The Lighthouse at Barns Ness was built by David A Stevenson, Engineer to the Commissioners. The light was first exhibited on 1 October 1901, approximately 2½ years after building operations commenced. The tower is 121 feet high, and is constructed of stone from Craigree (near Cramond) and Barnton quarries, as are the other buildings. The stone has proved to be tough as Barns Ness was machine gunned during the War, and no damage was sustained. Until 11 July 1966, the lighthouse was manned by two lightkeepers; it then changed to one keeper as the light was being converted to semi-automatic operation. A sealed beam light, powered by mains electricity, replaced the old mantle and paraffin-operated light. The candlepower of the light was 1,300,000 and was the first of its type to be used in the Commissioners' Service. The optical equipment consisted of a gearless pedestal, manufactured by AGA (UK) Ltd, on which was mounted an array of eighteen sealed beam lamps, similar to modern car headlights. The gearless pedestal operated from a 12 volt DC supply and battery standbys for both these and the lamps were available. In the event of failure of the mains electricity supply a standby generator automatically starts up. If this generator fails to start, then the light is operated from batteries. The lighthouse was automated in 1986 and is now remotely monitored from the Board’s headquarters in Edinburgh. It should be noted that at some sites the Northern Lighthouse Board have sold some redundant buildings within the lighthouse complex and are not responsible for the maintenance of these building. In January 2005, the three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) of the UK and Ireland issued a consultation document following a joint review of Aids to Navigation of the coasts of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Review addressed the current and future requirements of national and international shipping and those of Mariners. Each Aid to Navigation - light, buoy or beacon - was studied in isolation, as well as in relation to the other Aids to Navigation in its vicinity. As a result of this review it was agreed to discontinue the light at Barns Ness, which only served as 'waypoint'. Barns Ness Lighthouse was therefore permanently discontinued with effect from 27 October 2005.
To report any defects or damage to any of our aids to navigation please telephone our 24 hour freephone emergency number 08000 326655.