St Abb's Head Lighthouse

St Abb's Head Lighthouse stands on the cliffs at the rocky promontory of St Abb's Head, near the village of St Abbs in Berwickshire.

St Abbs Head Lighthouse
The lighthouse and foghorn
LocationSt. Abb's Head
United Kingdom
Coordinates55°54′57.9″N 2°08′19.0″W
Year first constructed1862
Constructionmasonry building
Tower shapelantern on the roof of a 1-storey service building
Markings / patternwhite building, black lantern
Tower height9 metres (30 ft)
Focal height68 metres (223 ft)
Light sourcemains power
Intensity3,000,000 candela
Range26 nautical miles (48 km; 30 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 10s.
Admiralty numberA2850
NGA number2320
ARLHS numberSCO-224
Managing agentNational Trust for Scotland[1] [2]
Heritagecategory B listed building 

A signal station was established on the cliffs before 1820 and the facilities were shared by Trinity House and Her Majesty's Coastguard. The Northern Lighthouse Board recommended the building of a lighthouse at St Abb's Head after the sinking of the "Martello" on Carr Rock in 1857. The lighthouse was designed and built by the brothers David Stevenson and Thomas Stevenson and assisted navigation before and after sight of the Bell Rock and Isle of May lights disappeared from view. The light began service on 24 February 1862 and initially used oil to generate its light, it was converted to incandescent power in 1906 and to electricity in 1966 and finally automated in 1993. Before automation the lighthouse was staffed by three full-time keepers whose duties included keeping detailed weather records. The lighthouse has two km of single track tarmaced road leading to it from the main road near St Abbs village, however it is suggested by the National Trust for Scotland that it is only used by disabled visitors and there is limited parking. Visitors can walk to the Head where the lighthouse's buildings, though still in good repair, are not open to the public. A foghorn was established at the Head in 1876, being the first audible fog signal in Scotland. The original foghorn was driven by hot air engines before being replaced by oil driven ones in 1911 and then by diesel engines in December 1955. The fog signal was discontinued in 1987 although the horn is still in place and can be reached at the edge of the cliffs by a railed path from the lighthouse.[3][4]

See also


  1. St Abbs The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 12 May 2016
  2. St Abbs Head Northern Lighthouse Board. Retrieved 12 May 2016
  3. Northern Lighthouse Board. Gives details of Lighthouse.
  4. National Trust for Scotland Information leaflet on St Abbs Head, Gives general information on the Head.

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