Worldwide Lighthouses

Farne Lighthouse


General Information

Established: 1673

Current Lighthouse Built: 1811

Automated: 1910

Electrified: 1996

Operator: Trinity House

Designer: Daniel Alexander

Light Information

White: 10 Nautical Miles

Red: 7 Nautical Miles Between (136°) and (292°)

The Lighthouse on the Isle of Farne (Sometimes called 'Inner Farne' and not long ago spelt 'Farn') was built in 1811 to the design of Daniel Alexander and was once one of a pair working in conjunction with a smaller wooden tower on the other end of the island, which was demolished in 1910 - at this time, a nearby fully-automatic lighthouse at Black Rock Point (Bamburgh) came into operation, and red sectors were added to the main light on inner farne, greatly improving navigation in the area.

The compound consists of a large white flat-roofed rectangular building, similar to those which were used for the production of acytelene to power the light, a single story keepers house and of course the light tower itself, which was joined to the housing by a short corridor.

The lighthouse, one of two major active lights on the archapeligo is a 13 metre high cylindrical brick tower, perched atop a sheer cliff face, which gives the rather short tower a lot of added height. The light was at first installed with reflectors and Argand lamps, which produced a fixed white light.

In 1825 Trinity House bought out the lease for the ownership of the light on Inner Farne and in 1910 it became one of the first lighthouses to be automated, thanks to a clever invention known as a 'sun valve', which automatically cut off a gas supply in the daytime, and turned it back on at night - amazingly, this system was hardly changed for 96 years, when the station was converted to solar energy in 2006. It was to be one of the first automations in the Trinity House automation programme - a process which took over 88 years to complete.

Today, the light is shown using a 1st Order Catadioptric Fixed Lens - it shows a mostly white light, with a red sector showing between 136° and 292°.

The station is now monitored via a telemetry link from the Trinity House depot in Harwich, Essex.

The tower, visible from the mainland is best seen by taking a boat trip from Seahouses to Inner Farne - these run most of the year, depending on the weather.