Kinnaird Head Lighthouse – 1787

According to records, the original light at Kinnaird Head was established on 1 December 1787. A lantern was set at a height of 120 feet above the sea on a corner of a tower of an old castle in Fraserburgh. Fixed lights only were shown at this stage, produced by arrays of lamps burning whale oil, each of them backed by its own parabolic reflector made up of a multitude of facets of silvered mirror-glass set on a plaster mould. Kinnaird Head was the most powerful light of its time, and contained 17 reflectors arranged in 3 horizontal tiers. In clear weather according to Murdoch Downie’s New Pilot of 1791, the light could be seen 12 or 14 miles off. Two ‘firsts’ for Kinnaird Head were (a) the first Lighthouse built in Scotland by the Commissioners of Northern Lights (founded in 1786) and (b) the first Radio Beacon in Scotland was introduced in 1929 at Kinnaird Head. (courtesy of NLB)


  1. Fantastic photo, Scott. The sky is magnificent. I was also intrigued by all the wooden posts, but then I saw you answer to Mark’s query. 🙂

  2. Great shot…wish I had got that one. I know it is years since I was last there but I cannot remember the drying posts…as they are traditional they must have been there. Note to self…open your eyes next time! I do recall an old wine loft next to the lighthouse so assume that will now form part of the museum.

    1. It is entirely possible David that there were fewer – as you can see some have been recently replaced (I think as the colour is devoid of weathering – but on the whole they appear the real deal. The wine loft is there but the back drop of the harbour (where the best light was – did not appeal) perhaps a morning light shot for the wine loft. But I have few more ideas for another trip.

    1. Fish net drying I believe Mark – this place is now a museum – you get a full tour fabulous day complete with a viewing of the last wreck of the coast in 2005

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