St Abbs Head

St Abbs Head Lighthouse was built by David and Thomas Stevenson. It is listed as a building of Architectural/Historic interest.


The Lighthouse stands on the cliffs at the rocky promontory of St Abb’s Head, near the village of St Abbs in Berwickshire. After the sinking of the Martello steamship on Carr Rocks in the Firth of Forth in 1857, the Northern Lighthouse Board recommended that a lighthouse be built on St Abb’s Head. The lighthouse would help with navigation before and after sight of the Bell Rock and Isle of May lights, was lost.

The lighthouse was built by Engineers David and Thomas Stevenson and the light was first exhibited on 24 February 1862. The original oil burning light was converted to incandescent in 1906 and to electric operation in 1966.

A siren fog signal driven by hot air engines was established at the lighthouse in 1876. This was the first siren fog signal in Scotland. The hot air engines were replaced by oil driven ones in 1911 and by diesel engines in December 1955. The fog signal was discontinued in 1987.

St Abb’s Head was the communication control station for the Firth of Forth lighthouses.

An experimental Racon (Radio Beacon) was established in 1961 and made permanent in March 1968. This was later replaced by a low-power self-operating type.

The 300 feet cliff at St Abb’s Head is often obscured by fog and the light is shown at 255 feet from a lantern reached by a flight of steps leading down the cliff from the lightkeepers’ house above.

St Abb’s Head Lighthouse was automated in 1993.

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.


Year Established



David & Thomas Stevenson


Latitude   55°54.979'N
Longitude 002°08.286'W


Flashing White every 10 secs


68 metres


18 nautical miles


White tower 9 metres high

Public Access


The St Abbs Visitor Centre

Visit their website

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