Worldwide Lighthouses

Barns Ness Lighthouse

Barns Ness

General Information


Established: 1901

Current Lighthouse Built: 1901

Height: 37 Metres (121.39 Feet)

Automated: 1986

Operator: Lafarge Companies

Designer: David Alan Stevenson

Light Information


White: 10 Nautical Miles

Barns Ness Lighthouse was commissioned by the NLB in 1899 and took 2 years to construct, finally having been completed in October 1901. The white tower is built from locally mined stone, from a quarry near Cramond, Edinburgh.

The tower is 37 metres high with 169 steps to the top and is painted white. At the top of the tower is a gold painted gallery and watch-room, supporting a black hectical lantern, built in Edingburgh.

The Lighthouse was manned originally by two keepers who lived in the houses at the base of the tower, but later the Light became staffed by just one Light Keeper, when it was semi-automated, with the introduction of Sealed Beam Units in 1966; the first station in Scotland to utilize this technology.

Full automation came about in 1986 and the Last Keeper left. The banks of Sealed Beam Units rotated on a gearless pedestal, causing little friction and requiring barely any power; this gave an Isophase Character, meaning that the light showed for as much time as it did not, giving a white beam visible for 4 seconds, followed by a period of darkness of the same length.

In 2005, a process of reviewing all Aids to Navigation was carried out by the Northern Lighthouse Board, who ruled that the Lighthouse at Barns Ness was no-longer required, resulting in it being discontinued.

Since then, the service road to the Lighthouse has been quarried through, and is impossible to drive or even walk down, due to several steep drops and mounds of dirt blocking the road. The Light is accessible however, by a new road built by the Lafarge Cement Company, who also own the Lighthouse.