THE SMALLEST inland lighthouse in Britain is to be transformed into one of the most unusual holiday cottages in Scotland - just in time for its 200th birthday.
The historic Bona Lighthouse, which sits on the banks of Loch Ness, was originally built to guide boats from the Loch into the Caledonian Canal.
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Now the building designed and built by Caledonian Canal engineer Thomas Telford is part of a £497,000 project to turn the B-listed building into two holiday apartments.
The project was undertaken by the owners, Scottish Canals, with support from the Vivat Trust and Historic Scotland.
Transport Minister Derek MacKay MSP officer reopened the two luxury holiday apartments on Wednesday December 17.
He said: “The Scottish Government welcomes the completion of the Bona Lighthouse refurbishment which brings this historic building back into public use and will generate additional income for Scottish Canals, Scottish Canal’s investment, together with support from Historic Scotland and ensure the long term future of this important heritage asset.”
Once an example of cutting edge technology, Bona guided ships into the Caledonian Canal for more than a century before technological advances rendered it obsolete and it fell into disuse.
Andrew Thin, chairman of Scottish Canals, said: “Bona Lighthouse is a vital part of the rich history of the Caledonian Canal and we’re delighted to mark it’s official reopening just in time for the 200th anniversary of its construction.
“Creating holiday homes in this iconic location will provide a boost to the tourism of the Highlands, offering visitors breathtaking views of Loch Ness and providing a sustainable future for a building steeped in history.”
The stunning oriel bay window, which once held the light that guided ships on to the canal, has been retained and remains the focal point of the cottage and now the ideal spot to while away the hours gazing out at the inky blue waters of Loch Ness in search of Nessie.
Shelagh Thorne, project manager at Historic Scotland, said: “We were very pleased to be able to assist Scottish Canals with the repair and redevelopment of Bona Lighthouse.
“This is an unusual building, designed by Thomas Telford, which was originally the canal lighthouse keeper’s accommodation and the property had lain redundant for some time and was classed as ‘at risk’.”
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