Scots lighthouse plays host to a new art exhibition

A stunning art exhibition, featuring local artists, opens today in the Stevenson Lighthouse on the Isle of May.

The exhibition is the work of 30 of the many artists who live and work in the village of Pittenweem and is part of the famous Pittenweem Arts Festival held in the village each August.

The Isle of May and Pittenweem have a long shared history, as shown in archaeology, maritime trade and culture. The art work chosen also reflects the natural environment of the May.

The exhibition on the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) national nature reserve is free to enter and will be open daily from 1 August – September.

David Steel, SNH reserve manager said: ‘We are pleased to have teamed up with the Pittenweem Arts festival for this wonderful exhibition in the Stevenson lighthouse. The lighthouse will be open every day until the end of September, so be sure to book your place on a boat and come to visit.’

Jean Duncan, chair of the Pittenweem Arts Festival added: ‘We were surprised and immediately thrilled when Scottish Natural Heritage approached us in January of this year with the proposal to host an exhibition in the May’s lighthouse. We’re really enthused with everything about this project and are grateful to SNH for giving us this opportunity to provide a unique outreach for the festival.’

The Pittenweem Arts Festival runs from August 3 to 11 with displays of visual art in various venues in Pittenweem. For more info, see

Visitors must book a boat to reach the Isle of May. Sailings are on the privately-run May Princess or Osprey of Anstruther from the Anstruther Harbour or through the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick.

Anstruther – for tickets and details, see (May Princess) or (RIB Osprey).

North Berwick – For tickets and details, book online on the Scottish Seabird Centre website at or call 01620 890 202.

Known locally as ‘The May’, this small island sits on the edge of the Firth of Forth. The island’s importance for seabirds has drawn scientists to its shores for many years and the May is home to the oldest continuously running bird observatory in the UK. The May is a regular haunt for grey seals, often seen lounging on the shoreline rocks. This island is a historical gem and it’s been a place of pilgrimage for centuries with an early island monastery.

The May was also the site of Scotland’s very first lighthouse, built in 1636, while the current, castle-like lighthouse was designed by the engineer Robert Stevenson.