull of Galloway, South West Scotland
Nearest Town: Port Patrick
GPS: 54.63571°N 4.85723°W
Map: OS Explorer 309: Stranraer and the Rhins
Engineer: Robert Stevenson
Admiralty Number: A4610
Character: Flashing white every 20 seconds
Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board
Access: The tower and small visitors centre is open during the summer months
History of Mull of Galloway Lighthouse
Mull of Galloway Lighthouse was started in 1828 with the light being lit on 26th March 1830 and was designed by Robert Stevenson. It is a classic design and is painted white with yellow details. Over the years the lighthouse was modified with gradual improvements to the light. The main tower is surrounded by the engine room and the keepers cottages which were in full use until the lighthouse was automated in 1971. Once automation occured the keepers were needed less until it was fully automated in 1988.
Since full automation the cottages have been bought out by the Mull of Galloway Trust who have converted them into holiday cottages and the engine room is now a small museum about the lighthouse.
As with many lighthouses this one has its own story and on 8th June 1944 during World War II a Beaufighter miscalculated its position in thick fog and crashed into the store room killing two men in the subsequent blast.
The lighthouse continues to stand 26 metres tall with a white flash every 20 seconds which can be seen for over 18 nautical miles. Given its position on the cliff top it is 99 metres above the sea, crashing into the base of the cliffs. In the summer months the 114 steps to the top of the tower can be climbed to see the amazing views across the open sea as well as exploring the small museum and fog horn.
Mull of Galloway Nature Reserve and Scar Rock
Surrounding the lighthouse is a large nature reserve with trails and viewpoints to allow you to see the local seabirds as well as passing basking sharks and dolphins. The seabirds include black guillemot, kittiwakes and peregrine falcons as well as a small puffin colony that makes the cliffs its home between May and July. Offshore Scar Rock can be seen and this rock has a small gannet colony.
Photography at Mull of Galloway Lighthouse
This lighthouse and the surrounding nature reserve has lots of options for those who like landscape photography and wildlife watching and photography. The area around the lighthouse is safe for children as well as being suitable for those who struggle with access in other places.
The lighthouse and the surrounding nature reserve has a circular path that allows you to explore all around the lighthouse. There are lots of different viewpoints from this path which can give a different perspective of the lighthouse tower. There are steep steps down to the foghorn from the path alongside the kitchen garden wall and a path leads out to the Lagvag viewpoint, both of which are good locations for wildlife watching and photography.
Gallie Craigs are the most southerly point in Scotland and the best view of the rocks are from the start of the circular path. Following the cliff west from the cafe balcony a rough path leads to Kennedy’s Cairn that can be seen from the cafe. All along this path there are views of the lighthouse and the rocks below with the beautiful heather and wild flowers for added colour during the summer months.. These cliffs will be in the beautiful golden light at sunrise and sunset during the winter months but in shadow during the summer.
Getting to Mull of Galloway
The lighthouse and the Mull of Galloway lies at the southern-most tip of the Rhinns of Galloway. From Stranraer take the A716 south towards Drunmore and then pick up the B7041 signposted to the Mull of Galloway. The roads get narrower until you reach the large parking area by the cafe and the entrance to the nature reserve.
Places to stay at Mull of Galloway
It is possible to stay in the lighthouse keepers cottages and these can be booked direct with the Mull of Galloway trust on their website.
If a lighthouse isn’t quite what you want then there are a range of AirBnB properties in the Rhins of Galloway which will allow you to explore the whole area without the long road down to the lighthouse.
Places Close to Mull of Galloway
- Port Logan – This small village has a unique stone lighthouse on a sandy beach and nearby botanical gardens
- Portpatrick – A seaside village and harbour with cafes and shops as well as an old lighthouse and a cliff top walk out to the ruins of Dunskey Castle
- Killantringan Lighthouse – Another Stevenson Lighthouse overlooking a small bay with the wreckage of a ship
- Stranraer – The biggest town in the area where the ferry arrives from Northern Ireland. The town has a castle and harbour to explore.
- Crammag Head
- Port Logan
- Corsewall Point
- Loch Ryan