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England, Scotland, Wales

Britain’s Top 100 Outstanding Lighthouses

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The coastline of the United Kingdom is one of the country’s most prominent features, having contributed greatly to British heritage and culture. The UK’s maritime exploits in past centuries have been significant in regards to trade, transport and war, and lighthouses together with their keepers have played a critical role in ensuring the safety of ships throughout.

There are more than 250 functioning lighthouses dotted around the British Isles, and many more whose lights once shone but have since burnt out. Each one is a little different from the last and has a unique story to tell. This makes them incredibly interesting places to visit or learn about, especially as many can be found in spectacular locations. Here, we’ve picked out 100 of the UK’s most outstanding and famous lighthouses, notable either for their history, their location, their appearance or a combination of all three.

Dungeness Lighthouse, Kent

The first of our featured British lighthouses is Dungeness Lighthouse, an active lighthouse located on the Dungeness Headland in Kent. This headland is largely formed of shingle beach, which protects the low-lying Romney Marsh behind. In total, there have been 5 lighthouses at Dungeness over the years, mainly due to the constant changes in the shingle beach. The gradual accumulation of shingle on the eastern side of the headland kept leaving each lighthouse further and further from the shore, meaning new ones needed to be built.

The first lighthouse at Dungeness was built in 1615, which was replaced just twenty years later by Lamplough’s Tower. These early lighthouses used coal fires for illumination, and there were many complaints from sailors at the time who thought the lights were not good enough to aid navigation.

That all changed in 1792, when engineer Samuel Wyatt constructed a 35 metre tall lighthouse whose light was fuelled by oil. This lighthouse remained active for over 100 years and was the very first lighthouse to be permanently illuminated by an electric light, a decision made by Michael Faraday. The electric light was relatively unsuccessful however, as it proved to be unreliable and dazzled many sailors due to the relative low level of the lighthouse in relation to the sea. The tower was eventually demolished in 1904.

Another lighthouse – the ‘Old’ Dungeness Lighthouse – soon followed. This one still stands and is a popular visitor attraction, now located about 500 metres from the high tide mark.

Dungeness Lighthouse as it is seen today became operational in 1961, making it one of the most modern lighthouses in the UK and the first major lighthouse to be built in Britain in fifty years. Opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, it was the first lighthouse to be fitted with a xenon electric arc lamp as a source of illumination, though this new technology did not prove to be very effective.

The tower of Dungeness Lighthouse stands at 43 metres (141 feet) tall, rising from a white concrete base. It has large black and white bands and is a Grade II* Listed Building, with a light which can be seen 21 nautical miles away. It is also fitted with an electronic foghorn, to help ward off ships from the coast when visibility is poor.

South Foreland Lighthouse, Kent

South Foreland Lighthouse is a decommissioned Victorian lighthouse located in South Foreland – a high chalk headland on the Kent coast which forms part of Dover’s famous white cliffs. The waters off the coast here in the English Channel are home to the infamous Goodwin Sands, a large sand bank which lies hidden beneath the waves for most of the time. As a result, the waters are treacherous for sailing and many vessels have met their demise here over the years.

Local people first took to warning ships by way of hanging lanterns on the cliffs of South Foreland, as early as in 1367. Later, a pair of rudimentary lighthouses were constructed, one on the site where the current South Foreland Lighthouse now stands and one further down the cliff to the east. The two lighthouses were designed to work in tandem. Sailors lined the two lights up and knew to steer safely past the Goodwin Sands when the upper light shone directly above the lower light.

Both lighthouses remain to this day, and it was in 1843 that the current South Foreland Lighthouse (the upper of the two lighthouses) took its current shape.

The project was overseen by architect and engineer James Walker, who designed the lighthouse to be octagonal in shape and 21 metres (69 feet) tall. It is notable for being the first lighthouse to have an electric light, thanks to the works of the famous scientist Michael Faraday. Though this was only installed in the lighthouse on a temporary basis. The lighthouse was also used by Guglielmo Marconi for his pioneering experiments sending radio transmissions.

Around the same time that the current lighthouse was constructed, two keepers’ cottages were also built at its base. These housed the lighthouse keepers and their families, allowing them to stay on site. The lighthouse keepers remained in control of the light at South Foreland throughout the first half of the 20th century, even as modernisation helped bring a degree of automation.

However, in 1969 the lighthouse became fully automated and from that time onwards only required routine maintenance. Twenty years later, the light was closed down, with a view that modern navigational aids in ships had made the lighthouse obsolete. It was then taken over by the National Trust and was opened to the public, with the site making for a spectacular destination with great views out across the English Channel to the French coast.

Harwich High Lighthouse, Essex

Harwich High Lighthouse is one of a pair of decommissioned lighthouses located in the seaside town of Harwich, on the Essex coast. The second of the pair is Harwich Low Lighthouse, with the two designed to be used in tandem to guide ships into the harbour at Harwich.

Three pairs of lighthouses have stood in the region over the years. The first pair were simple wooden structures, set up by Sir Willian Batten in 1664, who at the time was Surveyor of the British Navy. One lighthouse stood on top of the old town gate, while the other was positioned almost 200 metres away on the shore. The wooden lighthouses were pulled down and replaced in 1818 by two more substantial, brick lighthouses. Both of these still stand today, with Harwich High Lighthouse being one of them.

This pair were constructed under the order of John Rennie Senior. Rennie designed the Low Lighthouse himself, while the High Lighthouse was designed by an architect named Daniel Asher Alexander. The lighthouses belonged to General Francis Rebow, who made them into a very profitable enterprise by charging a fee on all cargoes coming into the harbour.

He sold the lease for the lighthouses to Trinity House in 1836, however it quickly became apparent that all was not well. Shingle deposits off the nearby coast had begun to obstruct the line of approach to the harbour that was indicated by the lighthouses, so much so that sailors began to refer to them as ‘the misleading lights of Harwich’.

As a result, the lights were declared redundant and two new, cast-iron lighthouses were built at nearby Dovercourt. Both brick lighthouses were kept however, and The Harwich High Lighthouse now houses a museum, under the custodianship of Harwich Society.

The High Lighthouse itself stands 32.8 metres (90 feet) tall and is a nine-sided tower made of gault grey brick. It is a Grade II* Listed Building, noted for being a fine example of a 19th century lighthouse. It is open daily to the public, for a small fee, and stands just opposite Harwich Train and Bus Station. Various exhibitions take place in the museum during the year, and visitors can climb the 100 steps to the top of the tower, which offers panoramic views out across the town harbour. Its twin, Harwich Lower Lighthouse, can also be visited.

Southwold Lighthouse, Suffolk

Southwold Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated in the seaside town of Southwold, on the Suffolk coastline. It was designed as a coastal waymark for passing ships and as a guide to those wishing to enter into Southwold Harbour.

Southwold Lighthouse, as it is seen today, is the only proper lighthouse to have stood in the town. Construction began in 1887, with Trinity House embarking on the project after the front lights down the coast at Orford Ness were destroyed by severe storms. Construction was supervised by Engineer in Chief at Trinity House, Sir James Douglas, with the lighthouse coming into operation in September of 1890.

At first, the lighthouse was lit by an Argand oil lamp, which was eclipsed twice every 20 seconds and had a range of 17 nautical miles. However, just six days after the light was commissioned, disaster struck. The oil burner burst into flames and was destroyed – an event which was put down to the inexperience of the lighthouse keepers. The light was later replaced by an oil-fired light in 1906 and then a petroleum burner in 1923.

Southwold Lighthouse became electrified in 1938, but the most recent update to its light came as late as 2012. A new main light was installed with the aim of increasing the range of the lighthouse from 17 nautical miles to 24, mainly to compensate for the imminent closure of Orfordness Lighthouse just down the coast.
Southwold Lighthouse might have suffered the same fate as the one at Orfordness (which has since been demolished), as Trinity House briefly considered closing it in 2005. This was due to concerns that modern satellite navigation systems in ships had become more useful than the light. However, a review found that this was not yet the case, and so the lighthouse lived on.

The lighthouse remains operational to this day and is a prominent landmark within the town of Southwold. It stands 31 metres (102 feet) tall and is a cylindrical tower made of brick, which has been finished in all white paint. Its history and design have led to it being granted Grade II Listed status and it is a popular visitor attraction.

Tours of the lighthouse are arranged by Southwold Millennium Foundation, allowing visitors to climb the 113 steps of the lighthouse’s spiral staircase, where they can enjoy seeing the inner workings of a functioning lighthouse and get spectacular views from the top.

Lowestoft Lighthouse, Suffolk

Lowestoft Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located just to the north of the town of Lowestoft, in Suffolk. It overlooks the north sea coast and is situated near Ness Point – the most easterly part of the British mainland. This makes it the most easterly lighthouse in the UK.

During the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the eastern coastline of England was renowned for being a treacherous shipping lane, with the various sandbanks and shoals ending the lives of many ships, as well as crew. In 1609, this led to Trinity House building their first ever lights – two lighthouses on the foreshore near Lowestoft. Both were lit using candles, which when lined up guided sailors through the Stamford Channel, a dangerous passage which has since disappeared.

The original lighthouses were re-built twice, before one was eventually moved up the cliff in 1676 to the site where the current lighthouse now stands. This allowed the light – which was lit using a coal fire brazier – to be seen by ships further out. This ‘high light’ was a substantial lighthouse made of brick and stone.
In 1778, the visibility of the high light was improved as Trinity House began to experiment with reflector lights. The coal fire was therefore replaced by a glass lantern that stood 7 feet high and was lit using oil lamps.

The current lighthouse at Lowestoft was built in 1874, a decision made due to the previous tower being deemed unsuitable to take the weight of a modern electrified light. However, before the lighthouse could receive its modernised equipment, paraffin oil became available as a fuel for lights and was immediately deemed to be more efficient and practical than electrical lighting at the time. Three lighthouse keepers were in residence at Lowestoft Lighthouse around this time, making it a popular posting for those at Trinity House.

It wasn’t until 1938 when the lighthouse finally received electrification, with electric filament lamps being installed and connected to the mains. This paved the way for automation and today only one lighthouse keeper is required. The current light is one of the most powerful navigation lights in the UK, with a range of 23 nautical miles.

The modern lighthouse has a brick tower which is cylindrical in shape and finished in white paint. It stands at 16 metres high (52 feet). The two cottages originally used by the lighthouse keepers remain attached to the tower and the building is an iconic feature of Lowestoft, designated as a Grade II Listed Building. It is open to visitors and tours are conducted by the Lighthouse Attendant.

Cromer Lighthouse, Norfolk

Cromer Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located in the seaside town of Cromer, in Norfolk, on a stretch of coastline known as the Cromer Ridge. The lighthouse at it stands today was built in 1833, however there has been a lighthouse in the area from as early as 1669.

Before this time, passing ships had to rely on makeshift lights for guidance, which were often shone from the top of the parish church in Cromer. Though small, these lights proved to be useful to sailors, though in the late 17th century it was noted that a more substantial light would be beneficial. It was Sir John Clayton who first made the proposal for a lighthouse at Cromer, along with five others around the British coastline.

He obtained a sixty-year patent from King Charles II, with dues for the lighthouse’s services to be paid voluntarily by shipowners. However, the cost of maintenance proved to be high and many shipowners were unwilling to pay, meaning Clayton was left unable to afford the fuel to light the tower. It therefore sat unlit for many years, instead being used as a daymark until it collapsed around the year 1700.

With the owner of the land, Nathaniel Life, keen for a working lighthouse to be in operation, he built a second lighthouse in 1717 – an octagonal tower which was three storeys high and illuminated by way of a coal fire enclosed in a lantern. Several upgrades followed, with Cromer Lighthouse becoming only the second lighthouse in England to display a flashing, revolving light in 1792. It is said that this new style of light was very irritating to seamen of the time.

The lighthouse was ill-fated however, with coastal erosion resulting in a series of landslips which ultimately destroyed it in 1866. This event had been expected for a number of years and plans were already in place for a new lighthouse – the current building. Beginning operation in 1833, this lighthouse was built half a mile from the cliff edge to ensure it did not suffer the same fate as its predecessor (it now stands far closer, however).

It is constructed in an octagonal shape and is a rather stocky building, reaching 18 metres (59 feet) high. The lighthouse is owned and operated by Trinity House and its light has a range of 21 nautical miles. With the light becoming fully automated in 1990, there was no need for lighthouse keepers and their huts are now rented out as holiday accommodation. While the lighthouse is not open to the public, it can be viewed easily on the surrounding coastline.

Old Hunstanton Lighthouse, Norfolk

Old Hunstanton Lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse which stands on the cliffs near the village of Old Hunstanton, on the Norfolk coast. Built in 1840, the lighthouse helped to guide vessels into the sheltered waters of an area known as the Lynn Deeps, part of The Wash.

The famous striped cliffs of Hunstanton saw their first lighthouse constructed in 1665. Before this time, passing vessels had to rely on the lights of St. Edmund’s Chapel for guidance at night. With many lighthouses springing up around this period in time, a consortium of ship-owners sought permission to build one or more near St Edmund’s Point, to give sailors better waypoints when trying to enter The Wash at night.

King Charles II agreed to a warrant being issued, stipulating that a light or lights could be built on the Hunstanton cliffs as long as it was maintained through dues paid by passing ships – a practice which at the time was widespread among lighthouse owners. The warrant was issued to John Knight, who oversaw the construction of a pair of stone towers in 1665, one lit by candle and the other by coal-fired brazier.

The first pair of lighthouses were reportedly of great use to sailors and remained functional for many years, until the front lighthouse was taken out of commission around the mid 18th century. It is unclear what happened to this lighthouse, however a 1794 map by English cartographer John Cary showed it has disappeared. The second lighthouse was also ultimately doomed, being destroyed by a fire in 1776.

The lighthouse was quickly replaced with a new wooden once, which became one of the first major lighthouses in the UK to be fuelled by a substance other than coal, when it was equipped with oil lamps. It was also fitted with parabolic reflectors, which is though to have been a global first at the time. It was eventually purchased by Trinity House in 1836.

The current Old Hunstanton Lighthouse replaced this one just four years later, with engineer James Walker designing the building. It took the shape of a cylindrical brick tower, standing 19 metres (63 feet) high and finished in white paint. A pair of two-storey cottages were attached on either side, originally to house the lighthouse keepers.

Old Hunstanton Lighthouse remained in operation for all of 81 years, until it was deemed surplus to requirements in 1921. It was decommissioned and later had its lantern storey removed, before it was sold at auction in 1922 for £1,300. It was briefly used as an observation point by the Royal Observer Corps but it now functions as a holiday let, providing holiday-makers with panoramic sea views.

Withernsea Lighthouse, Yorkshire

Withernsea Lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse located in the town of Withernsea, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Built in 1894, it was designed to be used as a beacon for passing ships.

Construction of the lighthouse was prompted by the relatively high incidence of shipwrecks along the Withernsea coast, thought to be due to sailors being unable to see the nearby lights at Flamborough or Spurn. Strangely, the lighthouse lies almost 400 metres (about a quarter of a mile) from the coastline, making it one of the few inland lighthouses on the British coast.

This unusual positioning was due to fears that coastal erosion would result in the destruction of a lighthouse that was built closer to the sea. In addition, there was nothing to obstruct the view of the lighthouse at the time, meaning it was still a prominent sight when viewed from the sea. Since then, the town of Withernsea has gradually grown around it and the lighthouse now stands near the town centre.

It was first lit with an eight-wick paraffin lamp housed within a fixed Fresnel lens. The light was originally eclipsed three times every minute, using a clockwork mechanism, however in 1936 it was electrified. The new electric light had a range of 17 miles.

In fact, Withernsea was one of the first lighthouses in northern England to receive electrification, and it was also one of the earliest Trinity House lighthouses to have an emergency lighting system installed, in case the main lamp were to fail. This backup system was later adopted by many of the Trinity House lighthouses.
Withernsea lighthouse was designed to be 39 metres tall (128 feet) with an octagonal shape, with two adjoining keepers’ cottages. Until its decommission in 1976, the lighthouse was operated by a married couple of lighthouse keepers. It ceased operations on 1 July of that year, with the light deemed to be no longer needed.
Today, Withernsea Lighthouse is a Grade II Listed Building and houses the Withernsea Lighthouse Museum. It is a popular tourist destination, featuring historical exhibits based around the RNLI and HM Coastguard’s operations in the region. Visitors can climb the 144 steps to the top of the lighthouse tower, for commanding views of the surrounding town and coastline. On clear days, it is even possible to see the Humber Bridge.

Flamborough Head Lighthouse, Yorkshire

Flamborough Head Lighthouse is an active lighthouse in the East Riding of Yorkshire, located on a headland near the village of Flamborough. It functions as a waypoint for passing ships, as well as marking Flamborough Headland for vessels bound for the nearby ports of Scarborough and Bridlington.

The first lighthouse to appear at Flamborough was an octagonal chalk structure which was completed in 1674. Built by Sir John Clayton, the lighthouse was unfortunately never lit, due to him going bankrupt shortly after its completion. However, the structure remains to this day, making it one of the oldest known lighthouses still in existence in the UK.

The old lighthouse stands slightly inland from the current lighthouse, which was designed by Samuel Wyatt and built in 1806. When it was first lit, Flamborough Head Lighthouse had a distinctive light characteristic of two white flashes and one red flash. This was due to one of the three sides of the parabolic reflectors having red glass – a characteristic which was designed to distinguish the lighthouse from the one at nearby Cromer. This was the first ever use of colour in a lighthouse light and the practice quickly became common around Britain.

In 1872, a new paraffin lamp was installed in the lighthouse. This was another first, as until this time none of Trinity House’s lighthouses had used paraffin as fuel. With a new first-order dioptric optic being installed at the same time, the new light had a nautical range of 21 miles.

The lighthouse was electrified in 1940, with its fog signal station receiving the same modification a few years later. This replaced the previous fog warning system, which had involved the firing of a rocket once every five minutes. The upgrades paved the way for automation and the last lighthouse keepers at Flamborough left in May of 1996.

The lighthouse remains in the hands of Trinity House and is a Grade II Listed Building. Cylindrical in shape, the tower is made of brick and painted solid white, with a height of 26.5 metres (87 feet). It has a first order catadioptric rotating lens, which has a range of 24 nautical miles. It is open to visitors during the spring and summer, and the surrounding headland is a spectacular place for walking.

Scarborough Pier Lighthouse

Scarborough Pier lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on Vincent Pier in the town of Scarborough, in North Yorkshire. The lighthouse was first built in 1806, designed to be used as an aid to navigation for ships wishing to enter the town harbour.

Although the lighthouse first appeared on Vincent Pier in 1806, lights had been shone to guide ships into the harbour since 1804. The lighthouse simplified the task however, and in its earliest form was constructed as a circular brick tower topped with a coal-fired brazier. Operating as a tide-light, the brazier would be lit as the tide was half-way in and extinguished as it was half-way out.

It was soon replaced by six tallow candles, with a lighthouse keeper posted to replace the candles as they extinguished. In the 1840s, it was decided that the lighthouse keeper and the harbour master should be provided accommodation, and several buildings were added to the lighthouse tower. At this time, substantial improvements were also made to the tower itself, with its height being increased by 5.2 metres (17 feet). This increased the light’s visibility from sea.

Scarborough Pier Lighthouse then endured a quiet few decades, but that all changed in 1914, when the lighthouse experienced a dramatic period of time known as “the bombardment”. On 16 December of that year, shortly after the beginning of World War I, two German battle cruisers caught the town of Scarborough completely off guard. They hammered the town with over 500 shells in an early-morning raid, killing 18 residents and causing extensive damage.

The lighthouse became an additional casualty. While it survived the initial bombardment, the final shell to hit the town struck the centre of the lighthouse tower and, although it did not explode, the structural damage proved to be terminal. To prevent its collapse, the top half of the tower was demolished.

Thankfully, enough public funds were raised that the lighthouse was restored in 1931. Retaining its cylindrical shape, it was built to a height of 15 metres (49 feet) and topped with an octagonal lantern. A foghorn was also added. The current light has a range of 9 nautical miles.

While Scarborough Pier Lighthouse may not be the tallest or most impressive lighthouse to look at, it certainly has one of the most dramatic stories and it remains an important part of the town to this day. It is owned by Scarborough Borough Council and the tower’s lodgings are used by the Scarborough Yacht Club, after having been vacated by the harbour master in 1937.

Souter Lighthouse, County Durham

Souter Lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse in the village of Marsden in County Durham. It was built in 1871 to warn passing ships of the treacherous rocks of Whitburn Steel reef.

At the time of its construction, this was desperately needed, as the reef had become notorious for shipwrecks. In fact, as many as 20 ships foundered on the rocks in the space of a year in 1960, making this part of the coastline – just a few miles south of the mouth of the River Tyne – one of the most dangerous stretches of coastline in the country.

Designed by civil engineer Sir James Douglass, the lighthouse was constructed on Lizard Point, just outside Marsden. However, due to fears it would be confused with the already established Lizard Lighthouse in Cornwall, the lighthouse was instead named after Souter Point, which lies about a mile to the south.

It was the first lighthouse in the world to be purpose built to run on electricity. And when it began operations in 1871, it was a technological marvel, noted for being one of the most powerful lights in the world. The main lens consisted of a third-order catadioptric optic, surrounded by a revolving assembly which produced a flash once per minute. The optics were designed by James Chance and built upon several years of experimentation by Trinity House. Electricity was provided by two electric generators, which remained up until 1914, when the pioneering light was replaced with oil lamps and a much larger catadioptric optic was installed. This lens remains in place to this day and has a range of 26 nautical miles.

In 1952, it was again converted to run on electric power but the lighthouse was decommissioned just 40 years later, after 117 years of service. The development of modern navigational aids such as GPS meant the light was no longer needed. After a short spell functioning as a radio navigation beacon, it was eventually closed in 1999.

Today, Souter Lighthouse is owned and managed by the National Trust. It is a Grade II* listed building, formed of a brick tower which stands 23 metres (77 feet) high. It is finished in white paint with one red horizontal band. The building’s foghorn and lighthouse keepers’ cottages remain in place, though the cottages are now used as holiday accommodation.

The foghorn is often sounded to visitors, who can book tours of the tower and living quarters and enjoy impressive views of the surrounding coast. Interestingly, the lighthouse is said to be haunted by one of the former keepers.

St. Mary’s Lighthouse, Northumberland

St. Mary’s Lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse located on the small island of St. Mary’s, a short distance north of Whitley Bay in Northumberland. Constructed in 1898, it was tasked with protecting passing ships from the dangers of the rocks and islets on the surrounding coastline.

Although St. Mary’s Island is now a tidal one, it was once connected to the mainland, before coastal erosion eventually led to it being cut off at high tide. It is thought that the island was once used by monks from Tynemouth Priory in the 7th century, before a chapel was constructed in the 11th century, dedicated to St. Helen. At this time, a light burned within the chapel as a warning to sailors.

There was no lighthouse on St. Mary’s Island for many years, with the closest being the lighthouse at nearby Tynemouth. However, there were several large shipwrecks on or near the island during the latter half of the 19th century and this prompted construction of the current St. Mary’s Lighthouse. Designed by Sir Thomas Matthews, engineer-in-chief to the Trinity House Board, the lighthouse was finished in 1898. A pair of lighthouse keepers’ cottages were completed the following year.

The lighthouse was originally lit with a kerosene lamp, which flashed twice every 20 seconds. It wasn’t until 1977 when the lighthouse was eventually electrified, meaning St. Mary’s Lighthouse was the very last Trinity House lighthouse to be lit using oil. The original first-order Fresnel lens was removed upon the lighthouse’s electrification, and moved to the National Lighthouse Museum in Cornwall. It was replaced by a revolving sealed beam light array.

However, it wasn’t long before Trinity House made the decision to decommission the lighthouse, due to the advancement of modern navigational aids. St. Mary’s Lighthouse ceased operations in 1984. When it was lit, it had a range of 17 nautical miles.

The lighthouse is formed of a brick cylindrical tower, which stands 46 metres (151 feet) high and is finished in white paint. It is a Grade II listed building and is now operated by North Tyneside Borough Council as a visitor attraction. As well as the lighthouse itself, there is a small museum and a visitor centre, housed in the original keepers’ cottages. The island can be reached at low tide via a causeway and visitors can climb the 137 steps to the top of the lighthouse tower, as well as enjoy the wildlife of the surrounding St. Mary’s Nature Reserve.

Longstone Lighthouse, Northumberland

Longstone lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on Longstone Rock – one of the outer Farne Islands, off the Northumberland coast. It was built in 1826 as a navigational aid for ships passing the Farne Islands and is best-known for the infamous sinking of the Forfarshire.

The rocks around the Farne Islands were known for being treacherous to passing ships for many years and numerous attempts to establish a lighthouse on the islands were undertaken during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Unfortunately, on each occasion Trinity House was unable to persuade merchants to pay dues to maintain the proposed lights, and so they never came to fruition.

That was until 1776, when Trinity House gave Captain John Blackett permission to build two lighthouses on the islands, at his own expense. He constructed a pair of coal-fired beacons, which were first lit in 1778 and were replaced on several occasions over the next few decades due to repeated storm damage. Shipwrecks continued to occur however, and 100 lives were lost in the region from 1823 – 1824.

This prompted Trinity House to take action, purchasing the land from the Blackett family and building the current lighthouse on Longstone Rock, one of the furthest outlying islands. Located almost 5 miles off the coast, conditions for the lighthouse keeper and his family were often harsh, with storms bringing waves that would dwarf the living quarters.

William Darling was lighthouse keeper at the time, though his daughter Grace Darling is better known nowadays. In September 1838, Grace spotted the paddlesteamer Forfarshire stricken on nearby rocks one morning. The ship had broken in half overnight, with the loss of 43 lives.

Survivors remained clinging to the debris, but the conditions were bad enough that William thought it too dangerous to attempt a rescue. Grace persuaded him and together they set out in a rowing boat, struggling through a mile of treacherous seas. Two trips were made, and their actions saved the lives of 9 people. Both Grace and William were later awarded the silver medal for bravery by the RNLI, and Grace became quite famous.

The drama for Longstone Lighthouse did not end there, as its fog signal station was later destroyed by bombing in World War II. It was electrified in 1952, automated in 1990 and remains active to this day. It has a 26 metre (85 foot) high stone tower, which is painted with red and white bands and is a Grade II listed building. Its light has a range of 18 nautical miles.

St. Abb’s Head Lighthouse, Berwickshire

St. Abb’s Head Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on St. Abb’s Headland, on the Berwickshire coastline. It marks the southern entrance to the Firth of Forth and was built in 1862 to help provide safe passage for ships.

A signal station was present on St. Abb’s Head before 1820, however the main catalyst in the decision to built a lighthouse was the 1857 sinking of the Martello – a Scottish paddlesteamer. The ship became wrecked on the Carr Rock during fog, with about 40 people onboard. Luckily, all were saved, but plans to design the lighthouse began soon afterwards.

St. Abb’s Head Lighthouse was designed and built by David Stevenson and Thomas Stevenson, two brothers who worked as engineers for the Northern Lighthouse Board (the general lighthouse authority for Scotland). The Stevensons were a talented family, and indeed David was the father of Treasure Island author, Robert Louis Stevenson.

Completed in 1862, the lighthouse was first lit with an oil-burning light. In 1876, a fog signal station was established alongside the lighthouse. Driven by hot air engines, this was the very first siren fog signal in Scotland. As well as its primary function, St. Abb’s Head Lighthouse was also used as the communication control station for the Firth of Forth lighthouses.

It was staffed by three full-time lighthouse keepers for a number of years, who looked after the light while also keeping detailed weather records. Unusually, the keeper’s house is not directly connected to the lighthouse itself, instead sitting 90 metres up the cliff. The buildings are linked with a steep staircase.

The lighthouse and fog signal station received upgrades near the beginning of the 20th century. The oil-fulled light was upgraded to an incandescent one in 1906, while the fog signal station’s air-driven engines were replaced with oil-driven ones in 1911. The fog signal was eventually discontinued in 1987, although the horn remains in place. St. Abb’s Head Lighthouse was automated in 1993 and remains active to this day.

With a masonry tower measuring 9 metres (30 feet) high, it may be one of the shortest lighthouses in the UK but it is certainly a unique structure. It is one of only a handful of lighthouses reached by way of a flight of stairs and its precarious position on the 300 foot high cliffs of St. Abb’s Head makes it an impressive sight, though it is not open to the public. It has a Fresnel lens which produces a flash once every ten seconds, and the light has a range of 18 nautical miles.

Bass Rock Lighthouse, East Lothian

The Bass Rock Lighthouse is an active lighthouse perched on the tiny Bass Rock, in the outer portion of the Firth of Forth. It is a relatively new lighthouse and was built in 1902, to be used to aid the navigation of ships passing the coast.

The Bass Rock is a large crag that rises out of the ocean to a height of 350 feet. It lies about a mile offshore and during the late 19th century the lack of any lights in the region was of great concern to the Northern Lighthouse Board. A decision was made to built a lighthouse on the Bass Rock, in tandem with a second lighthouse on the nearby mainland, near Dunbar (Barns Ness Lighthouse).

Construction on the Bass Rock proved to be a challenge, with the chosen site being a rather awkward one to build on. The engineer was David Stevenson, who oversaw the lighthouse’s successful construction in 1902, at a cost of £8,087. The Bass Rock had previously been home to a 16th century chapel, which became a fortress and prison for many years. Between 1672 and 1688, 40 prisoners are said to have died in the prison’s dungeons.

Rocks from the fortress were used in construction of the lighthouse and it now sits on the fortress’ remains. It was originally lit by way of incandescent gas obtained from vaporised paraffin oil. Three lighthouse keepers were posted to the lighthouse, with each spending a month on the rock, followed by two weeks off. It was a wild and remote place to be, especially during winter. The light was later upgraded to a biform ML300 synchronised electric lamp, and was automated in 1988.

The Bass Rock Lighthouse has a cylindrical, stone tower which is 20 metres (66 feet) high. It is painted white, with the lamp having a black dome. The light has a range of 10 nautical miles and flashes three times every twenty seconds.

As the lighthouse keepers have long since departed, the Bass Rock and indeed the lighthouse itself have effectively been claimed by the world’s largest gannet colony, as well as a number of other seabird species. During breeding season, the birds cover almost every available inch of the rock, with some even building their nests on the lighthouse too.

Inchkeith Lighthouse, Fife

Inchkeith Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on the island of Inchkeith, in the Firth of Forth. The island lies just a few miles from Edinburgh and has been of strategic importance for centuries. The lighthouse was built in 1803 to warn ships of the surrounding rocks.

The island of Inchkeith has a varied and interesting history, having previously been the site of a Medieval castle, a quarantine for disease-stricken individuals and the site of some hefty World War II guns. It was always a danger to ships however, and the wreck of the Aberdeen in 1801 convinced the Northern Lighthouse Board to build a lighthouse.

Inchkeith Lighthouse was designed and built by Thomas Smith and Robert Stevenson. Completed in 1803, it was first lit in 1804. It was fitted with Argand lamps and silvered copper reflectors, which at the time were state-of-the-art.

The lighthouse’s close proximity to the Northern Lighthouse Board’s headquarters in Edinburgh meant it was often one of the first in Scotland to receive new lighting innovations. A new form of reflector oil lamp developed by Smith was first tried here, and Inchkeith was converted into one of the earliest flashing lights in 1816. It was then fitted with the UK’s first dioptric light in 1835, based on the Fresnel system. Upgraded not long after, the light had a range in good visibility of 21 nautical miles.

In 1899, a foghorn was installed at the lighthouse, operating on compressed air. Despite being useful, it is reported that a problem with the foghorn on one occasion resulted in it sounding continuously for over five days, something which caused much discontent to those in earshot. Later, Inchkeith lighthouse was chosen as a station for a series of experiments for a programme of wireless fog signals. The foghorn was eventually decommissioned in 1904.

The lighthouse continued to be operational and indeed it still is today. Though once being looked after by several lighthouse keepers, it was automated in 1986. The current light is formed of an array of sealed beam lamps and has a range of 22 nautical miles. It flashes once every 15 seconds.

The lighthouse tower is cylindrical in shape and stands 14 metres (45 feet) tall. The building is an unusual structure, painted yellow-ochre in colour and designed with an almost castle-like appearance. It is a Grade B listed building and is now owned by Forth Ports, having been passed over by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 2013.

Isle of May Lighthouse, Fife

The Isle of May Lighthouse is an active lighthouse found on the Isle of May, at the mouth of the Firth of Forth. Located about five miles from the Scottish mainland, the lighthouse was built in 1816 to assist in the navigation of passing ships.

The current lighthouse was not the first to be built on the island. A patent was granted to three men by King Charles I, and construction of the first Isle of May lighthouse was completed in either 1635 or 1636. The lighthouse was a rather rudimentary one, consisting of a stone structure topped by a coal fire. Coals were hoisted into the fire by way of a box and pulley, which required three people to operate it all year-round.

At the time, it was one of the finest lighthouses in existence. However, it was not without problems. Almost an entire lighthouse keepers’ family were suffocated by fumes in 1790, when accumulated ash near a window was set smouldering. The light was also very inconsistent depending on the weather conditions, and two ships were wrecked near Dunbar in December 1810 after mistaking a lime kiln on the coast for the lighthouse.

The Northern Lighthouse Board purchased the island four years later, building a much more modern structure in 1816 – the current lighthouse. The old lighthouse remains to this day, though it is much reduced in height, and it is often considered the oldest surviving lighthouse in the UK.

The new lighthouse was designed by Robert Stevenson and was upgraded in 1836 to be fitted with the first British dioptric fixed light. A second lighthouse (a low light) was constructed a few hundred yards away in 1843 to help ships avoid the North Carr rock. This was later made redundant by the North Carr Lightship, though the building still remains.

The main lighthouse saw extensive improvements between 1885 and 1886, with the addition of several keepers’ cottages, a boiler house, an engine house and a coal store. 150 tonnes of coal were needed per year to keep the light going and the high cost of this, together with advancements in oil lights, led to it being replaced with an incandescent mantle in 1924. It was fully automated in 1989.

The Isle of May Lighthouse is a stone structure with a quadrangular tower that stands 24 m (79 feet) high. It is a Category B listed building and is noted for its gothic architecture, with castellated stone that makes it look a bit like a castle. The light flashes twice every fifteen seconds and has a range of 22 nautical miles.

Bell Rock Lighthouse, Angus

The Bell Rock Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on the Bell Rock – a reef lying around 11 miles off the Angus coast. The lighthouse was built in 1810 to warn ships passing the coast or entering the Firth of Tay.

As the rock on which it is built is only uncovered for a few hours at low tide, the Bell Rock Lighthouse is the oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse in the world. Due to the enormous challenges faced in its construction, it is also sometimes considered to be one of the wonders of the industrial world.

Prior to construction, the Bell Rock was a deadly threat to shipping in the region, claiming several ships every year. The catalyst for building the lighthouse was the wreck of the HMS York in 1804, which sank with the loss of all 493 lives onboard. The Northern Lighthouse Board awarded a contract to design and build the lighthouse soon afterwards to John Rennie, appointing Robert Stevenson as chief assistant in the process.

Construction began in 1807 and took three years in total. At first, the workers resided in a ship moored off the rock, however a temporary wooden house on struts was soon built to house them on the rock itself. Due to the extreme location of the site, the work was slow, difficult and dangerous. Numerous injuries were suffered by the workers and three lives were lost, including one young worker who was knocked unconscious and drowned.

It was eventually completed at a cost of £42,000 (a substantial figure at the time), with around 2,500 granite stones being used in the process, all of which were carried by one horse, known as Bassey. Although Stevenson took most of the credit for the construction, Rennie was later recognised as having a significant role too.

The light at the Bell Rock was not exhibited unless by request during the two World Wars, and this led to the unfortunate sinking of the HMS Argyll in 1915, though all onboard were saved. The light was also damaged during a helicopter accident in 1955, when an RAF helicopter which was performing a sea-winching exercise struck the tower and crashed into the sea.

The light was repaired and it remains active to this day, though it has seen several improvements over the years. The lighthouse was automated in 1998, which quite possibly came as a relief to the lighthouse keepers. The lighthouse’s incredibly isolated location led to a very high incidence of resignation among its keepers and it must have been a harrowing place to be during winter storms.

The lighthouse is a granite tower, standing 36 metres (118 feet) high, topped with a hyperradiant Fresnel lens with a range of 18 nautical miles.

Scurdie Ness Lighthouse, Angus

Scurdie Ness Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on a headland alongside the River South Esk estuary, just outside the town of Montrose in Angus. Built in 1870, it was designed to aid the navigation of ships passing the coast or entering Montrose harbour.

The lighthouse gets its name from the Scurdie Ness headland on which it is built. Scurdie is a local word for the volcanic rock in the area, while Ness means headland. For many years, the entrance to the River South Esk estuary was a dangerous place for ships. As many as 11 wrecks have been recorded at the mouth of the estuary and there was substantial loss of life through the 19th century.

In 1867, the seafaring community of Ferryden (a village just outside Montrose) requested that a lighthouse be built on the Scurdie Ness headland to help provide safe passage for ships. The Northern Lighthouse Board agreed and, three years later, the lighthouse was completed. It was designed and built by David and Thomas Stevenson.

Originally, the light characteristic was fixed white, however it was altered to an isophase pattern of 30 seconds of light, followed by 30 seconds of eclipse. During World War II, the light was extinguished and was only illuminated when requested by the Royal Navy. In addition, one lightkeeper at the time underwent the enormous task of painting the entire tower black, so that it would not provide a day mark for German aircraft.

The lighthouse was repainted white after the war had ended and was looked after by lighthouse keepers up until 1987, when it was automated. Nowadays, the light flashes three times every 20 seconds and has an intensity of 182,000 candela, meaning on a clear night it can be seen 23 nautical miles away.

Scurdie Ness Lighthouse remains under the ownership of the Northern Lighthouse Board, although some of the buildings at the site are now privately owned. Its stone tower stands 39 metres (128 feet) high and the building is Category B Listed. As the area is home to many types of seabird, there is a statue of an owl perched on the lighthouse balcony, beneath the lantern, to try and keep them away from the light.

The headland is a popular walking spot and although the lighthouse isn’t open to the public, great views of it can be enjoyed from the surrounding area.

Girdle Ness Lighthouse, Aberdeenshire

The Girdle Ness Lighthouse is an active lighthouse found on the Girdle Ness peninsula, just to the south of Aberdeen’s harbour entrance. Constructed in 1833, it was designed to aid the navigation of ships passing the coast or entering Aberdeen Harbour.

The lighthouse was built at Girdle Ness twenty years after the wreck of a whaling ship called the Oscar in 1813. The wreck was not due to a lack of light, as the ship was blown onto rocks during a storm while anchored, however 42 of the 44 men onboard were lost, prompting calls for a lighthouse to be built.

Girdle Ness Lighthouse was designed by Robert Stevenson and built by James Gibb, a local contractor. Initially, the lighthouse exhibited two distinct lights, one on top of the other. The lower light consisted of 13 lamps and reflectors, positioned at the height of the watch room about a third of the way up the tower. It was visited in 1860 by Astronomer Royal Professor George Airy, who described it as “the best lighthouse that I have seen”.

Paraffin was used experimentally to fuel the light for a short time in the late 19th century, but in 1890 the main light was replaced by a revolving light and the secondary light was discontinued. Shortly afterwards, a foghorn was established next to the lighthouse. The foghorn was operated when visibility dropped below 5 nautical miles. It had a very distinctive sound and was nicknamed the Torry Coo, in reference to it sounding like a cow (coo being the Scottish slang term for cow).

In November 1944, during World War II, Girdle Ness Lighthouse sustained minor damage when a mine drifted into the bay below and exploded. A few windows were smashed and doors were damaged, but no one was injured. The fog signal was eventually discontinued in 1987, while the lighthouse was automated four years later.

The lighthouse tower is cylindrical in shape and painted white, topped with a black lantern. It stands 37 metres (121 feet) high and is a Category A listed building, with lighthouse keepers’ accommodation and other buildings attached. Some of the attached buildings have been sold by the Northern Lighthouse Board and the original keepers’ accommodation is now used as holiday accommodation. The light at Girdle Ness has a range of 22 nautical miles and flashes twice every 20 seconds.

Buchan Ness Lighthouse, Aberdeenshire

Buchan Ness Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on the Buchan Ness promontory, just outside the village of Boddam in Aberdeenshire. It was built in 1824 to aid the navigation of ships passing the coast or entering Boddam Harbour.

The lighthouse is just a few miles south of Peterhead, which has long been a key fishing port in the UK. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the coast around the Buchan Ness promontory saw a high volume of traffic related to trading and whaling operations. A number of vessels ran aground over the years, and the Northern Lighthouse Board was petitioned to build a lighthouse in the area in 1819.

As Engineer to the Board at the time, Robert Stevenson surveyed the area and decided on Buchan Ness as the best site for the lighthouse. The promontory is a tidal island, and at the time it was only connected to the mainland at low tide. Thus, a bridge was built to help in the lighthouse’s construction. Despite being completed in 1824, it wasn’t until 1827 that the light was first exhibited.

The original ‘twinkling’ light was produced from an array of Argand burners with silvered copper reflectors, which revolved more quickly than any previous light developed by Stevenson. At the time, it was noted for its ingenuity, though it has been upgraded several times since then. It was changed to a dioptric lens in 1910, before being much enlarged in 1978.

Buchan Ness Lighthouse, much like Girdle Ness Lighthouse down the coast, suffered minor damage during World War II when a mine drifted ashore and exploded 50 yards south of the station. Parts of the ceiling collapsed in one of the lighthouse keeper’s cottages and a few of the lighthouse’s lantern panes were cracked, but no one was injured.

At the same time as the light being enlarged in 1978, it was also electrified, ten years before it was eventually automated. There was an active fog signal station alongside the lighthouse for many years, but this was discontinued in 2000.

The lighthouse remains under ownership of the Northern Lighthouse Board, though some of the associated buildings have been sold off in recent years. The building itself is Category A listed and the tower is made of granite, standing 36 metres (118 feet) tall. It is painted white with a red band and red balcony, to ensure it can be used as a daymark. The light has a range of 18 nautical miles and flashes once every five seconds.

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, Aberdeenshire

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on a headland just outside the town of Fraserburgh, on the north-east coast of Scotland. There are actually a pair of lighthouses here – a historic one dating from 1787 (now deactivated) and the current, active one which was built in 1991.

Situated at the turning point where the coastline of eastern Scotland curves westwards towards the Moray Firth, Kinnaird Head has always been an important landmark for shipping, even prior to it having a lighthouse. The original light was established in 1787 and was built by a Mr Thomas Smith – father-in-law of the renowned lighthouse engineer Robert Stevenson. It became the very first lighthouse to be constructed by the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Smith built the lighthouse upon the tower of an old castle, with the lantern sitting 120 feet above sea level. Fuelled by whale oil, it was the most powerful light of its time in Scotland, containing 17 reflectors arranged in a three-tied formation. In clear weather, it was reportedly visible for between 10 to 12 nautical miles. A new lantern was installed in 1824 and additional buildings for lighthouse keepers were constructed, before the light was later converted to incandescent operation.

A foghorn was established at the lighthouse in 1903 and the first ever radio beacon in Scotland was installed at the lighthouse in 1929 – another feature which makes it a historically significant building.

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was at great risk during World War II due to Fraserburgh being a prime target for the Nazis, as a result of its ammunitions and aircraft engine works. Luckily, the lighthouse came out almost unscathed despite extensive bombing of the town, only being damaged slightly by one near-miss explosion in 1941.

The fog signal was discontinued in 1987 and the original lighthouse was superceded by a new, automatic light four years later. The old lighthouse remains to this day, and while the light is no longer in use, the building is now home to The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and it has been well-preserved.

The old lighthouse is a stone building with a cylindrical tower rising from a small castle. It stands 22 metres (72 feet) tall and is a Grade A listed building. Its modern replacement is a smaller structure, formed of a cylindrical tower that is 10 metres (33 feet) high. The light has a range of 22 nautical miles and it flashes white every five seconds.

Covesea Skerries Lighthouse, Moray

Covesea Skerries Lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse located on a headland near the town of Lossiemouth, on the south coast of the Moray Firth. Constructed in 1846, it was designed to aid the navigation of ships passing along the coast.

The coastline at this section of the Moray Firth is littered with partially submerged rocky outcrops, making it very hazardous for shipping. In November 1826, a total of 16 vessels were sunk in the region during one storm, leading to calls for a lighthouse to be built.

The Northern Lighthouse Board was initially reluctant to give in to the requests, believing that a lighthouse at Covesea was unnecessary. However, numerous letters and petitions were sent to them in the following years and in the end they gave in to public opinion. The coastline was surveyed to identify the best position for a lighthouse and it was decided that the headland at Covesea, just west of Lossiemouth, was suitable.

The lighthouse was completed in 1846 at the cost of £11,514, and an associated iron beacon was established on the Halliman’s Skerries – a group of partially submerged rocks just offshore. Designed by Alan Stevenson, the lighthouse was built by James Smith, a contractor from Aberdeen.

The original Fresnel lens was rotated using a clockwork mechanism powered by gradually descending weights. These were held within a hollow central void within the tower and the lighthouse keeper had to winch the weights up each day to ensure the clockwork mechanism kept running.

Covesea Skerries Lighthouse was automated in 1984 and the clockwork lens was removed. It now lives in the Lossiemouth Fishery and Community Museum. The old lens was replaced by an array of sealed beam bulbs, however the lighthouse was only active for a few more decades, as the light was extinguished for good in 2012, after 166 years of service. It was decided that a navigational lit buoy located at the northern end of the Halliman’s Skerries was sufficient to help ships navigate the area, rendering the lighthouse surplus to requirements.

The Covesea Skerries Lighthouse has a cylindrical masonry tower which is 26 metres (118 feet) high. It is painted white and is a Grade A listed building, now owned by the Covesea Lighthouse Community Company after it was sold by the Northern Lighthouse Board. When it was lit, the light had a range of 24 nautical miles.

Chanonry Lighthouse, Ross and Cromarty

Chanonry Lighthouse is an active lighthouse on Chanonry Point, a spit of land that extends into the Moray Firth, just as it narrows on approach to Inverness. The lighthouse was built in 1846 and designed to guide ships through the narrow parts of the firth north of Inverness Harbour and the Caledonian Canal.

The narrow inlet between the point at Chanonry and Fort George on the other side experiences very strong currents, making it especially hazardous to shipping. With this in mind, the building of a lighthouse at Chanonry was first proposed by Alan Stevenson, engineer for the Northern Lighthouse Board. He made proposals in 1834 and 1837, although it was not until 1843 that the Commissioners of the board approved the construction.

Overseen by Stevenson, Chanonry Lighthouse’s construction, together with the keepers’ dwellings, cost £3,570 and was completed in 1846. It was originally a ‘one-man station’ and the lighthouse keeper was tasked, not only with looking after the light, but also with being the ‘Observer’ of nearby Munlochy Shoal, Middle Bank East, Craigmee, Riff Bank East and Navitty Bank Lighted buoys.

The lighthouse tower featured a revolving light within a bronze lantern, which was designed by Stevenson in a way to minimise the obscuration of the light beam. The building was occupied by lighthouse keepers up until 1984, when it was automated. It has since been controlled from the Northern Lighthouse Board’s offices and has remained active, though some of the now redundant buildings in the complex have been sold.

Chanonry Lighthouse’s appearance is typical of lighthouses in the region, featuring a cylindrical masonry tower with a domed top. It is painted white and is a Category A listed building. The light, which sits atop the 13 m (43 foot) tower, runs on mains power and has a range of 15 nautical miles.

While the lighthouse itself is not open to the public, access to the surrounding land is permitted and is a popular walking destination. The point at Chanonry is perhaps most notable for being one of best places in the UK to see bottlenose dolphins, which visit the region to feed and play in the strong currents. The top of the lighthouse is an excellent viewpoint to see the dolphins and the lighthouse keepers over the years no doubt enjoyed this aspect of the job in particular.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse, Ross and Cromarty

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on the tip of the Tarbat Ness peninsula, near the village of Portmahomack on the north coast of Scotland. It was built in 1830, designed to guide passing ships around the peninsula and mark the eastern entrance to the Dornoch Firth.

The lighthouse was built in tandem with the Covesea Skerries Lighthouse, located on the other side of the Moray Firth, after 16 vessels were wrecked in a storm in 1826. The light at Tarbat Ness was constructed several years earlier than the one at Covesea Skerries, due to the former being regarded as more important by Caledonian Canal Commissioners.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse was engineered by Robert Stevenson and built by the contractor James Smith of Inverness, coming to a total cost of £9,361. It is thought that the lighthouse was built on the foundations of a Roman fort. The light, which was first exhibited in January of 1830, was initially an Argand Paraffin Lamp with four burners.

Despite the lighthouse being present, ships occasionally still ran aground on the rocks at Tarbat Ness. In 1907, the HMS Fawn went aground on the rocks very near the lighthouse. The vessel was a Royal Navy destroyer built in 1896. Thankfully, there were no casualties in this case and the ship was later re-floated at high tide.

Incidentally, 1907 was also the year when the lighthouse’s light was converted to an incandescent pressurised lamp. The lightroom machine in use at this time was installed in 1892 and remained in use up until the lighthouse was automated in 1985. The current light runs on mains power.

As the lighthouse is positioned on a site that was once highly geologically active, it has experienced several small earthquakes over the years, though none that have been strong enough to cause any structural damage. The strongest reported earthquake caused the shades and lamp glasses to rattle.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse remains active and is operated by the Northern Lighthouse Board. It has a cylindrical, masonry tower which stands 41 metres (135 feet) high, making it the third tallest lighthouse in Scotland. The building is Category A listed and the lighthouse tower has a distinctive appearance, as it is painted white with two red bands. The current light has a range of 24 nautical miles.

The lighthouse is generally not open to the public but the surrounding peninsula is accessible and many visitors come to enjoy the spectacular views of the landscape and the lighthouse itself.

Noss Head Lighthouse, Caithness

Noss Head Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated at the end of Noss Head – a peninsula on the north-west coast of Caithness, near the town of Wick. The lighthouse was established in 1849 in order to aid the navigation of ships past the peninsula, which lies at the southern end of Sinclairs Bay.

The Northern Lighthouse Board decided that a light at Noss Head was required and engineer Alan Stevenson was tasked with overseeing the lighthouse’s construction. It is perhaps most notable for being the first lighthouse in Scotland to be built with a diagonally-paned lantern room, a characteristic which made the glass stronger and caused less disruption to the beam. This design was used for all future lighthouses built by the Board.

An access road from Wick to Noss Head was needed during construction and this was built by unemployed locals, who at the time were suffering greatly due to the Highland potato famine. Construction was completed in 1849 and the light was first exhibited in June of that year.

The original lens was a Fresnel lens, measuring 6 feet in diameter. It was in place up until the lighthouse was automated, after which it was removed together with the mechanical drive train and displayed in Wick Heritage Centre. It remains there to this day and is one of only a few lens and drive train systems from the time that are still in working order.

The light was converted to automatic operation in 1987 and the original lens was replaced with a newer, second order Fresnel lens. At the same time, the Northern Lighthouse Board decided to sell all the former keepers’ cottages and other buildings associated with the lighthouse, as well as the surrounding land. The tower remains under the Board’s ownership, however.

The most recent upgrade to Noss Head Lighthouse occurred in 2017, when the main rotational light was extinguished and replaced with a static LED beam. The tower is made of masonry and is cylindrical in shape, reaching 18 metres (59 feet) high. It is topped by a balcony and lantern. The building is Category A listed and is painted white with ochre trimming. The current light flashes once every 20 seconds and has a range of 18 nautical miles.

Pentland Skerries Lighthouse, Caithness

Pentland Skerries Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on the Pentland Skerries – a group of four small islands off the north coast of Caithness, close to John o’Groats. The lighthouse was built in 1794 in order to open up the Pentland Firth to shipping.

The Pentland Firth separates Orkney from mainland Scotland, however the Pentland Skerries made the firth too dangerous for ships to attempt passage for many years. Instead, ships travelling along the coast were forced to take a longer route around Orkney. This was considered inconvenient, so in 1794 the Northern Lighthouse Board established a double light on Muckle Skerry – the largest and most westerly of the four skerries.

The double lights were built by Orkney masons, but were engineered by Thomas Smith and Robert Stevenson. In fact, this was the first lighthouse that Stevenson officially worked on. The two lights stood on towers positioned 60 feet apart. The lighthouse was rebuilt between 1821 and 1830 in order to establish a more permanent station. A dioptric or catadioptric lens was fitted in 1848, before experiments were carried out to trial the use of paraffin as fuel for the light in 1870.

Despite the establishment of the lighthouse, the Pentland Firth remained a treacherous place. In 1871, assistant lighthouse keeper Donald Montgomery rescued a boy from the waters off the east of Muckle Skerry after a small boat had gotten into difficulty. In 1884, the lighthouse keepers bravely rescued 12 people from the Vicksburg, which went aground on the skerries. 9 others onboard died.

Perhaps the most famous incident in the lighthouse’s history is that of the Longhope lifeboat disaster in 1969. At 8 o’clock on one night, the 48 foot lifeboat was called out to assist a struggling steamer in the Pentland Firth during a Force 9 gale and maelstrom conditions. The lifeboat was sighted from the lighthouse at 9:30 p.m., clearly in difficulty, and was not seen again until being found floating upside down the following morning.

All 8 crew died, with an inquiry determining that the vessel had likely fallen from a 60 – 100 foot high wave, causing serious hull damage and likely stunning or killing some of the crew on impact. A memorial to the crew stands in the cemetery at Kirk Hope, Orkney.

The old double lights of the lighthouse were discontinued in 1895, replaced by more powerful group-flashing lights. It was electrified in 1958 and automated in 1994.

Pentland Skerries Lighthouse has two stone towers, with the main one housing the light and standing 36 metres (118 feet) high. The light has a range of 23 nautical miles.

Stroma Lighthouse, Caithness

Stroma Lighthouse is an active lighthouse built on the island of Stroma, off the north coast of Caithness, between Orkney and mainland Scotland. The light was established in 1896 to warn ships of the Swilkie Whirlpool, which lies just to the north of the island.

The Swilkie whirlpool occurs periodically and is caused by the meeting of about four of five different tides within the Pentland Firth. The area is particularly dangerous for shipping and it was decided that a lighthouse should be built on the island during the late 19th century.

The first lighthouse appeared at Langaton Point, Stroma’s northern tip, in 1890. However, this lighthouse was only in operation for six years and there is very little information about it, apart from that it was unmanned and that the light was fuelled by a petroleum spirit known as lythene. This needed to be recharged every two weeks by the local fisherman and crofters who lived on the island at the time. The lighthouse was notable for being one of the first in Scotland to use ‘scintillating’ Trotter-Lidberg style lights.

The old lighthouse was replaced by the current one in 1896, which was much larger and was established as a major light. The lighthouse was built by David and Charles Stevenson. Lythene was determined to be unsuitable for use in the new lighthouse and a paraffin lamp was installed instead. A year after its construction, a fog warning system was installed to make the island safer during poor visibility.

Despite the lighthouse’s relatively isolated location, it came under gunfire from German aircraft in February of 1941, during World War II. Luckily, the damage caused was only minor and no one was injured in the attack.

Stroma Lighthouse was converted to electric operation in 1972, using a sealed beam optic mounted on a revolving pedestal. A helicopter landing pad was built near the lighthouse at the same time, allowing the lighthouse keepers a faster means of transport to and from the island during changeovers. Lighthouse keepers were not stationed on Stroma for much longer however, as work began to convert the lighthouse to automatic operations in 1994. This was completed in 1997.

Stroma Lighthouse remains active and has a white, masonry tower that is 23 metres (75 feet) high. The current light has an impressive range of 26 nautical miles and flashes twice every 20 seconds.

Start Point Lighthouse, Orkney

Start Point Lighthouse (not to be confused with Start Point Lighthouse in Devon) is an active lighthouse situated on the island of Sanday – one of the largest and most northerly of the Orkney Islands. It was established in 1806 to warn ships of the rocks around Start Point, at the north-east tip of the island.

Historically, this was a popular shipping route and there were many wrecks on or near Start Point. An unlit masonry beacon was established there for a time, but this failed to provide suitable warning and wrecks continued to occur. Work therefore began on a proper lighthouse, with Robert Stevenson as engineer.

The lighthouse established at Start Point was not entirely new, as part of it was transferred from the old light at nearby North Ronaldsay. It was first lit in 1806, becoming the very first revolving light in Scotland. This made it very easy to distinguish from the other lighthouses in the region.

The necessity of the lighthouse was highlighted even during the construction process, when the Stromness was smashed to pieces on the rocks after being blown ashore overnight. All onboard the vessel perished, with the exception of the cabin boy. A later incident did occur despite the lighthouse’s presence, when the HMS Goldfinch – a Royal Navy destroyer – was wrecked at the point in fog in 1915.

Prior to the lighthouse’s automation, it was home to a principal lighthouse keeper and their assistant, together with their families. They kept various livestock at the station and as such were almost completely self-sufficient. Start Point Lighthouse was automated in 1962 – making it one of the first Scottish lighthouses to be relieved of its keepers.

The lighthouse has a stone tower which is 25 metres (82 feet) high and is very distinctive, due to its unique markings. It was painted with black and white vertical stripes in 1915, to ensure it could be used as a day mark. It is the only Scottish lighthouse to be painted in this way. The lens at Start Point is an original fourth order Fresnel lens, notable for being made up of a series of crystal glass lenses set within a brass structure.

Start Point Lighthouse is one of many of the Northern Lighthouse Board’s lighthouses to now run on solar power. The light flashes twice every 20 seconds and has a range of 19 nautical miles.

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse, Orkney

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on North Ronaldsay – the most northerly island in the Orkney archipelago. It was built in 1852 to replace an old stone lighthouse located at nearby Dennis Head, and is notable for being the tallest land-based lighthouse in the UK.

The original lighthouse, now known as Dennis Head Old Beacon, was established in 1789 by Thomas Smith, becoming the third construction of the Northern Lighthouse Board. Standing 21 metres (70 feet) tall, its catadioptric lens system which was fuelled by oil was the most advanced lighting system of its time in Scotland.

However, the 1806 construction of nearby Start Point Lighthouse rendered the light at Dennis Head redundant. The structure remains to this day, testament to the good mason-work that went into building it, and is used as a day mark.

As time passed, it became evident that North Ronaldsay was still in need of its own lighthouse due to the dangers posed to ships by the reefs and shoals surrounding the island. The Duke Reef and Seal Skerry were particularly troublesome and it was decided that the new lighthouse should be positioned to give maximum warning of these rocks. Due to North Ronaldsay being very low-lying, the requirement for the new tower to be very high was considered “unavoidable”.

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse was completed in 1852, located almost a kilometre to the north-west of the old beacon. Designed by Alan Stevenson, it was built by a local contractor from Leith for about £6,180, with a half-mile stone jetty also being built to allow good access to the site by boat.

The lighthouse has undergone several changes to its light in the period in which it has been active. In 1907, the light was converted to incandescent, having previously been fuelled by oil. A fog signal was installed in 1930 and a radio beacon was added two years later. Further improvements were made in 1971, before the lighthouse was eventually automated in 1998.

The cylindrical, red brick tower of North Ronaldsay is impressive, standing a mighty 42 metres (138 feet) tall. The building is Category B listed and the tower was painted with two white bands to distinguish it as a day mark. The light flashes once every ten seconds and has a range of 24 nautical miles. The lighthouse is open to the public and there is an associated visitor centre.

 

Fair Isle South Lighthouse, Shetland

Fair Isle South Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on Fair Isle, between Orkney and Shetland. It was established in tandem with a second lighthouse (Fair Isle North Lighthouse) in 1892, in order to guide ships past the island.

Fair Isle is the most remote inhabited island in the British Isles, lying about 24 miles south-west of Shetland and 27 miles north-east of Orkney. Before the construction of the two lighthouses, it was hazardous to shipping due to its isolated location and the often powerful strength of storms in the area.
Both the South and North Lighthouses were engineered by David and Charles Stevenson. The machinery and equipment used at the two were both very similar, however the South Lighthouse was built much taller than its twin, as the North Lighthouse stands on 215 foot cliffs. The original light in the South Lighthouse used a paraffin lamp, which was turned using a geared mechanism powered by a descending weight suspended from a rope.

During World War II, the South Lighthouse came under attack by German aircraft in December of 1941. The wife of an assistant lighthouse keeper was sadly killed in the attack, while her infant daughter was injured. Just six weeks later, a second attack was initiated, with two bombs being dropped on the lighthouse. The first was a direct hit on the western end of the keepers’ cottages, resulting in the deaths of the wife and daughter of the principal lighthouse keeper. The main building subsequently caught fire and completely burned out.

Roderick Macaulay, who at the time was assistant lighthouse keeper at the North Lighthouse, walked the 3 miles to the South Lighthouse to lend a hand in restoring it to operational order. He battled through snowdrifts and gale-force winds in the process, and was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for outstanding services as a result. A plaque in memory of those lost at the lighthouse during the war was erected at the South Lighthouse in 1998.
As there is no mains electricity on Fair Isle, the lighthouse was powered by diesel generators for a time, but now runs on renewable power. It was automated in 1998, becoming the last Scottish lighthouse to be relieved of its keepers.

Fair Isle South Lighthouse has a cylindrical, masonry tower which stands 26 metres (85 feet) high. It is a Category B listed building and its light has a range of 22 nautical miles.

Muckle Flugga Lighthouse, Shetland

Muckle Flugga Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on the island of Muckle Flugga, in Shetland. It was built in 1854 to warn ships of the island’s presence.
Muckle Flugga is is the second most northerly point in the British Isles, beaten only by the islet of Out Stack, which lies slightly further north. A lighthouse had been considered on Muckle Flugga as early as 1851, but the topography of the small island had made it difficult to determine a suitable site. As a result, nothing was done until the Northern Lighthouse Board were urged to establish a light by the Government due to Her Majesty’s ships requiring safe passage during the Crimean War.

A temporary light was therefore established, built in just 26 days. As it was situated on rocks 200 feet above sea level, it was thought that the lighthouse would be safe from the ocean. However, it was quickly found that winter storms would churn up waves so large that they broke heavily on the lighthouse and would force open the door to the keepers’ dwellings, soaking everything.

Plans for a permanent and higher light were put in place, although there was some disagreement over whether it should be established on Muckle Flugga or on nearby Lamba Ness. It was eventually decided that Muckle Flugga would be the site and the new lighthouse was completed in 1858. Engineered by Thomas and David Stevenson, the lighthouse was a challenging build, requiring foundations sunk ten feet down into the rock. Construction came to a total cost of £32,000.
Although initially having a fixed light, it was decided in 1927 that the character should be changed to group flashing, due to fixed lights being considered no longer suitable. For many years, the keepers’ dwellings were very rudimentary, with those stationed having to sleep in what was described as a “crow’s nest”. That was addressed in 1968, with a new dwelling block being built in a space freed up when the lighthouse was electrified.

Three lighthouse keepers were stationed at Muckle Flugga at any one time, with each spending one month on the rock followed by one month onshore. During bad weather, it sometimes took many days before a boat could reach the island, so a helicopter landing pad was established alongside the lighthouse.
Muckle Flugga Lighthouse has a cylindrical masonry tower which stands 20 metres (66 feet) high. It is a Category A listed building and the light has a range of 22 nautical miles. It flashes twice every 20 seconds.

Sule Skerry Lighthouse, Orkney

Sule Skerry Lighthouse is an active lighthouse found on Sule Skerry, a remote islet situated off the north coast of Scotland. It was built in 1895 to warn ships of the surrounding rocks and is notable for having been the most remote manned lighthouse in the UK up until its automation.

Sule Skerry lies about 40 miles west of Orkney and 35 miles north of the Scottish mainland. The islet covers around 35 acres and there is no land in sight from it other than one small neighbouring rock. However, it lies right in the passage of ships travelling from the Pentland Firth to Iceland and vice versa. As a result, the Northern Lighthouse Board decided to establish a lighthouse on the islet in 1892.

The remote location made construction difficult, especially in poor weather conditions. Winter work was ruled out as an option for this reason, together with the lack of light. This meant the lighthouse was built over the period from 1892 – 1895, with engineering work by David and Charles Stevenson. Landing places for boats and a small tramway for transporting rocks were also required.

The tower was topped with an exceptionally large lantern measuring 16 feet in diameter, which was larger than any other developed for a lighthouse at the time. It was made to accommodate a powerful ‘Hyper-radial’ lens. Illumination of the light was however delayed for a year, due to disagreements between the commissioners of the board and Trinity House over the cost of the lighting equipment.

Surprisingly, the isolation of the lighthouse led to pigeon post being briefly tried as a way of communicating between the station and the mainland, however this was not found to be successful. The remote location also led to occasional problems carrying out the monthly relief of the lighthouse keepers, who would sometimes find themselves stuck for days at a time due to bad weather.

The original light was later replaced with a gas light with a fourth order lens, and a helicopter service was implemented as a way to relieve the lightkeepers from 1973. This continued up until the lighthouse was automated in 1982.

Sule Skerry Lighthouse has a cylindrical masonry tower, measuring 27 metres (89 feet) in height. The Grade A listed building is painted white and is solar powered, with the light having a range of 21 nautical miles.

Butt of Lewis Lighthouse, Outer Hebrides

Butt of Lewis Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located at the northern tip of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. It was established in 1862 to aid the navigation of ships past the northern regions of the island.

The Butt of Lewis is said to be the windiest part of the British Isles, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This can make the surrounding waters difficult for shipping, especially during the winter. The lighthouse was engineered by David Stevenson and construction was finished in 1862.
Little is known about the station from this time. It is thought that the first light exhibited from the tower was fixed rather than flashing, though this is not certain. Stevenson is reported to have requested a flashing light, in order to distinguish the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse from the one at Cape Wrath, however the Department of Trade overruled him.

The early light was fuelled using either vegetable or fish oil, and this continued until 1869, when the more efficient paraffin was used instead. This was used as the fuel source for the light for over 100 years afterwards, until the station was electrified in 1976.

Prior to this, there had been a change to the light’s character and equipment. The current equipment was installed in 1905, as proven by a plaque which is present in the lightroom. The fixed light was altered so that it would flash – a characteristic achieved by installing a clockwork mechanism which revolved around the lens, obscuring it so that it flashed once every 20 seconds. The lighthouse keepers had to wind the clockwork motor every 30 minutes to keep it turning.
Three lighthouse keepers were stationed at the lighthouse at any one time while it was manned, with the attached dwellings accommodating them and their families. During the 1930s, the station was the main radio link for the lighthouse keepers on the Flannan Isle Lighthouse, which lies in an isolated spot west of Lewis. Nowadays, it has similarly important roles, acting as the monitoring station for several offshore lighthouses in the area, including the Flannan Isle light.
The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse was automated in 1998, becoming one of the last in Scotland to see its keepers leave. It has a cylindrical red brick tower, which is unusual in Scotland and therefore gives it a very distinctive appearance. The building is Category A listed and the tower stands 37 metres (121 feet) high. The light has a range of 21 nautical miles.

Flannan Isle Lighthouse, Outer Hebrides

The Flannan Isle Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on the island of Eilean Mòr, one of the Flannan Islands situated west of Lewis. It was built in 1899 to warn ships of the islands’ presence, and is most famous for the mysterious disappearance of its keepers in 1900.
Construction of the lighthouse took place over a four year period from 1895, with the station being designed by David Stevenson. Due to the steep nature of the cliffs leading up to the site from the boat landing areas, construction was difficult, although later on a cable-hauled railway was established to help transport paraffin and other supplies.

Three lighthouse keepers were stationed at the light, however something very strange happened just a year after the lighthouse was first lit. On 15 December 1900, a passing vessel noted that the light was not displayed, later informing the Northern Lighthouse Board. A relief vessel could not be sent to investigate for several days due to poor weather, but it eventually arrived at the lighthouse on 26 December. Onboard, was relief keeper, Joseph Moore.

Moore landed on the island and went to assess the situation, but found the station to be completely deserted. All three lighthouse keepers had vanished. On further inspection, the light was found to be ready for illumination and the last written entries for the keeper’s log had been made on 13 December.
No bodies were ever found and many theories have been put forward to explain what happened, with some citing kidnap, murder or even ghosts as possible causes of the disappearance. The Northern Lighthouse Board’s investigation concluded that the three keepers probably left the light to secure some equipment on the island’s western cliffs, and had been washed off the island by a large wave. But to this day, it remains one of the great mysteries of the British coast.
In 1925, the lighthouse became one of the first Scottish lighthouses to receive communication by wireless telegraph. The railway was removed in 1960 and the lighthouse was automated in 1971, with a helipad being installed at the same time to allow for maintenance visits.

The Flannan Isle Lighthouse has a cylindrical masonry tower that is 23 metres (75 feet) high. Its third order Fresnel lens has a range of 20 nautical miles and the building is Category B listed.

Eilean Glas Lighthouse, Outer Hebrides

Eilean Glas Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on the island of Scalpay, south-east of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It was established in 1789, making it one of the original four lighthouses built in Scotland, and was designed to warn ships of the island’s presence.

The Northern Lighthouse Board approached the owner of Scalpay in 1787, seeking to build a light on the island’s eastern coastline. Captain Alex McLeod, who was owner at the time, accepted the proposal and made his own arrangements to begin building the foundations for the lighthouse while the Board’s masons were busy working on the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse.

The Board’s masons arrived at Scalpay a year later, with engineer Thomas Smith finding that McLeod’s workmen had made the circumference of the lighthouse tower’s base four feet greater than was originally planned. To save time and money, it was decided that construction at this slightly larger scale would go ahead and the light was first lit in October of 1789. This original tower did not last long however, and was replaced by a new tower (the current lighthouse) in 1824.
The new tower was engineered by Robert Stevenson and was accompanied by new keepers’ cottages and a new access road from the pier. The height of the old tower was reduced at the same time, to reduce any potential interference with the beam of the new light. Though initially a fixed light, it was changed to a revolving lens system in 1852. The old lens was given to the Royal Scottish Museum for public display.

A fog signal station was installed at the site in 1907, with the light being upgraded to a flashing light at the same time. The fog signal let off a blast for 7 seconds every minute and a half during foggy conditions. It functioned up until 1987, when it was discontinued. A few years prior to this, the lighthouse had been automated, with its keepers leaving for the last time in 1978.

Eilean Glas Lighthouse was recently refurbished in 2019, with the sealed beam lamp being upgraded to an LED optic. The lighthouse has a distinctive appearance, with its 30 metre (98 feet) tall masonry tower having been painted with red horizontal stripes to ensure it can be used as a day mark. The building is Category A listed and the light has a range of 18 nautical miles.

Ornsay Lighthouse, Inner Hebrides

Ornsay Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on Ornsay – a small tidal island just off the east coast of the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides. It was built in 1857 to guard the approach to the Sound of Sleat.

The decision to build the lighthouse at Ornsay was made as part of a larger plan to establish a system of lights around the coastlines of Scotland in the mid-nineteenth century. David Stevenson, who at the time was engineer at the Northern Lighthouse Board, made a list of 45 possible sites for the lighthouses. Of these, Ornsay was one of eight to be given priority, and was engineered by Thomas and David Stevenson.

Ornsay Lighthouse was completed in 1857 and lighted at the same time as four other lighthouses in north-west Scotland (Rubha nan Gall, Kyleakin, Rona and Ushenish). Ornsay was given a new condensing apparatus, which was introduced by Thomas Stevenson as an improvement to the dioptric lighting system. Shown in different directions, the condensed light varied in strength according to the distance it was required to be seen.

It was converted to gas operation in 1898 and was automated in 1962. The keepers’ cottages were sold a few years later and converted to holiday cottages, which they remain to this day. The lighthouse was later modernised in 1988, with the gas system converted to one that ran on mains power.

The current optic system includes a 250 watt tungsten lamp controlled by an electronic flasher. There is an emergency lamp within the lightroom which is automatically selected in the event of any failures within the main light. Ornsay Lighthouse is currently not monitored by the Northern Lighthouse Board’s headquarters, unlike most other Scottish lighthouses. Instead, it relies on an observer to report any problems.

The lighthouse has a cylindrical, masonry tower that stands 19 metres (62 feet) high. The building is Category B listed and is painted white with a black lantern and ochre trim. The light has a range of 12 nautical miles and is occulted once every eight seconds.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, Argyll & Bute

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse is an active lighthouse found on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, in Lochaber. The lighthouse was built in 1849 to provide safe passage for ships passing the peninsula.

The lighthouse sits on the most westerly point of the British mainland, with views out towards some of the Inner Hebrides. This site was chosen by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1845, who purchased a 20 acre piece of land for the price of £20. Alan Stevenson was engineer during the lighthouse’s construction and the building process took about three years, with interruptions after the workers suffered an outbreak of scurvy.

Unusually for a Scottish lighthouse, it was built using pink granite, and in fact Ardnamurchan Lighthouse was one of the last stone towers to be built by the Northern Lighthouse Board. The original fixed light was fuelled by oil and was first lit in October of 1849, but was upgraded to a flashing light in 1928.
Two lighthouse keepers were stationed at the site, with both being paid £18 per year for their services. Various livestock were kept in the fields surrounding the lighthouse in its early years. In 1852, the tower was struck by lightning in a severe storm, resulting in a few broken glass panes and damage to some of the tower walls. The storm also blew down some of the perimeter wall and 40 feet of road was washed away by heavy seas.

A foghorn signal station was active at the lighthouse for a time, but this has since been decommissioned. The fog station remains however, and provides a spectacular viewpoint of the surrounding coastline.

Mains electricity was installed at the lighthouse in 1976 and the light was automated in 1988. After the departure of its keepers, the Board decided to sell off some of the redundant buildings at the complex. These are now privately operated as the Ardnamurchan Visitor Centre, with a small museum dedicated to the history of the lighthouse.

Ardnamurchan lighthouse has a granite, cylindrical tower which is unpainted and light grey in colour. The tower stands 36 metres (118 feet) high and the building is Category A listed. The light has recently been upgraded to LED functioning and has a range of 18 nautical miles. It flashes twice every 20 seconds.

Lismore Lighthouse, Inner Hebrides

Lismore Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on the small island of Eilean Musdile, which lies next to the larger island of Lismore, at the entrance to Loch Linnhe. It was built in 1833 to aid the navigation of ships into Loch Linnhe and between the mainland and the Isle of Mull.

Construction of the lighthouse began after the Northern Lighthouse Board purchased the island of Eilean Musdile from a local landowner for the sum of £500. Robert Stevenson was engineer for the project and the lighthouse was built by the contractor James Smith from Inverness, who worked on a number of lighthouses for the Board. The light was first exhibited in October of 1833.

At the time, the light was extremely useful, as it opened up the Firth of Lorne and Loch Linnhe, which lead to the western entrance of the Caledonian Canal. It was also of great use to vessels navigating the sounds of Mull, Luing and Islay.

Lismore Lighthouse was staffed by four lighthouse keepers at a time, who each spent six weeks on the island before having two weeks off on the mainland. The light was initially a fixed white light, but was soon changed to a flashing one. Many of the Northern Lighthouse Board’s lights were changed to dioptric or Fresnel lenses in 1910, but Lismore – together with Fidra in the Firth of Forth – remained as the only two catoptric lights.

Although it was initially proposed that communication to and from the lighthouse could be improved by way of building a road bridge connecting Eilean Musdile to Lismore, this plan was abandoned after a small bridge was built instead across a gorge which segments Eilean Musdile.

During the Second World War, two lighthouse keepers at Lismore set off in difficult conditions to rescue two airmen whose aircraft had crashed into the waters offshore, leaving them clinging to wreckage. The rescue effort was successful.

Lismore Lighthouse was radically altered in 1965, with the light being automated at the cost of £10,000 and the lighthouse keepers leaving for the last time. Several tons of building material were transported from nearby Oban in the process.

The lighthouse is a cylindrical, masonry tower painted all in white, standing 26 metres (85 feet) high. The building is Category A listed and the 71,000 candela light has a range of 17 nautical miles.

Skerryvore Lighthouse, Inner Hebrides

Skerryvore Lighthouse is an active lighthouse on a remote reef about 11 miles south-west of the island of Tiree, in the Inner Hebrides. Built in 1844, it warns ships of the rocks and is most notable for being the tallest lighthouse in Scotland.

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many ships were wrecked on the Skerryvore reef and the need for a lighthouse was clear. However, the section of reef above water was small, rocky and highly exposed to wind and waves. Construction was a monumental task and the Northern Lighthouse Board delayed for many years, daunted by the potential costs. Eventually, in 1838, construction began, with Alan Stevenson as engineer.

A temporary wooden structure was built on the reef to house the workers, though this had to be replaced in the first year after being destroyed by a severe gale. Stevenson and his men were only able to work during the calmer summer months, but made up for this by often working gruelling 17 hour days. Although slow, the rest of the construction process went largely without incident and the lighthouse was first lit in February of 1844.

No lives were lost during construction, despite the dangers, and the lighthouse was an incredible achievement for both Alan Stevenson and the Board. It had a revolving dioptric light which, at the time, was the most advanced in the world.

The light shone uninterrupted for 110 years, until the lighthouse suffered a terrible fire in 1954. The fire began on the seventh floor and spread downwards, forcing the lighthouse keepers out onto the rock in the middle of the night and badly damaging the light. The keepers were left stranded, but luckily a relief vessel was already scheduled to arrive the following day and they were rescued unharmed.

Temporary lights were set up during reconstruction of the main light and tower. The process took three years, with the Board deciding to electrify the lighthouse at the same time. The light was re-established in August of 1959 and a helicopter landing pad was installed at the base of the tower in 1972, to make lighthouse keeper changeovers easier. The lighthouse was automated in 1994.

At 48 metres (157 feet) tall, Skerryvore Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Scotland and one of the tallest in the UK. It has a grey, masonry tower which tapers towards the top – a feature which has led to it being regarded as one of the most elegant lighthouses in the world. It is a Category A listed building and the light has a range of 23 nautical miles

Dubh Artach Lighthouse, Inner Hebrides

Dubh Artach Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on Dubh Artach – a remote skerry found about 15 miles south-west of the Isle of Mull. The lighthouse was established in 1872 to warn ships of the rocks.

The rocks of the reef lie in an open stretch of water between the islands of Colonsay, Mull and Islay. In the 19th century, many ships passed through this region on journeys to North America or the Baltic nations, and the rocks represented a real danger. A number of ships were wrecked on the reef over the years, and it was hoped the establishment of a light would allow vessels to traverse the region safely.

Construction on Dubh Artach was expected to be extremely difficult, but engineers Thomas and David Stevenson took up the challenge. Winter work was ruled out completely, yet it was even difficult to land on the island during summer. Therefore, a temporary structure was first built on the rock to accommodate the workers, just as had been done for the Bell Rock and Skerryvore Lighthouses. Conditions were poor and work was slow, but construction was eventually completed in 1871, with the lighting equipment being installed the following year.
When it was first lit, the Dubh Artach Lighthouse was the first isolated rock light to use paraffin. In fact, the light was so bright that the principal lighthouse keeper, James Ewing, reported that the keepers’ eyes were being adversely affected. Ewing looked after the lighthouse for eleven years in total, having much more of a taste for the extreme conditions than some of his colleagues. One reportedly had to be stopped from diving into the sea and swimming to shore on one occasion, after growing fed up with the hardship.

Incredible waves measuring 28 metres high were experienced at the station in some cases, with the area renowned for its high seas during winter. The remote location and cramped living conditions warranted extra pay for the keepers.

The lighthouse was painted with a horizontal red band in 1890 to distinguish it from the nearby light at Skerryvore. It was automated in 1971 and a helipad was installed at the site the year after, to ensure that it was easier to land on the rock to carry out maintenance work.

Dubh Artach Lighthouse is a cylindrical, slightly tapered granite tower, which stands at a height of 38 metres (125 feet). It is a Category A listed building and the light has a range of 20 nautical miles.

Ruvaal Lighthouse, Inner Hebride

Ruvaal Lighthouse, also known as Rubh’a’ Mhàil Lighthouse, is an active lighthouse located on the north-eastern tip of the island of Islay, in the Inner Hebrides. It was built in 1859 to mark the northern approach to the Sound of Islay.

The need for a lighthouse at this end of Islay was first proposed by Robert Stevenson as early as 1835, though it was many years before plans to build a lighthouse were enacted. The Board of Trade requested that the lighthouse should cast its beam as far as the Neva Rocks, which lie many miles west of the station. As a result, it was calculated that the tower had to be built to at least 100 feet in height.

The lighthouse was designed by David and Thomas Stevenson, and cost £6,500 to build, with the light first illuminated in January of 1859. When it was first lit, the light was fixed and had a second class dioptric lens. Though the lighthouse tower is rather impressive, the architecture of the keepers’ cottages was criticised in an 1861 report for looking “more like dog kennels than anything else”.

Ruvaal Lighthouse is very remote, and in its early years it was only accessible by boat or by a trek of several miles across rough, boggy landscape. This often made it difficult to relieve the lighthouse keepers of their duties during bad weather. Helicopter reliefs were introduced in 1981 for this reason, a decision which was likely welcomed by the keepers.

In February of 1981, a mains power line was installed at the station, running out to Ruvaal from Bunnahabhainn. During the work, a helicopter was brought in to help land the electricity poles. It successfully landed the first two, but when attempting to land the third, the main rotor struck the pole and was completely destroyed. The helicopter crashed, but the pilot had a lucky escape.

The power line was eventually finished, and the electricity supply meant a new lighting system could be installed at Ruvaal, formed of a catadioptric sealed beam lamp array, which was completed in 1982. The lighthouse was automated the following year, with the keepers’ cottages being sold.
Ruvall Lighthouse now stands above a well-maintained garden and is often visited by red deer. The lighthouse has a cylindrical white tower that reaches 34 metres (112 feet) high. The building is Category B listed and the light has a range of 19 nautical miles.

Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse, Argyll & Bute

The Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on the Mull of Kintyre – the tip of the Kintyre Peninsula in south-western Scotland. The lighthouse was established in 1788 to aid the navigation of ships around the peninsula.

It was the second lighthouse to be established by the Northern Lighthouse Board, preceded by the light at Kinnaird Head. One of the factors in the decision to locate the light on the Mull of Kintyre was the wrecking of two large fishing vessels at the point during storms a few years earlier, which resulted in many lives lost.
Engineered by Thomas Smith, with the assistance of a young Robert Stevenson, the light was first lit in November of 1788, after a 22 month construction process. The primary reason why the lighthouse took so long to build was the terrain on which the site lay. Located on high cliffs, miles from any road, the lighthouse was inaccessible by sea and extremely difficult to get to on foot. Instead, materials had to be landed 6 miles up the coast and carried over the rough terrain on horseback.

Many changes have taken place at the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse since it was built, and in fact the station was rebuilt between 1821 and 1830. This was done as a way of establishing it as a more permanent station. As the sea around the Mull of Kintyre is often affected by fog, the station was one of the earliest recipients of a fog signal in 1876. However, this installation was not enough to prevent a paddle steamer from running aground on the point in dense fog in 1895. All onboard were thankfully saved, though the ship sank the following day.
The light, which for many decades was a simple fixed light, was changed to a flashing light in 1906. At this time, its power was also increased significantly, from 8,000 to 281,000 candlepower. It was later electrified and had its strength further increased to over 1.5 million candlepower in 1976. The new lighting apparatus was formed of an electric filament lamp with a catadioptric lens. The light was automated in 1996.

The Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse has a cylindrical brick tower, which is painted white and only stands 12 metres (39 feet) tall, due to it being situated on 240 foot cliffs. The building is Category A listed and the light has a range of 18 nautical miles.

Corsewall Lighthouse, Dumfries & Galloway

Corsewall Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on the northern tip of the Rhinns of Galloway, near Stranraer. Established in 1817, the lighthouse ensures the safety of ships passing through the north channel of the Irish Sea, and guides vessels into Loch Ryan.

The first calls for a lighthouse in the area came in 1814, when an application was made to the Trade of Clyde for a light to be established at Corsewall Point. The Northern Lighthouse Board inspected the site and found it to be suitable, with construction beginning in 1815. Robert Stevenson was engineer for the project, and upon his inspection visit in December of 1815 he found that the construction process was going well and that the first stage of the tower and part of the keepers’ accommodation were being built.

Construction was finished in 1816, though the lighthouse was not lit until the following year. The original light was fuelled by oil and was part of a revolving apparatus which displayed a light alternating between white and red. This was one of the first such lights to appear in Scotland. The initial reflectors used were so powerful that they needed to be covered during the day to prevent spontaneous combustion.

In the lighthouse’s first year, there was an incident of negligence involving the principal lighthouse keeper, where he is reported to have fallen asleep on the job, resulting in the revolving light coming to a halt for a period of time. The Board suspended him from Corsewall and sent him to the Bell Rock Lighthouse, to serve as assistant lighthouse keeper instead.

Corsewall Lighthouse was modernised in 1891 and 1910. It suffered minor bomb damage in 1941, when it was attacked by enemy aircraft during World War II. Minor damage was also reportedly caused in 1970 when Concorde flew over the lighthouse on a trial flight, resulting in a few broken panes of glass. The aircraft made several flights over the lighthouse in the following years, with no further incidents.

The lighthouse was automated in 1994 and the former keepers’ accommodation was sold. Although the Northern Lighthouse Board still control the light, much of the building now forms the Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel.
Corsewall Lighthouse has a 34 metre (112 foot) cylindrical tower, which is painted white and is topped by a balcony and lantern. The former keepers’ cottages are two-storeys high. The building is Category A listed and the light has a range of 22 nautical miles.

Rathlin Island West Lighthouse, County Antrim

Rathlin Island West Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on Rathlin Island, off the north coast of Northern Ireland. It was established in 1919 to aid the navigation of ships around the western part of Rathlin, and is most notable for being a rare example of an ‘upside down’ lighthouse.

Although Rathlin West Lighthouse was established in 1919, the suggestion of a lighthouse being built on this part of Rathlin was made as early as 1901. There were initial disagreements between Trinity House and the Commissioners of Irish Lights (the general lighthouse authority for Northern Ireland) over which headland was more suitable for a lighthouse, either Bull Point or Crockantirrive. But after a few experiments it was decided that the 300 foot high cliffs at Crockantirrive would be better.

Several years elapsed before building work began, and progress was slow even when it did. The somewhat awkward location of the site meant that an inclined railway and jetty needed to be built at nearby Corraghy to land materials. The supplies were then carried by horse and cart to the construction site. In addition, hundreds of tons of concrete were poured and set against the cliffs to facilitate access to the lighthouse.

Construction was eventually completed in 1916, but the light was not operational until March of 1919. The initial light was fuelled by paraffin and flashed red every five seconds. A fog signal station was installed at the site in 1925, nicknamed the ‘Rathlin Bull’, which could be heard around 20 miles away.

Three lighthouse keepers were stationed at the lighthouse while it was manned, with duties being rotated every six weeks with Rathlin Island East Lighthouse. The light and fog signal were electrified in 1982, with the lighthouse being automated the following year. The fog signal was permanently discontinued in 1995.

Rathlin West Lighthouse is now remotely monitored by Irish Lights from its sister lighthouse on the east and is only exhibited during the day when visibility is poor. It has a white cuboidal tower which, unusually, has the lantern sitting at its base, giving it the appearance of being upside down. The tower is 18 metres (59 feet) tall and the red light has a range of 22 nautical miles.

East Maidens Lighthouse, County Antrim

East Maidens Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on one of the Maidens – a group of islets and skerries in the North Channel of the Irish Sea, several miles off the Northern Irish coast. The lighthouse was built in 1829 to warn ships of the rocks.

The East Maidens lighthouse was built as one of a pair of lighthouses, with the second being a smaller light known as the West Maidens Lighthouse. The recommendation of two lights was made by Inspector of Lighthouses George Halpin, after requests for a light had been made by local merchants. Halpin designed and oversaw the construction of both lights, which were located 800 yards apart on two of the larger islets within the group.
The lighthouse keepers and their families lived on-site at both stations in the early years, and there is a tale involving a love story between the assistant keeper at one lighthouse and the daughter of the keeper at the other. They often visited each other by boat until the two families fell out, after which the woman’s father forbade them from seeing each other. Unwilling to be separated, the couple snuck off to the mainland and eloped to Carrickfergus.

In 1889, an additional light was built into one of the windows of East Maidens Lighthouse to illuminate the Highland Rocks. Shortly afterwards, it was proposed that a light vessel with a foghorn could be stationed at the Highland Rocks, and that the West Maidens Light could be discontinued. This idea never came to be, however the west light was eventually abandoned in 1903, after the East Maidens Lighthouse received an upgrade.

East Maidens Lighthouse then spent a period as a combined station with the Ferris Point Lighthouse, with one principal keeper responsible for both lighthouses. This was the case from 1906 to 1951, when the Maidens Lighthouse received its own principal keeper.

With advancing technologies, an electric light was installed at the Maidens Lighthouse in 1977 and this paved the way towards automation. The lighthouse keepers were withdrawn permanently less than a month later, with the accommodation buildings being demolished shortly afterwards. The station is now looked after by an attendant and the light is monitored remotely by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

East Maidens Lighthouse is a cylindrical, stone tower which is white with a black horizontal band. The tower stands 23 metres (76 feet) tall and the light has a range of 23 nautical miles.

Black Head Lighthouse, County Antrim

The Black Head Lighthouse is an active lighthouse found at the northern end of Belfast Lough, in County Antrim. The light was established in 1902 to aid the navigation of ships approaching Belfast Harbour.

The first application for a light at Black Head was made in 1893, by the Belfast Harbour Board. However, this was rejected by the Commissioners of Irish Lights as they were reluctant to allocate funds for a light which would only benefit Belfast. A second request five years later was also turned down, but a subsequent agreement between the Board of Trade and Trinity House ensured that funds would be provided for a lighthouse and fog signal.

The lighthouse was designed by Irish Lights engineer, William Douglass, with the construction contract awarded to William Campbell and Sons. Work began in 1899 and the light was first exhibited in 1902, in combination with an explosive fog signal station.

Black Head Lighthouse was built during the hay day of the Belfast shipping industry, and it guided many significant ships through Northern Irish waters, including the ill-fated Titanic, which was built in Belfast in 1911.

The original lighthouse tower was painted red, but this was changed to a more classical white in 1929. The station received a number of improvements in 1965, when the lighthouse was electrified and the intensity of the light was increased to give it a greater range. The explosive fog signal also saw a change, with the addition of a bright flash of light being emitted when it sounded during darkness.

The fog signal was eventually discontinued in 1972, a few years before the lighthouse was automated and its keepers withdrawn in 1975. A part-time attendant has since been in charge of looking after the station, while the former keepers’ accommodation has been turned into holiday accommodation. The original whistle pipe system used to wake up off duty keepers and call them to work remains in place.

Black Head Lighthouse has an octagonal tower which is 16 metres (52 feet) high and topped by a large lantern and gallery. The building complex is Category B listed and the lighthouse is designated as one of the “Great Lighthouses of Ireland”. The catadioptric annular lens produces a light with an impressive range of 27 nautical miles, and a character of a single white flash every 3 seconds.

Mew Island Lighthouse, County Down

The Mew Island Lighthouse is an active lighthouse built on Mew Island, one of the Copeland Islands off the north-east coast of County Down. The lighthouse was constructed in 1884 to guide ships around the islands and in and out of Belfast Lough.

The Mew Island light was not the first lighthouse to appear on the Copeland Islands, with the earliest example being built in 1711. This was formed of a three-storey tower topped with a coal-fired brazier, which was later replaced by a glass-paned lantern with six Argand lamps, fuelled by sperm whale oil.

In 1810, responsibility for lighthouses around Ireland passed to what is now the Commissioners of Irish Lights. They decided to replace the first lighthouse with a more powerful light, designed by George Halpin, which was completed in 1815 and known as the Copeland Island Lighthouse. However, despite the presence of these lighthouses, there were several notable shipwrecks around the islands during the first half of the 19th century. This was primarily due to the waters surrounding the islands having very strong tidal currents.

As shipping traffic in and out of Belfast Harbour began to ramp up, it became clear that a larger, more prominent lighthouse was required on the islands. In 1875, the Belfast Harbour Commissioners requested that the Copeland Island light be removed and replaced with a lighthouse on Mew Island. Work began in 1882, engineered by William Douglass, and the Mew Island Lighthouse was first exhibited in November of 1884. A fog signal was installed at the same time.

The light was the largest available at the time, formed of a first-order optic with 324 gas burners. The strength of the light could be varied depending on the number of burners used. The light suffered from a number of problems however, and in 1928 it was decided that a hyper-radiant optic installed at the Tory Island Lighthouse should be moved to the station at Mew Island instead. It was first lit using paraffin, but was changed in 1968 to run on electric power instead.

The hyper-radiant lens was in place at Mew Island Lighthouse for more than 85 years, until it was removed and replaced with a solar powered LED system in 2014. This change was criticised by some for being unnecessary.
The Mew Island Lighthouse has a stone tower, which is painted black with a white horizontal band and white lantern. The building is Category B listed and the tower stands at 37 metres (121 feet) tall. The light has a range of 18 nautical miles.

Donaghadee Lighthouse, County Down

Donaghadee Lighthouse is an active lighthouse which stands at the harbour in the seaside town of Donaghadee, in County Down. It was built in 1836 to guide ships into Donaghadee Harbour.

Just 22 miles separate Donaghadee from Portpatrick in Scotland, and this journey was a popular shipping route for 200 years, after its establishment in 1662. Although the route gradually declined as vessels got larger, it was key to the growth of Donaghadee and its harbour. With the rise of steam-driven ships in the early 19th century, the harbour facilities at Donaghadee were improved and its commissioners decided that a light should be established at the harbour entrance.

The harbour commissioners wrote a letter to the Ballast Board informing them of their plans, and after some deliberations the Board agreed to take charge of the light. Construction began in 1836 and was completed the same year, with the tower being built from cut limestone which, like much of the surrounding harbour, originated from quarries in Anglesey in Wales. The lighthouse was built by David Logan, an engineer who assisted Robert Stevenson in building the Bell Rock Lighthouse in Scotland.

The original light was established as a fixed one, exhibiting red light to the seaward direction and white light over the harbour. For several decades, there was no dwelling for the keeper of the Donaghadee Lighthouse, with them residing in a house rented by the Ballast Board instead. However a dwelling was built in 1864 at the end of the pier.

Although the lighthouse tower was originally unpainted and left to its natural grey colour, it was painted white with a black plinth sometime between 1869 and 1875. In May of 1990, a large fire broke out within the lighthouse and it suffered extensive damage, particularly to the optic and lantern. A temporary light was established while repairs were undertaken, and the light was restored in September of the same year.

The Donaghadee Lighthouse was electrified in 1934, becoming the first lighthouse in Ireland to run on electric power. At the same time, the character of the light was changed to isophase, flashing white every four seconds.
The lighthouse has a limestone tower which is fluted and stands at 16 metres (52 feet) tall. The white light has a range of 17 nautical miles, while the red light has a range of 13 nautical miles.

St. John’s Point Lighthouse, County Down

St. John’s Point Lighthouse is an active lighthouse situated on St. John’s Point, in south-eastern County Down. It was constructed in 1844 to aid the navigation of ships along Northern Ireland’s eastern coast and is notable for being the tallest lighthouse on the Irish mainland.

This part of the coastline had long been considered a particularly dangerous place for shipping, with St. John’s Point being surrounded by rocks and the adjacent bay of Dundrum featuring treacherous shifting sand banks. Some viewed Dundrum Bay as one of the most dangerous shipping bays in the region, and there was a clear need for a lighthouse as shipping traffic grew through the early 19th century.

Construction of the lighthouse at St. John’s Point was approved by the Ballast Board in 1839, with the station being designed by Inspector of Lighthouses, George Halpin. The light was established in May of 1844, after a delay to it being commissioned.

Despite the presence of the light, the dangers of the surrounding waters were brought to international attention in 1846, when the SS Great Britain ran aground in Dundrum Bay. At the time, the vessel was the longest passenger ship in the world, and had floundered after making a series of navigational errors shortly after embarking for New York. The ship was eventually re-floated the following year, at a substantial cost, and is now a museum ship in Bristol.

Although initially displaying a white light, the light was changed to red in 1860 and the lighthouse saw a number of improvements through the remainder of the 19th century. The height of the tower was increased, a fog signal was installed and an auxiliary light was put in place in one of the tower’s windows. This light was fixed and shone across Dundrum Bay.

In 1908, a Fresnel lens was installed and the previous gas jet burners were replaced with incandescent vaporised paraffin burners. The tower received its now distinctive colours in 1954, when it was painted black with two horizontal yellow bands, a feature which ensured it could be used as a day mark.

The auxiliary light was electrified in 1957, with the main light and fog signal following suit in 1981. Shortly afterwards, the station was automated and placed in the hands of part-time attendant.

St. John’s Point Lighthouse has a cylindrical, slightly tapering tower which reaches 40 metres (130 feet) high. The light has a range of 25 nautical miles.

To be continued…..