In 2001, Appin Historical Society were concerned that the Northern Lighthouse Board planned to demolish the Sgeir Bhuidhe light, just off Port Appin, and replace it with a modern rectangular structure. The light had been the subject of many paintings and photographs and was a much-loved Appin structure. Replacement was necessitated on the grounds of reliability, improved safety and the state of the existing structure that was erected at the end of the 19th century.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the AHS, Appin Community Council and many local residents, the NLB agreed to reconsider its plans, and, following discussions, proposed a design more in keeping with the existing structure. They offered the old top (lantern) section of the light to the community on permanent loan for restoration on shore. A sub-committee of the AHS was appointed to determine the feasibility of the restoration and display of the old light.
Subsequent action by unknown protestors resulted in the lighthouse turning pink with yellow spots overnight and sporting a face like the television character, Mr Blobby, much to the surprise and amusements of local residents, but also attracting the attention of the media worldwide and threatening the whole restoration project.
After careful research and soundings, a suitable site was identified outside Port Appin Village Hall and their committee kindly agreed it could be used for the project. Foundations were designed and plans drawn up in order to obtain planning approval. With advice from the NLB and the Northern Lighthouse Museum, a plan was formulated for the restoration and reassembly of the lantern, as well as for mounting displays inside the lantern, which are viewed from a circular external path. Panels visible from the outside of the lighthouse explain its operation and history, as well as providing information of local history, sites to visit, wildlife and local services in the Appin area.
Fundraising events were held to finance the project and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund enabled the project to go ahead and, after several delays, the NLB dismantled the lantern in 2002, allowing completion in November 2002.
Extracted from an article in Newsletter No. 13, by Neil C Gregory.