The owner of the keeper’s accommodation at Rua Reidh Lighthouse (also spelled Rubh Re, among other ways) has decided to close the three-mile road from Melvaig to the lighthouse to “unauthorised” vehicles – hence this petition.
The lighthouse is a popular destination for visitors to Wester Ross, drawing people staying in Gairloch and places further afield. The road is used by the accommodation owners and their paying guests, along with local crofters, the Northern Lighthouse Board (who maintain the lighthouse itself), the BBC and the Coastguard, among others.
Were vehicular access to be prevented, anyone wishing to see the lighthouse would have to walk or cycle about three hilly miles to get there. This effectively renders the lighthouse – and the surrounding landscape or cliffs and beaches – effectively off-limits to disabled people and anyone who can’t manage a six-mile round trip on foot or two wheels. There used to be a visitors’ centre with a drinks machine and a toilet (along with information boards about the lighthouse, the surrounding area and the wildlife), but these facilities have been closed by the current owner. Therefore anyone needing the toilet would then have to walk back to Melvaig (another three miles) and then drive to Gairloch (about eight miles further).
A petition has been started asking Highland Council to help the community – local people, visitors, and other fans of the lighthouse or of the area generally – maintain vehicular access to the lighthouse, possibly by the Council adopting the road.
(In case the petition widget isn’t working, here’s an old-fashioned link you can click: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/407/699/348/urge-highland-councilopen-to-re-open-access-for-all-to-visit-a-much-loved-local-landmark)
Thanks to Laura Buckley for the great photo of the lighthouse!