Kinnaird Head Castle and Lighthouse
Kinnaird Head Castle and the adjacent Wine Tower are two of the best preserved structures of the ancient “nine castles of the knuckle” situated along the Buchan coast. The 16th century castle was built by the Frasers of Philorth to demonstrate dominance and power over their planned town of Fraserburgh. Falling out of fashion, the castle was sold to the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1787 to be converted into Scotland’s first mainland lighthouse, making Kinnaird Head unique among Scotland’s castles. As well as the tower itself, original features such as the old castle kitchens and elements of the grand hall can be seen by visitors.
Discover the castle’s unique 450 year story of continual reinvention and survival from castle, to lighthouse, to museum.
The adjacent Wine Tower is an ancient pre-reformation building steeped in mystery and curiosity, dramatically perched over the crashing waves. Visit the upper vaulted chamber of the Wine Tower to view seven preserved roof pendants, carved in stone, showing the Fraser’s family connections and commitment to the faith.
This is not just any lighthouse you’ll be looking at, but Scotland’s first. In 1787, Kinnaird Head Lighthouse started off life as a giant lamp positioned on the roof of the castle. When structural problems began to appear, Robert Stevenson engineered a foundation, walls and a spiral staircase through the heart of the castle, completing construction in 1824. He even preserved the original castle structure – this has to be seen to be believed!
Through its terrific hyper-radial lens, grateful seamen recognised Kinnaird Head Lighthouse by its white flash every 15 seconds, reaching a nominal range of 25 nautical miles. The lighthouse is still in perfect working order and is known to light the coast on very special occasions.
People have been fascinated by the lives and stories of lighthouse keepers for years. Their job involved responsibility and keen concentration (no reading or music allowed!). Come and learn how they lived, by seeing the lighthouse first hand and enjoy our beautifully preserved keeper’s quarters inside – for some of us a welcome trip down memory lane (appliances from the 70s) and for others: a TV with no remote control? Really?
We look forward to welcoming you here.
Tickets for Kinnaird Head Castle and Lighthouse can be purchased in The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Tickets allow entry to both sites.