BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

BBC Homepage
»Island Blogging
Western Isles

North Uist
South Uist

Argyll & Clyde Islands
Northern Isles

House Rules

From the BBC

Contact Us

North Rona

I often look on the BBC Weather website at times of high winds to get even more extreme readings from this windswept outpost.

Map courtesy
Rona (or Rònaidh in Gaelic) is a remote Scottish island in the North Atlantic. Rona is often referred to as North Rona in order to distinguish it from South Rona, which lies north of Raasay, off Skye.

The island lies 71 km (44 miles) north north east of Butt of Lewis and 16 km (10 miles) east of Sula Sgeir at Grid reference HW812324. More isolated than St Kilda, it is the remotest island in the British Isles to have ever been permanently inhabited.

Rona is said to have been the residence of Saint Ronan in the eighth century. The island continued to be inhabited for many hundreds of years. However the entire population died in 1680 after rats reached the island, and a ship raided their food stocks. It was resettled, but again depopulated by around 1695 in some sort of boating tragedy, after which it remained home to a shepherd and family until 1844 when it was deserted.

Sir James Matheson, who bought Lewis in 1844, once offered the island to the Government for use as a penal settlement. The offer was refused.

The island still boasts the Celtic ruins of St Ronan's Chapel. It is owned by Scottish Natural Heritage, and managed as a nature reserve, for its important grey seal and seabird colonies.

Image courtesy

(Information: Wikipedia Online)
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 15:13


interesting. the rats - did they cause depopulation? ie eat birds eggs? any detail on this? how many people did it support? Are there sheep on it today and can it be visited - I don't intend to, but it sounds fascinatin. I had no idea it was more remote than St Kilda. (this is a good example of the usefullness of blogs)

scallowawife from shetland

I believe sheep are kept on North Rona, but visiting is very difficult, even more so than on St Kilda. If you Google North Rona, you'll find that trips are organised to go there, but these are primarily geared towards the bird watching fraternity. Will research more on the island.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

Please keep this quiet. If Whitehalls gets wind of this, they'll put a nuclear waste dump there, on the grounds of least protests (and who's going to spot the odd leak or two in the middle of nowhere).

Digital Sands from Berneray

Hmmm I never knew that! Thanks Arnish

Sunny from Arran

imagine what it must have been like during that server january storm last year!!! on that island. btw arnish do u have any blogs from that storm last january I'd love to see

rick from point isle of lewis

Rick, I don't have pictures from the hurricane of January 2005. I didn't have a camera available and I was staying in Lochs at the time. Power went off within 2 hours, so couldn't see a thing.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

ok thanks anyway :)

rick from isle of lewis shows what happened to our office in Balivanich. We think a small glass bottle (we found one inside after the storm) came through the West wall and that then caused the wind to suck in all the windows and rip off the doors. This was our server room (note the PC's on the floor which were too wrecked to be used again).

Robert Ladyman from (File-Away Ltd, ex Benbecula)

Have stayed on North Rona 10? years ago for about 10 days on an amateur radio expedition. Lovely place but difficult to get on and off - no beach! Took lots of amateur VHS video of the place. It's famous for a particular bird species. A wonderful book called North Rona was published about it by a Ronald Stewart (I think). Local library sold off old stock inc. this some time ago. Would love a copy...

Chris Phillipson from Lincoln

Fascinating island. What is the geology which explains its presence?

Colin Mitchell from Bracknell Berkshire

Fascinating. Perhaps someday my wife and I will be able to visit.

Green Manelishi from New England, United States

Was watching "Art & Soul" BBC2 and i saw this island mentioned. Amazing, if a little haunting. These places hold so much mystery, ,many layers. Would love to visit, if only to touch the void, the spirit within. Thank you for posting this blog. I will keep watching. Bobbi -Perth Scotland.

Bobbi from Perth Scotland

On our way back home to Faroe Islands from St Kilda and Isle of Sky with the sailboat Enniway we landed on Rona on the 25th of July 2006. We were lucky, very good weather conditions, warm and bright, we walked the island in ca. 3 hours, fantastic experience. Rona is the nearest neighbour to Faroes, and I didn't even know that it existed until last summer when I visited it.

John from Faroe Islands

Stayed on this amzingly, heartachingly beautiful island in 1987 for two weeks as part of a research study on migrating petrels. Nice to know that others are appreciating its beauty.

Karl Lawson from Llandudno, North Wales

I have just published a short story set on North Rona in an upcoming (summer 2007) anthology called Ruins by Hadley Rille Books. It covers much of the material about the plague of rats and the dead shepherds etc. Used the Ronald Stewart book mostly. I used to fish there too on a trawler back in the day.

Stefbp from Edinburgh

This blog is now closed and we are no longer accepting new posts.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy