A SON of engineer Robert Stevenson family may have had a somewhat unorthodox reason for building Britain's tallest lighthouse, according to a an author.

The 156ft tall Skerryvore Lighthouse, 12 miles off the Isle of Tiree, appears to have been an act of one upmanship by Alan Stevenson towards his domineering father, said Paul Lynn, who has written a new book about the beacon.

He said Edinburgh-born Mr Stevenson became fed up living in the shadow of his father whose work includes the Bell Rock lighthouse.

The son had ill health for most of his life and wanted to be a poet and writer, but Mr Lynn, but his father - who never tried to build Skerryvore despite visiting the area with Sir Walter Scott - had other ideas.

Mr Stevenson's design took from 1838 to 1844 to complete. Mr Lynn said: "There was simply no need to build it that high. Alan never really stepped out of his father's shadow. Skerryvore was his chance to make that move."