It took three years to complete the building of the lighthouse, which was built of Ross of Mull granite. It stands secure on the surrounding dark coloured gabbro volcanic rock (Granite from Ross of Mull was also used to build Skerryvore and Dubh Artach lighthouses). Egyptian influences can be seen in the entrance to the tower, the chimneys of the cottages and the arches (corbel) at the top of the lighthouse tower beneath the balcony. When the lighthouse was automated the former keepers' cottages and outbuildings were sold and now operate as a Visitor Centre, which is open April to October. The original lens was a Fresnel lens, made from a series of perfectly polished crystal glass lenses set into a brass structure. This lens has since been removed and is on display in the Visitors Centre. How does the light now operate? The new lighting system is an array of sealed-beam electric lamps. When daylight falls and rises between set levels a small light sensor automatically switches the lights on and off. The light is monitored 24 hours a day from a remote centre and the light is visited on a regular basis by a local person carrying out basic maintenance and cleaning. Once a year the Northern Lighthouse Board Technicians visit to carry out maintenance.
Lightkeeping A Principal Lightkeeper and an Assistant, with their families, lived at Ardnamurchan lighthouse until the light became automated in 1988. The families were quite self-sufficient and kept cows and sheep at the station. Lightkeeping was a remote, lonely and hard existence. At night each keeper was required to keep a watch in the lightroom to ensure that the light flashed correctly to character; during daytime keepers were engaged in cleaning, painting if necessary and generally keeping the premises tidy.