Shine a light on 5 of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire's Lighthouses
6 August 2021
August 7th is ‘National Lighthouse Day’ so we’re shining a light on five of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s lighthouses and the history behind these lifesaving buildings. We have lighthouses built into castles, bombed in WWII and some you can even stay in.
You can celebrate National Lighthouse Day by following the latest art sculpture trail: 'Light the North'. Clan Cancer Support, in partnership with Wild in Art, have placed forty-five 2.5m tall lighthouses throughout Aberdeenshire and the surrounding communities. The sculptures are designed by some of the UK's most talented artists and will be available to find until mid-October. How many will you spot?
Kinnaird Head Lighthouse
Here’s one to add to the bucket list; Kinnaird Head, in Fraserburgh, is the only lighthouse in the world to be built in a castle and it also happens to be Scotland’s very first lighthouse built in 1787. In 1824 when structural problems came to light (no pun intended), Robert Stevenson - grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson (famous Scottish novelist who wrote Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886) and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)) - engineered a foundation through the heart of the castle complete with a spiral staircase.
Designed by Robert Stevenson and built in 1833, Girdleness Lighthouse at Torry Battery stands near the entrance of the River Dee. The lighthouse was requested from the shipmaster of Aberdeen after a whaling ship called the Oscar was shipwrecked in 1813 and out of a crew of 45, only two survived.
During WWII in 1944, the doors and windows were damaged due to a mine drifting ashore and exploding. Fun fact: there are 182 steps to the top of the tower which stands at 37 metres high.
Buchan Ness Lighthouse
Buchan Ness Lighthouse was established in 1827 and engineered by, once again, Robert Stevenson. The distinguishing red bands were hand painted on the tower in 1907 and has 166 steps to the top of the tower. During World War II a drifting mine washed ashore and exploded 50 yards from the station. The blast caused some damage to the lighthouse including bringing down a bedroom from the assistant’s house.
Nowadays you can enjoy a little R&R at Buchan Ness Lighthouse with a stay in one of the cottages. Imagine waking up to the smell of the salty sea air, listening to the gentle encore of the waves crashing against the shore and seeing the sun shining through the curtains. Walking outside your cottage and looking up to see Buchan Ness lighthouse.
Rattray Head Lighthouse
The lighthouse was established in 1895 off the Aberdeenshire coast just 10 miles north of Fraserburgh and engineered by David Alan Stevenson. Rattray Head Lighthouse is a listed building of Architectural and Historical interest. The lower section of the lighthouse is 46 feet high and built from 20,000 cubic feet of dressed granite blocks which were most quarried at Rubislaw.
During World War II in September 1941 an enemy plane circled the lighthouse and dropped three bombs. The lantern was even machine-gunned but surprisingly this didn’t seriously impair the efficiency of the lighthouse nor was anyone injured during the attack.
Tod Head Lighthouse
Designed by David A Stevenson, Tod Head Lighthouse was first lit in 1897 and was decommissioned 110 years later. Situated in Kinneff, the lighthouse is now used as a private residence and offers spectacular views of the surrounding coast.
Don't forget to tag us in your captures of these wonderful landmarks, or use our hashtags #visitABDN or #beautifulABDN to give us permission to share. For more information on the Light the North sculpture trail, please click here.