St Abbs Head

St Abbs Head Lighthouse
St Abbs Head
Current Version Built:
Height (ft):
David Stevenson and Thomas Stevenson
Northern Lighthouse Board

The lighthouse at St Abbs Head is a bit of an oddity among the Northern Lighthouse Board's lighthouses in that there is no tower - all of the elevation the light required came from the cliff it was built atop, and so the 9-metre-high structure is rather simply a service building crowned by a lantern room. Built in 1862 and designed by David and Thomas Stevenson, this light station is also notable for being one of the few in Scotland in which the lighthouse keepers' housing is higher up than the light's focal plane - a staircase leads down the cliff from the accomodation buildings at the top to the lighthouse further down.

The lantern contains a large fresnel lens which can produce a white light that is visible for up to 26 miles; it flashes once every 10 seconds.

The Lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1966 and was automated in 1993 and is now remotely monitored in Edinburgh.

The fog horn building further down the cliff than the lighthouse is another standard design used by the NLB, but it was the first of these. The red horn is on a pair of wheels that allow it to be pointed into the fog, to give the best sound. The siren was introduced in 1876 and became the first siren in scotland.

The horn gave one 3½ second blast every 45 seconds but was made redundant in 1987.