Major repair work to Scotland’s lighthouses



MAJOR REPAIR work to Scotland’s lighthouses is to begin with the oldest rock-based structure in the British Isles later this year.

The Northern Lighthouse Board is seeking contractors with a head for heights to carry out work on some the country’s most remote buildings.

And the first lighthouse to be given a makeover is the 200 year-old Bell Rock, situated 12 miles off the Angus coast.

The work will pose many challenges for tradesmen because of its, remote location, dangerous tidal conditions and isolation.

Designed by celebrated Scottish engineer Robert Stevenson, the 133-foot lighthouse is considered to be one of Scotland’s greatest engineering feats of the early 19th century.

Tradesmen hunted

Urgent repairs needed to the lonely building include metalwork repairs, replacing the anti-bird netting around the lantern and building an extension to the entrance platform.

The work is expected to get underway in August or September.

The NLB are also hunting for painters, steeplejacks and electricians to revamp some of the country’s other structures, with some only accessible by helicopter.

Some 17 lighthouses have been earmarked for repairs according to the authority, which looks after 209 lighthouses in Scotland and the Isle of Man.

And along with the Bell Rock, which has been described as one of the Seven Wonders of the industrial world, a further five have been put on a priority list.

The other un-manned buildings are Elie Ness, Fidra Island and Inchkeith in the Firth of Forth, Crammag Head at Drunmore and Corran Narrows on Loch Linnhe.

Depending on how many structures are finally given the go-ahead, the work will cost between £1 million and £5 million and the tradesmen’s contracts will cover everything from painting to the installation of solar panels.

Formal tender to be announced soon

The job advert on the NLB website states: “The successful contractor(s) will be required to carry out multi-disciplined works and will need to be able to cover all trades in accordance with accepted industry standards.

“The works will include the following bit not limited to concrete works, installation of solar array frameworks, install new GRP battery room, install new aluminium floor and to repaint cast iron lightroom.”

A Northern Lighthouse Board spokeswoman said: “We have had a very positive response from companies expressing a formal interest in carrying out refurbishment work at some of Scotland’s lights, which includes the famous Bell Rock.

“The completed pre-qualification questionnaires will now be evaluated before a formal invitation to tender is issued to companies.”


  1. This is an important contract as the future of the historical lighthouses depend on their proficiency. I was there when they moved the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to keep it from eroding as the ocean began covering the base at high tide. It is great to see lighthouses worldwide receive the same consideration to maintain them for the future.

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