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Kinnaird Lighthouse

aka Fraserburgh Lighthouse

Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire

Featured Location Guide

This was the first light station established by the Northern Lighthouse Board and is on the site of Kinnaird Castle. Along with the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse they were the first lights to be built in Scotland. It is located on a headland just northwest of Fraserburgh.

There is also a new lighthouse adjacent to this historic one, built in 1991 and still operational.

The new, current, light is on the left and the historic original lighthouse on the right.

Photo by John Allan

Kinnaird Castle was built in 1570 and sold to the trustess of the Northern Lights in 1787 who turned it into a lighthouse. The original tower was built in 1787 by Thomas Smith and then rebuilt in 1824 by his son-and-law Robert Stevenson, the founder of the Stevenson lighthouse dynasty. These alterations also included the building of additional buildings for the Lightkeepers. The present light stands within the framework of the tower.

A point of interest regarding the original light is that in 1787 a Mr James Park, Ship Master, was appointed "Keeper of the light" at 1/- per night, with the benefit of some ground, on condition that he had another person with him every night, who he was to instruct in the manner of cleaning the lantern and cleaning and lighting the lamps.

During the war it only received one near miss when two bombs fell and exploded just 50 yards from the buildings. It was also surprising as the nearby town of Fraserburgh was an ammunitions works, probably what saved it were some nearby tall chimneys on a fish processing factory, which the enemy raiders took their bearings from in the black out.

It was automated in 1991.


Sarah Charlesworth

A view of the new lighthouse and foghorn
from the top of the old castle lighthouse.

A legend associated with Kinnaird Head and the adjoining Wine Tower, situated on the edge of the cliff, tells a "Romeo and Juliet" type of story. The daughter of the owner there had the piper imprisoned in the cave beneath the tower onto the rocks below. To this day, visitors to the Lighthouse and the Tower can see the place where she fell, marked on the rocks in red paint. The story goes that, in the Piper's cave as it is known, the ghost of the piper can be heard playing for his lost love.

The Fraserburgh Wine Tower Photo from Geograph

The original lighthouse is now home to The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. It is open to the public, as is the lighthouse museum.

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses consists of the first lighthouse built on mainland Scotland, here at Kinnaird, and a purpose-built museum housing artefacts donated by the Northern Lighthouse Board and the general public. It has one of the world's largest collections of Fresnel lenses and lighthouse equipment from many lighthouses across Scotland.

The lighthouse guided tour lasts 45 minutes.

The museum building contains several galleries containing a collection of glass lenses, lighting technology and social history artefacts covering the lives of the men and families who guarded Scotland’s coastline for over two hundred years. There are audio-visual displays and interactive exhibits of the science and history. There is also a café with windows looking out onto the entrance of the Moray Firth, where you may get to see Whales, dolphins and all manner of bird life travelling past.

The Museums Entrance  Photo from Geograph

Lighthouse information Grid


Kinnaird Lighthouse, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire

Current status:


Geographic Position:

57° 41.105'N  002° 00.265'W

Grid Reference:


Ceremonial County:



White tower with lantern and gallery built atop a 16th century stone castle

Map Link:


Aerial photo:


Other photos:


Originally built:


Current lighthouse built:


Height of Tower:

10 metres

Height of light above mean sea level:

25 metres

Character of light:

Flashing White every 5 secs

Character of fog signal:


Range of light:

22 nautical miles

How powered:


Owned / run by:

Northern Lighthouse Board


Scotland's Lighthouse Museum     Open detail

Other Useful Websites:

Wikipedia       NLB 






Lighthouse Visit Planning Grid


Kinnaird Lighthouse, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire

Grid Reference: NJ998674
Getting there: From the A90 past Ellon take the A952 to Fraser burgh, head towards the centre of town and follow the museum signs from there.
Access: Site open, old tower 45 minute guided tours.




Kinnaird head

Stevenson Road



AB43 9DU


01346 511022


Opening times:

All year except December 25-26 and January 1-2.

Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12noon-5pm.
1st Jul-31Aug closes at 6pm, 1st Nov-31st Mar closes at 4pm


Adult £5. Student £4.50, OAP £4, Child (6-16) £2, Family (2+2) £12.40, (2+3) £14.20, (2+4) £16, school pupil £1

Best Times to Visit:  


Shop, cafe

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

visit the tower, and museum. Watch wildlife in the Moray Firth

What to take:


Nature highlights:

Whales, Dolphins, birds

Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:

For more articles, lists and other information see the Lighthouses Section

Lighthouse Map of Scotland

Featured List of lighthouses - Scotland 

List of minor lighthouses and lights - Scotland  

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By:  Tracey Park    Section: Lighthouses Key:
Page Ref: Kinnaird Topic: Lighthouses Last Updated: 06/2010


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