Council take action on blocked lighthouse access in Wester Ross

MICHAEL RUSSELL

Highland Council have begun enforcement proceedings to remove gates erected by the owners of Rua Reidh lighthouse in Wester Ross.

The gates were put up by Roger and Tracy McLachlan last year in an attempt to keep sightseers away from the lighthouse where they live and run a business. Over 2,000 people signed a petition objecting to the restrictions, which were designed initially to stop people driving from Melvaig, some three miles from the lighthouse itself.

However, the council said the signs the McLachlans erected had no legal status and that the road from Melvaig was a public one. Just before Christmas, they told Gairloch Community Council that the owners had been given until Friday of last week to remove the gates to comply with access legislation. On Tuesday of this week the gates had still not been removed.

A spokeswoman for the council confirmed that a roads notice had been issued to remove the gates. However, she could not say what would happen now that the deadline for their removal had passed.

Tracy McLachlan told the Free Press she and husband Roger “do not accept” that there is a public right of passage from Melvaig to the lighthouse.

“We have passed the matter on to our solicitors,” she added. “We have let Highland Council know that we are taking legal action against them. The gates will be staying up and we have asked our solicitors to tell the council that they will be liable for any cost or damage if they try to take them down.”