Kinnaird Head Lighthouse

Last updated

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse

Lighthouses at Kinnaird Head - - 685051.jpg

Kinnaird Head current lighthouse (left) and the historical (right)
Aberdeenshire UK relief location map.jpg
Lighthouse icon centered.svg
Location Kinnaird Head
Coordinates 57°41′51.8″N2°0′14.2″W / 57.697722°N 2.003944°W / 57.697722; -2.003944 Coordinates: 57°41′51.8″N2°0′14.2″W / 57.697722°N 2.003944°W / 57.697722; -2.003944
Year first constructed 1787 (first)
1824 (second)
Year first lit 1991 (current)
Automated 1991
Deactivated 1991 (second)
Construction stone tower (second)
fiber glass (current)
Tower shape cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern rising from a castle (second)
cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern (current)
Markings / pattern white tower, black lantern, ochre trim (second)
white tower and lantern (current)
Height 22 metres (72 ft) (second)
10 metres (33 ft) (current)
Focal height 25 metres (82 ft) (current)
Intensity 690,000 candela
Range 22 nautical miles (41 km; 25 mi)
Characteristic F. W 5s.
Fog signal siren: discontinued
Admiralty number A3332
NGA number 2808
ARLHS number SCO-113 (second)
SCO-112 (current)
Managing agent

Museum of Scottish Lighthouses [1]


The Kinnaird Head Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on Kinnaird Head, in Fraserburgh, Scotland. The current light is the second to be built on the headland, superseding the original which now forms part of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

Lighthouse structure designed to emit light to aid navigation

A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and to serve as a navigational aid for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.

Kinnaird Head

Kinnaird Head is a headland projecting into the North Sea, within the town of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire on the east coast of Scotland. The 16th-century Kinnaird Castle was converted in 1787 for use as the Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, the first lighthouse in Scotland to be lit by the Commissioners of Northern Lights. Kinnaird Castle and the nearby Winetower were described by W. Douglas Simpson as two of the nine castles of the Knuckle, referring to the rocky headland of north-east Aberdeenshire. The lighthouse is a category A listed building. and the Winetower is a scheduled monument.

Fraserburgh Town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Fraserburgh is a Parish town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland with a population recorded in the 2011 Census at 13,100. It lies at the far northeast corner of Aberdeenshire, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Aberdeen, and 17 miles (27 km) north of Peterhead. It is the biggest shellfish port in Scotland and one of the largest in Europe, landing over 5,450 tonnes in 2016. Fraserburgh is also a major port for white and pelagic fish.



The original light at Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was established by Thomas Smith on 1 December 1787. [3] A lantern was set 120 feet (37 m) above the sea on a tower of the old castle. Whale oil lamps produced a fixed light, each backed by a parabolic reflector. Kinnaird Head was the most powerful light of its time, and contained 17 reflectors arranged in 3 horizontal tiers. It was reported to be visible from 12 to 14 miles (10 to 12 nmi; 19 to 23 km).

Thomas Smith (engineer) Scottish businessman and early lighthouse engineer

Thomas Smith (1752–1814) was a Scottish businessman and early lighthouse engineer.

In 1824, internal alternations were made to construct a new lighthouse tower through the original castle tower. This tower supported a new lantern and reflector array by Robert Stevenson (civil engineer).

Robert Stevenson (civil engineer) Scottish civil engineer and famed designer and builder of lighthouses

Robert Stevenson, FRSE, FGS, FRAS, FSA Scot, MWS was a Scottish civil engineer and famed designer and builder of lighthouses.

In 1851 Robert's son, Alan Stevenson, installed a first order dioptric lens at Kinnaird Head. The lens was standing and gave a fixed character. The site was further improved in 1853 with the site's first purpose built accommodation blocks designed by brothers David and Thomas Stevenson.

Alan Stevenson Scottish lighthouse designer

Alan StevensonFRSE LLD MInstCE was a Scottish lighthouse engineer who was Engineer to the Board of Northern Lighthouses. Among his notable works is the Skerryvore Lighthouse.

Thomas Stevenson British engineer

Thomas StevensonPRSE MInstCE FRSSA FSAScot was a pioneering Scottish lighthouse designer and meteorologist, who designed over thirty lighthouses in and around Scotland, as well as the Stevenson screen used in meteorology. His designs, celebrated as ground breaking, ushered in a new era of lighthouse creation.

David Alan Stevenson further upgraded the site in 1902 by installing a flashing lens apparatus. The hyperradiant fresnel lens gave one flash every fifteen seconds and was visible for 25-27 miles. The lens was designed by David and his brother Charles Alexander Stevenson, and was made by the Chance Brothers. Only nine Scottish lights were given hyperradials, Hyskeir and Kinnaird Head being the only stations to retain their hyperradials today. A foghorn was also built and was operational from 1903 giving a 7-second blast every 90 seconds.

David Alan Stevenson FRSE MIME FRSSA MICE was a lighthouse engineer who built twenty six lighthouses in and around Scotland.

Charles Alexander Stevenson British lighthouse builder

Charles Alexander Stevenson MICE MIEE FRSE was a Scottish lighthouse engineer who built twenty three lighthouses in and around Scotland.

Chance Brothers

Chance Brothers and Company was a glassworks originally based in Spon Lane, Smethwick, West Midlands, in England. It was a leading glass manufacturer and a pioneer of British glassmaking technology.

In 1906 the light was converted to incandescent operation. In 1929 Kinnaird Head became home to the first radio beacon in Scotland. [3] The Fog Signal was discontinued in 1987, although the horn is still in place. The original lighthouse is no longer operational and is now home to The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. A new automatic light was established beside the original light in 1991.

In 2012 the old Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was lit for two anniversary celebrations. First, on 2 June 2012 the light was exhibited in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This coincided with the lighting of the NLB's Queen's Diamond Jubilee Beacon at Kinnaird Head Lighthouse. Secondly, the light was exhibited on 1 December 2012 in celebration of Kinnaird Head's 225th anniversary. The light was lit at 3.31pm, and extinguished at 8.30am the next morning, marking a full 17-hour shift. On that occasion Kinnaird Head was the only manned lighthouse in the British Isles, albeit outwith NLB service. Both events were organised by the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

See also

Related Research Articles

Longships Lighthouse lighthouse in Cornwall, England

Longships Lighthouse is an active 19th century lighthouse about 1.25 mi (2.01 km) off the coast of Land's End in Cornwall, England. It is the second lighthouse to be built on Carn Bras, the highest of the Longships islets which rises 39 feet (12 m) above high water level. In 1988 the lighthouse was automated, and the keepers withdrawn. It is now remotely monitored from the Trinity House Operations & Planning Centre in Harwich.

Marblehead Light (Ohio) lighthouse in Ohio, United States

Marblehead Lighthouse in Marblehead, Ohio, United States, is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the United States side of the Great Lakes. It has guided sailors safely along the rocky shores of Marblehead Peninsula since 1822, and is an active aid to navigation.

Northern Lighthouse Board non-departmental public body responsible for marine navigation aids

The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) is the General Lighthouse Authority for Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is a non-departmental public body responsible for marine navigation aids around coastal areas.

North Foreland headland on the Kent coast of southeast England

North Foreland is a chalk headland on the Kent coast of southeast England.

Bald Head Light oldest lighthouse in North Carolina, United States

Bald Head Lighthouse, known as Old Baldy, is the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina. It is the second of three lighthouses that have been built on Bald Head Island since the 19th century to help guide ships past the dangerous shoals at the mouth of the Cape Fear river.

History of lighthouses

The history of lighthouses refers to the development of the use of towers, buildings, or other types of structure, as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.


Cloch or Cloch Point is a point on the coast of the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. There has been a lighthouse since 1797 to warn ships off The Gantocks.

Covesea Skerries Lighthouse lighthouse near Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland

Covesea Skerries Lighthouse, originally belonging to the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB), is built on top of a small headland on the south coast of the Moray Firth at Covesea, near Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland.

Lindesnes Lighthouse lighthouse in Norway

Lindesnes Lighthouse is a coastal lighthouse at the southernmost tip of Norway, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of the village of Høllen in Lindesnes municipality in Vest-Agder county. The present lighthouse was built in 1915, although the station was first built in 1656 to mark the entrance to the Skaggerak and the Baltic Sea from the North Sea. The current 16.1-metre (53 ft) tall lighthouse is cast iron with a granite foundation. The lighthouse is painted white, with a red top. The light sits at an elevation of 50.1 metres (164 ft) and it emits a fixed and flashing white light that is always on and it rotates between a low intensity and high intensity light every 20 seconds. The light comes from a first order Fresnel lens that can be seen for up to 17.7 nautical miles.

Point of Ayre Lighthouse lighthouse on the Isle of Man

The Point of Ayre Lighthouse is an active 19th century lighthouse, sited at the Point of Ayre at the north-eastern end of the Isle of Man. It was designed and built by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of prolific writer and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson, and was first lit in 1818, making it the oldest operational lighthouse on the island.

Lowestoft Lighthouse lighthouse in Waveney, Suffolk, England

Lowestoft Lighthouse is a lighthouse operated by Trinity House located to the north of the centre of Lowestoft in the English county of Suffolk. It stands on the North Sea coast close to Ness Point, the most easterly point in the United Kingdom. It acts as a warning light for shipping passing along the east coast and is the most easterly lighthouse in the UK.

Noss Head Lighthouse lighthouse near Wick in Caithness in the Highland council area of Scotland

The Noss Head Lighthouse is an active 19th century lighthouse near Wick in Caithness in the Highland council area of Scotland. It is located at the end of Noss Head, a peninsula on the north-west coast of Caithness that overlooks Sinclairs Bay three miles north-east of Wick. It is notable as being the first lighthouse that was built with a diagonally paned lantern room.

South Pass Light

The South Pass Light, also known as the Port Eads LighthouseSouth Point Light, or Gordon's Island Light, are a pair of lighthouses located on Gordon's Island at South Pass, in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana (USA), one of the primary entrances to the Mississippi River Delta from the Gulf of Mexico. The light station was established in 1831 and is still active.

Maughold Head Lighthouse lighthouse on the Isle of Man

Maughold Head Lighthouse is an active 20th century lighthouse, located on the headland of the same name at the southern end of Ramsey Bay on the eastern coast of the Isle of Man. Completed in 1914, it was designed by David A and Charles Stevenson.

Swallowtail Lighthouse lighthouse in New Brunswick, Canada

The Swallowtail Lighthouse is a Canadian lighthouse located on Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy. It was the first lighthouse to be built on the island. It was first lit on 7 July 1860 and was automated and de-staffed in 1986.

Girdle Ness Lighthouse lighthouse in Aberdeen, Scotland

Girdle Ness Lighthouse is situated near Torry Battery on the Girdle Ness peninsula just south of the entrance to Aberdeen's harbour, in Scotland. It is an active light, managed by the Northern Lighthouse Board.


  1. Kinnaird Head The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 11 May 2016
  2. Kinnaird Head Northern Lighthouse Board. Retrieved 11 May 2016
  3. 1 2 "Kinnaird Head". Northern Lighthouse Board . Retrieved 17 January 2011.