St Abbs Head

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


The lighthouse tower is listed as a building of Architectural/Historic interest.
After the sinking of the “Martello” on Carr Rock in 1857 the erection of a lighthouse on St Abb’s Head was recommended by the Northern Lighthouse Board. The lighthouse was to assist navigation before and after sight of the Bell Rock and Isle of May lights was lost.

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

A Siren Fog Signal was established at the lighthouse in 1876, being driven by hot air engines. These 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 first siren fog signal in Scotland.

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

An experimental Racon (Radio Beacon) was established in 1961 and finally established on a permanent basis in March 1968. This had now been replaced by a low-power self-operating type.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

See more NLB Lighthouses