Tarbat Ness Lighthouse

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Tarbat Ness Lighthouse


Tarbet ness.jpg
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse
Location: Tarbat Ness
Grid reference: NH94708756
Location: 57°51’54"N, 3°46’36"W
Height: 135 feet
Tower shape: tapered cylindrical tower
with bacony and lantern
Tower marking: white tower with two red bands,
black lantern, ochre trim
Light: Fl (4) W 30s.
Focal height: 174 feet
Range: 24 nautical miles
Light source: mains power
Admiralty No.: A3506
Built 1830
Architect: Robert Stevenson
Owned by: Northern Lighthouse Board
Website: Tarbat Ness Lighthouse (NLB)

The Tarbat Ness Lighthouse stands at Tarbat Ness, the jutting headland at the is located at the north-west tip of the Tarbat Peninsula, near the fishing village of Portmahomack looking out on the open North Sea on the east coast of Great Britain. The ness and the light are in a detached part of Cromartyshire.

The lighthouse was built in 1830 by Robert Stevenson. It has an elevation of 174 feet and 203 steps climb to the top of the tower.


Close up view of the Lighthouse

A storm in the Moray Firth in November 1826 saw the loss of 16 vessels and brought many applications for lighthouses to be constructed at Tarbat Ness and at Covesea Skerries.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse was engineered by Robert Stevenson for the Northern Lighthouse Board and the light was first exhibited on 26 January 1830. James Smith of Inverness was the contractor responsible for the building of the lighthouse which cost £9,361. The lighthouse tower is the third tallest in Scotland, behind only North Ronaldsay and Skerryvore, and is noted as a sea-mark for having two distinguishing broad red bands.

Bella Bathurst's 1999 'The Lighthouse Stevensons' refers to a rescue made by the principal keeper William Davidson of 4 of the 5 crew members of a Norwegian schooner. No date given for this. She mentions this in the context that Robert Stevenson required keepers to stay with the light and not risk rescuing shipwrecked people. It seems that even with the light ships could still be driven ashore. She accessed the full entries of logs and diaries available at the Northern Lights Board.

Earthquake shocks were sometimes reported and Tarbat Ness once shook so that the shades and lamp glasses rattled.

According to local tradition, the site of the lighthouse was once a Roman fort and later used for witches' covens. Tarbat Ness is also a place of special interest for the observation of migratory birds.[1]

Probably the lighthouse was built on the foundations of a Roman fortification,[2] that were later identified in the Middle Ages as a "Roman landmark" near Port a' Chait (now called "Port a Chaistell").

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Tarbat Ness Lighthouse)


  1. Roman fort, according to local tradition
  2. [1] Roman foundations of the lighthouse
  • Tarbat Ness The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 12 May 2016</ref>
Old map of the Lighthouse showing the "Roman landmark" near Port a' Chait
Lighthouses of the Northern Lighthouse Board
Flag of the Commissioners

The Hebrides:   Barra HeadButt of LewisDubh ArtachEilean GlasFlannan IslandsHaskeirHyskeirLismoreMonachNeist PointOrnsayRinns of IslayRonaRuvaalScarinishSkerryvoreTiumpan HeadUshenishMinor lights

Orkney:   AuskerryBrough of BirsayCantick HeadCopinsayHoy Sound (High)Hoy Sound (Low)North RonaldsayNoup HeadPentland SkerriesStart PointTor NessMinor lights

Shetland:   BressayEshanessFair Isle NorthFair Isle SouthFirths VoeFoulaHoo StackMuckle FluggaOut SkerriesPoint of FethalandSumburgh HeadVe SkerriesMinor lights

Isle of Man:   Chicken RockDouglas HeadLangnessMaughold HeadPoint of AyreThousla Rock

Mainland and smaller island groups::   Ailsa CraigArdnamurchanBass RockBell RockBuchan NessCape WrathChanonryCorsewallCovesea SkerriesCrammag HeadDavaarDuncansby HeadDunnet HeadFidraFife NessGirdle NessHoly Island (Outer)InchkeithIsle of MayKinnaird HeadMull of GallowayMull of KintyreNorth RonaNoss HeadPladdaRattray HeadRubh ReSt Abbs HeadSandaScurdie NessStoer HeadStrathy PointStromaSule SkerryTarbat NessTurnberry