Noss Head

Noss Head Lighthouse is situated near Wick, Caithness Head. It was established in 1849 and engineered by Alan Stevenson.


The name Noss Head comes from the Old Norse word, Snos, a nose, the peak of nose-shaped headland.

The lighthouse was completed in 1849 by Mr Robert Arnot of Inverness, and the light was first exhibited on Monday 18 June 1849. A new style of lantern with diagonal instead of vertical framing was first used by Stevenson at Noss Head. Stronger and less liable to intercept light in any particular direction, it was adopted as the standard pattern for the service. The original lamp from Noss Head is now in the museum at Wick.

The lens which is approximately 6ft in diameter rotates by clockwork machinery around a mercury vapour lamp.

An access road from Wick to Noss Head was bult by the unemployed poor of the area who were paid 3/6d per day.

The following poem, written by James G Duncan, hangs framed in the lightroom:-

To Noss Head Light

As sweet to me as light of moon or star,
Is thy bright gleam, old trusty friend Noss Head
And doubly sweet, when o’er wide ocean far
The ray benignant on my course is shed
Blest be the hand that raised your steadfast tower
And he who trims you never-falling light
For oft when round me midnight tempests lower
Hope’s pulse had failed, but for thy flash so bright
My gallant boat, though scare inch-thick her planks
Flies livelier on the track that heads her home
And dips her prow, as if in grateful thanks
When first you welcome ray reveals the billows foam
Long where the nights and weary were my watch
If from the lively deck thy flame I did not catch.

The Light was automated in 1987.


Year Established



Alan Stevenson


Latitude   58°28.761'N
Longitude 003°03.085'W


Flashing White every 20 seconds


53 metres


18 nautical miles


White stone tower, 18 metres high. There are 76 steps to top of tower

Public Access


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