Approval has been given for the conversion of Bona Lighthouse on the Caledonian Canal, which was the smallest lighthouse ever manned in the country.
The decaying 200-year-old B-listed structure will be repaired and refurbished, giving the octagonal building a new lease of life as holiday rental property.
Thought to have been completed in 1815, it stands sentry at Lochend, the point where the Caledonian Canal enters Loch Ness at its north-eastern end. The canal was opened through to Loch Ness in 1818. Designed by Thomas Telford, the internationally celebrated engineer who built the canal, it is thought that Bona may originally have been planned as a toll house.
The restoration will include the main building, a store, stables and a walled garden. It is hoped there will be two properties available for holiday rent, one sleeping two, and the other, six.
The £450,000 project will be mainly funded by Scottish Canals (£150,000) and the Vivat Trust (£150,000), a Hereford-based building preservation trust that rescues neglected properties and transforms them into holiday quarters. Historic Scotland is providing £80,000.
A spokeswoman for Scottish Canals said Bona Lighthouse was an extremely important building to the organisation. "It has real historical significance for the area and we are working with the Vivat Trust to bring it back to life," she said. "We hope to be on site within the next few months."
Seven years ago, Bona was part of an ambitious plan to create a world-class visitor destination to rival the A9's House of Bruar on the shores of Loch Ness, but it was later abandoned.
Scottish Canals and the Vivat Trust are already working to restore Dunolly House at Clachnaharry, on the edge of Inverness where the canal enters the Beauly Firth. It also is to be used for short-term holiday lets.
Meanwhile, another prestigious property on the Caledonian Canal, Telford House in Gairlochy at the south western end of Loch Lochy, has been earmarked for development. Scottish Canals has already invested in a shell preservation scheme to secure the short-term future of the house, but further improvements are being planned.
Scottish Canals is a standalone public body following the transfer the British Waterways Board's functions in England and Wales to the Canal & River Trust last year.