Worldwide Lighthouses

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Buchan Ness

General Information


Established: 1827

Current Lighthouse Built: 1827

Height: 35 Metres (114.83 Feet)

Automated: 1988

Electrified: 1978

Operator: Northern Lighthouse Board

Designer: Robert Stevenson

Light Information


White: 28 Nautical Miles

Petitions were drawn up and requests were made by local town councils and trustees of Peterhead for the Northern Lighthouse Board to build a Lighthouse in the area around Buchan Ness, near the busy port of Peterhead, as early as 1819.

The Lighthouse was built in 1827 on a small Island called, reached from the village of Boddam, by a small bridge.

The tower is constructed from large blocks of local granite and stands 35 metres in height. The gallery around the top of the tower is decorated in a style similar to the Egyptian Styles used at Ardnamurchan Point and Covesea Skerries, although unlike them, the Keeper's houses nor any other features of the design follow this style.

At the base of the tower is a semi-circular tower, giving access from the outside, as well as directly from the Keeper's house, unlike some stations at which the tower is separated. Between the two houses is a courtyard with a high wall to protect it from the wind.

The tower was left as natural stone-colour when it was built, but it was painted white with a broad red band half way up, giving its distinctive daymark seen here, in 1907

During WWII, like several Lighthouses along this coast, it was damaged by explosives. In Buchan's case, it was a floating mine that washed ashore and exploded 45 meters to the south of the Walled Compound. The resulting damage was the destruction of 3 glass panes in the Lantern, 20 panes destroyed in the houses, engine room and tower itself, Locks, hinges and bolts of 4 doors being damaged as well the ceilings of the 1st Assistant's Kitchen and Bedroom collapsing and 20 slates being blown from the Store Room's roof. Amazingly, no one was injured.

There are 166 steps to the lantern room, which was extended outwards towards Peterhead slightly in 1978, to allow for the range of the light to be increased in that direction without the removal of the 1910 to dioptric lens system, which remains in place today. At this time, the light was also electrified.

The light currently gives 1 White flash every 5 seconds, giving a beam visible for over 28 Nautical Miles.

A Racon radio beacon replaced the fog horn at the Lighthouse in 2000, although it remains in place. The fog horn which is seen today replaced an earlier one, which like other fog horns picked up a nickname; The Buchan Coo. The Racon beacon, which aids ships during weather in which the light can not be seen, transmits a signal with a distinctive character, which enables the vessel to gain an idea of location; it is mounted on the gallery above the Emergency Light, which is formed of several LED units.

Today, the Lighthouse remains fully functional and is remotely controlled from Edinburgh, whilst the Keeper's Houses, which are now surplus to the requirements of the Northern Lighthouse Board have been sold off to private owners who rent the cottages as holiday accommodation.