Scottish Canals and Historic Scotland are to secure the future of one of Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal’s most iconic buildings by bringing it back into use as a holiday let.
Bona Lighthouse, designed in 1815 by Caledonian Canal engineer Thomas Telford, was once used to guide ships into the canal and was the smallest manned inland lighthouse in Britain.
Now, Scottish Canals and Historic Scotland will be following in Telford’s footsteps when they transform the Category B listed building into a visitor attraction and holiday homes as part of a £500,000 project to secure the building’s future.
Once an example of cutting edge technology, with a unique oriel bay window from which its light shone, Bona was eventually rendered obsolete by technological advances and fell into disuse.
The project will see Bona reborn as holiday homes,with a two bedroom property created in the octagonal lighthouse and a one bedroom property created at the other end of the building, known as The Stables
Mark Smith, Estates Manager at Scottish Canals, said: “Bona Lighthouse is a vital part of the rich history of Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal. We’re working to safeguard its rich heritage while building for its future, ensuring this important national treasure and local landmark can be enjoyed by the public well past its 200th birthday.
“We hope that creating holiday homes in this iconic location will provide a boost to the tourism of the Highlands, offering visitors some breathtaking views of Loch Ness and providing a sustainable future for a building steeped in history.”
A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: “A beautiful building in a spectacular setting, we were delighted to award a grant of £146,789 towards the restoration of this important landmark, helping to safeguard it for future generations.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown added: “We welcome this Scottish Canals initiative which, with support from Historic Scotland, has the potential to ensure the long term future of this important heritage asset.
“The refurbishment of Bona Lighthouse will enable its continued use and the potential to generate additional income. The Scottish Government is supportive of projects such as this which preserve and maintain the assets of Scottish Canals for the use of future generations.”