Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
St Andrews And Deerness
HY 61376 1211
361376, 1001211


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 Special 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.



B Wilson, THE LIGHTHOUSES OF ORKNEY (booklet accompanying the Summer Exhibition at the Stromness Museum), (1975), pp15-16; R W Munro, SCOTTISH LIGHTHOUSES (1979), pp 276, 278, 293; K Allardyce and E M Hood, AT SCOTLAND'S EDGE, (1986), pp 136-137.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to COPINSAY LIGHTHOUSE, INCLUDING FOGHORN AND KEEPERS' HOUSES

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 25/03/2019 21:58