Historic Covesea Lighthouse extinguished after 166 years
In 1845 Alan Stevenson,
uncle of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, designed and oversaw
construction of the Covesea lighthouse at Lossiemouth. The Stevenson
family had designed and built all of the lighthouses around Scotland,
and also managed them until the northern Lighthouse Board took over that
Alans father Robert Stevenson had married the daughter of Thomas Smith
who made and serviced all the street lights in Edinburgh. That led to
his appointment as engineer to the lighthouse board, a position that was
held later by his sons and grandsons.
The Covesea light commenced operation in 1846 and served continuously
until last year, 2012 when it was extinguished and replaced by a
navigational buoy with an X band radar beacon which is anchored by the
Halliman skerries. The original lighthouse lens is now on display in the
Lossiemouth Fisheries and community Museum.
The lighthouse was erected following strong local pleas after the loss
of 16 vessels sunk in a storm in 1826. Lights were requested for Lossie
and Tarbet Ness just across the Moray Firth. It took time to convince
the Northern Lighthouses commissioners, but eventually they agreed to
erect a beacon on the Halliman Skerries, and Lighthouses at Tarbet Ness
The Lossie light was constructed on the Covesea headland. Its beautiful
conical tower is 36 metres high (118 feet) and the light itself was 49
metres above sea level. The Northern Lighthouse Board (the Scottish
subsidiary of Trinity house) managed the light most of its life. In 1984
the light was automated, making keepers redundant. When in operation the
light had a white sector seaward, and a red sector showing to the east
towards the Halliman rocks. It flashed every 20 seconds.
The Covesea lighthouse property is being preserved as a tourist
attraction, with its keepers cottages available for short term rentals.
The Lossiemouth Business Association is actively seeking to develop the
area and facilities. It recently received a grant of £ 300,000 to
purchase the lighthouse from the Board.
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