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England & Wales Scotland Ireland

Holy Island Outer Lighthouse

aka Pillar Rock


Location Guide

Holy Island is an island east of the Isle of Arran, it earned its name as the home of St. Molaise in the 6th century.  Today it is home to another religion as since 1992 the island has been owned by a Buddhist Community and it is open to day visitors. There is a passenger ferry service, during the summer, from Lamlash on the Isle of Arran.

The outer lighthouse, built in 1905 by David and Charles Stevenson, is also known as Pillar Rock. It is one of two lighthouses on Holy Island, that make up a pair, the other being the Holy Island Inner Lighthouse.

It is located on the east shore at Pillar Rock Point, the south eastern point of the island, about 1200 metres northeast of the inner lighthouse. It had a fog horn and the revolving light was lit by paraffin. It was the first lighthouse built with a square tower and has several rooms inside for the men who worked there. This lighthouse was the third, after the Sanda Lighthouse and Pladda Lighthouses, in a series of lights that guide ships into the Firth of Clyde.

The Outer Lighthouse on Pillar Rock Photo by Eileen Henderson

The lighthouse became automated in 1977, and is now serviced every two weeks by local people living on Arran.

Lighthouse information Grid


Holy Island Outer Lighthouse, Buteshire

Current status:


Geographic Position:

55 30" 45'  -5 4" 10'

Grid Reference:


Ceremonial County:



square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with buff trim, lantern painted black.

Map Link:


Aerial photo:


Other photos:

Geograph - Outer

Originally built:


Current lighthouse built:


Height of Tower:

23 metres

Height of light above mean sea level:

38 metres

Character of light:

two white flashes every 20 s.

Character of fog signal:


Range of light:


Owned / run by:

Northern Lighthouse Board

Island owned by the Samye Ling Buddhist Community

Getting there:

via a passenger ferry from Lamlash on the Isle of Arran


via a walking trail



Other Useful Websites:

Samye Ling Buddhist Community

The Holy Isle Project

Other Relevant pages:

For more articles, lists and other information see the Lighthouses Section

Lighthouse Map of Scotland

Featured List of lighthouses - Scotland 

List of minor lighthouses and lights - Scotland  

Holy Island Inner Lighthouse  

Sanda Lighthouse  

Pladda Lighthouses



Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section:  Lighthouses Section Key:
Page Ref: Holy_Island_outer Topic: Lighthouses Last Updated: 06/2010


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