Worldwide Lighthouses

Bass Rock Lighthouse

Bass Rock

General Information


Established: 1903

Current Lighthouse Built: 1903

Height: 20 Metres (65.62 Feet)

Automated: 1988

Electrified: 1988

Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board

Designer: David Alan Stevenson

Light Information


White: 10 Nautical Miles

Bass rock, most famous for its colony of gannets, which give it it's distinctive white appearance, has throughout history been a danger to history, as have other large rocky islands in the Firth of Forth, such as the Isle of May.

In 1671, Charles I claimed the rock as property of the Royal Family and it was sold to them for £4,000 (roughly £332,200.00 in today's money) and served several functions, including a site for a fortress and later a state prison. The Rock was sold to a Sir Hugh Dalrymple in 1706 and since then has been let out to sheppards who wished to graze their sheep on the Island; something that happened until the turn of the First World War.

The Lighthouse was built on the rock to compliment the Light at Barns Ness, nearby. The tower is built to a design by David Alan Stevenson and is 20 meters in height, with added height given by the rock on which it stands.

The lantern has two galleries surrounding it; one for the service room, and a higher one giving access for cleaning the lantern's glass panes. The Light was powered by gas produced by burning parrafin oil, giving it a brilliant white flash; this remained the power source until the Station was Automated in 1988, when the original lighting aparatus and lenses were removed, to be replaced with electric Sealed Beam Units.

Today the Light gives the character of 3 white flashes every 20 seconds, visible for a range of 10 Nautical Miles and it is remotely controlled from the NLB headquarters, just over 23 miles away.

Scottish Sea Bird Centre offer boat trips around the island, although the Lighthouse and Rock can be seen clearly from certain points on the Mainland.