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Rattray Head Lighthouse

Lighthouse (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Rattray Head Lighthouse

Classification Lighthouse (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Rattray Light; Ron Rock; The Ron

Canmore ID 107258

Site Number NK15NW 2

NGR NK 11064 57807

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/107258

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Crimond
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Banff And Buchan
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Summary Record

This lighthouse was built by David Alan Stevenson in 1895, about 0.5km off the Aberdeenshire coast. A sturdy granite tower about 16.8m in diameter and 13.4m high forms the base and is sufficiently commodious to house the engine-room for a powerful foghorn; set asymmetrically upon this there is a smaller brick tower, giving a total height of 27.75m.

Construction work was begun in 1892 and the masonry of both portions of the tower was completed in 16 months, spread over three seasons. The lower section comprised 20,000 cu ft of dressed granite blocks (mostly quarried at Rubislaw) and was 46 ft high with an entrance door reached by a 32 ft outside ladder; the upper (with a base diameter of 21 ft as compared with the 55 ft of the other) rises a further 44 ft and is built of enamelled white brick, coped with granite 3 ft thick. Another 25 ft for the lightroom, lantern and dome gives a total height of 120 ft above the rock. The engine room is at the entrance level and the upper tower and siren are planted on a platform known colloquially as the 'quarter deck'. The five-wick paraffin lamp, when first lit in 1895, had a candle-power of 44,000, compared with 6,500 at neighbouring Buchan Ness.

The light was electrified in 1977.

D B Hague and R Christie 1975; R W Munro 1979.

Archaeology Notes

NK15NW 2 11064 57807

Lighthouse [NAT]

OS 1:10m,000 map, 1975.

Rattray Head Lighthouse

(flashing white) [NAT]

OS (GIS) AIB, May 2006.

For associated shore station (NK 1025 5770), see NK15NW 3.

Lighthouse (NK 111 578) and Keepers' Houses (NK 103 577: NK15NW 3). An unusual structure with a massive circular masonry base supporting a circular-section tower 120 ft (37m) high.

J R Hume 1977.

This lighthouse was built by David Alan Stevenson in 1895, about 0.5km off the Aberdeenshire coast. A sturdy granite tower about 16.8m in diameter and 13.4m high forms the base and is sufficiently commodious to house the engine-room for a powerful foghorn; set asymmetrically upon this there is a smaller brick tower, giving a total height of 27.75m.

Construction work was begun in 1892 and the masonry of both portions of the tower was completed in 16 months, spread over three seasons. The lower section comprised 20,000 cu ft of dressed granite blocks (mostly quarried at Rubislaw) and was 46 ft high with an entrance door reached by a 32 ft outside ladder; the upper (with a base diameter of 21 ft as compared with the 55 ft of the other) rises a further 44 ft and is built of enamelled white brick, coped with granite 3 ft thick. Another 25 ft for the lightroom, lantern and dome gives a total height of 120 ft above the rock. The engine room is at the entrance level and the upper tower and siren are planted on a platform known colloquially as the 'quarter deck'. The five-wick paraffin lamp, when first lit in 1895, had a candle-power of 44,000, compared with 6,500 at neighbouring Buchan Ness.

The light was electrified in 1977.

D B Hague and R Christie 1975; R W Munro 1979.

Air photographs: AAS/97/12/G25/10-11 and AAS/97/12/CT.

NMRS, MS/712/29.

Activities

Construction (1895)

Light established in 1895.

K Allardyce 1998

Modification (1982)

Automated in 1982.

K Allardyce 1998

Publication Account (2007)

Rattray Head Lighthouse

This lighthouse, built from 1892–95 under the direction of David A. and Charles Stevenson for the Northern Lighthouse Board, stands on a rock outcrop several hundred yards offshore. It was one of the Board’s most novel lighthouses with a first-class foghorn and engine room below the light tower, the first such to be installed in a rock lighthouse. The lower section of the tower is 55 ft diameter and 46 ft high and built of 20 000 cu. ft of dressed granite blocks, mostly quarried at Rubislaw. It has an entrance door reached by a 32 ft outside ladder. At high water the rock is covered to a depth of about 7 ft, but it is possible to walk ashore at low tide.

On top of this lower tower section a light towerwith a base diameter of 21 ft, built of enamelled white brick, rises a further 44 ft and is coped with granite 3 ft thick. Above thisis the light room, bringing the total height of the lighthouse to 112 ft. The platform on top of the lower section on which the

upper tower and siren are placed was known by the light keepers as the ‘quarter deck’.

R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Highlands and Islands' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.

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