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Boddam, Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Lighthouse (19th Century)

Site Name Boddam, Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Classification Lighthouse (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Boddam; Buchanness Lighthouse

Canmore ID 120265

Site Number NK14SW 73

NGR NK 13624 42263

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NK14SW 73.00 13624 42263

Lighthouse [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1983.

NK14SW 73.01 NK 1350 4231 access bridge

(Location cited as NK 137 423). Buchan Ness Lighthouse. Built 1827, engineer Robert Stevenson. A tall tower with lantern 130ft (39.6m) above sea level, painted in red and white stripes, with a walkway supported on corbles with arched openings. There are two blocks of ancillary buildings (one of them flat-roofed) and the tower itself rises from a circular one-storey base. On an island, connected to the shore by a 3-span concrete bridge.

J R Hume 1977.

As built, Buchan Ness was fitted with the first flashing light in a Scottish lighthouse. It received a dioptric light system (with an enlarged lantern to allow cleaning) in 1910, was electified in 1978, and has been fitted with a Racon beacon.

D B Hague and R Christie 1975; R W Munro 1979; K Allardyce and E M Hood 1986.

Air photographs: AAS/94/18/G38/29-30.

NMRS, MS/712/21.

Aside from a lighthouse, this complex also includes a concrete bridge, built 1963, linking the island to the main land and a row of keepers' cottages. A RCAHMS photographic survey was carried out, during February 1998, in order to enhance the National Monuments Record of Scotland holdings.

Visited by RCAHMS (MKO), February 1998.


Construction (1827)

Light established 1827.

J R Hume 1977

Incident (1939 - 1945)

Slight damage to tower and dwelling houses as a result of a mine explosion during WW2.

K Allardyce and E M Hood 1986

Publication Account (2007)

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

The light at this lighthouse on the coast at Boddam, built for the Northern Lighthouse Board, was first exhibited in 1827 at a height of about 130 ft above high-water level.

The circularmasonry to wer, 118 ft highwith 166 steps, and light keepers’ accommodation, was designed by Robert Stevenson and built by contractor John Gibb. In 1907, on the instructions of David A. Stevenson, a broad red band was painted on the tower to distinguish it as a day mark.

Stevenson’s ‘twinkling’ light, produced from an array of Argand burners with silvered copper reflectors revolvingmore quickly than any previous light, was a success. In 1879 Lord Kelvin considered it one of the three best

revolving lights in the world. In order to accommodate a dioptric lens in 1910 a sector of the lantern had to be projected out in the form of shallow bay.

The lighthouse station is situated on a rocky promontory which was at one time an island and in 1834 was connected to Boddam by means of a timber bridge with nine spans of about 20 ft. The bridge was about 17 ft high and 8 ft wide and was erected by John Gibb under Stevenson’s direction for about £200.

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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