The Mull of Kintyre is the south-westernmost tip of the Kintyre Peninsula (formerly Cantyre) in southwest Scotland. From here, the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland is visible on a clear day, and the historic lighthouse, the second commissioned in Scotland, guides shipping in the North Channel which separated the countries. The area was immortalised in popular culture by the 1977 hit song “Mull of Kintyre” by Kintyre resident Paul McCartney’s band of the time, Wings. The name is an anglicisation of the Gaelic Maol Chinn Tìre, meaning the bare, rounded headland.
The Lighthouse on the Mull was the second lighthouse commissioned in Scotland by the Commissioners of the Northern Lights. It was designed and built by Thomas Smith and completed in 1788. Smith had previously designed the light at Kinnaird Head, but Mull of Kintyre was a far more substantial project, in a far more remote location.
The lighthouse was rebuilt in the 1820s. The light was fixed until 1906, when it was converted to flashing, and its power increased from 8,000 to 281,000 candelas. It was converted to electrical power in 1976, automated in 1996 and is now monitored from Edinburgh.
The former keeper’s cottages are now run as holiday cottages by the National Trust for Scotland.
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