Ferocious seas and windswept headlands give these remote Lighthousekeepers' Cottages their wonderful romantic feel. It's easy to imagine the kind of shipwrecks, treasure troves, rescues and skilful seamanship of Robert Louis Stevenson's tales while on North Ronaldsay, and indeed the Lighthouse adjacent to the cottages was designed by his uncle, Alan Stevenson in 1854.
Inside you'll find it warm and welcoming with an open fire. The cottage is all on one level and designed to be comfortable and accessible for disabled visitors.
- One storey
- Sleeps 4 - 1 double, 1 twin
- Kitchen with dishwasher, microwave and cooker
- Bathroom with bath only
- Shared laundry
- Open fires
- Oil central heating
- Immersion water heating
- Fully accessible toilet and shower
For larger groups Lighthousekeeper's Cottage 2 can also be booked.
About North Ronaldsay's Lighthouses
After a tragic shipwreck in 1740, North Ronaldsay was given one of the first four lighthouses in Scotland. The original Old Beacon was built and first lit in 1789, and shone until 1809 when it was considered redundant. After some years however it was decided that the island's perilous rocks did necessitate their own lighthouse. In 1852 Alan Stevenson recommended builder William Kinghorn of Leith to the Lighthouse Commissioners and the soaring red brick tower you see today was erected, the tallest land-based lighthouse in the British Isles.
About the area
Further north than the southern tip of Norway, North Ronaldsay's remoteness has helped to preserve its traditional way of life. The Norn language survived longer here than on any other Orkney isle and you'll find many of the 60 locals have Orcadian surnames that go back for generations. Common grazing on the seashore is still the custom and the local lambs feed off seaweed, giving their meat a rare flavour highly prized by chefs. The vibrant local community (who made the restoration of the Stevenson lighthouse, cottages and Mill possible) will make guests extremely welcome and should your visit coincide with one of the many concerts, dances and social gatherings that take place there, it is not to be missed. Birdwatching tours, island tours and trips up the lighthouse can also be arranged.
Things to do
- 20 metres away from the cottages, the Lighthousekeeper's Office is a great place to learn about North Ronaldsay's maritime history.
- Dine out at the bird observatory and join in with the bird log that takes place every night. You might spot arctic terns, redthroats, red-backed shrikes and rosefinches.
- Felted and knitted crafts are available from the island's mill, where wool from the local sheep is processed.
The houses are open all year round. Fifteen minute flight three times a day from Kirkwall operated by Loganair or a 3-hour ferry trip again from Kirkwall operated by Orkney Ferries. The ferry runs on a Friday, and therefore both properties are available Friday to Friday, though short breaks in the winter will be flexible on arrival and departure days.
Please note, during the winter months, guests are advised to fly to the island as opposed to sail as sailings can be disrupted.
Food orders can be taken (please give us two weeks notice) and it will be delivered to your fridge for your arrival. This could include local lamb, as well as general groceries.