Northern Lighthouse Board
"In Salutem Omnium" For the Safety of All
Navigating around Scotland's shores has always been a hazardous undertaking, with over 6000 miles of coastline, including some of the most beautiful and treacherous in Europe. In 1786 a Commission was set up, now known as The Northern Lighthouse Board, tasked with building four lighthouses around the coasts of Scotland, to help sailors navigate safely. Over the years more lighthouses followed and today the Northern Lighthouse Board is responsible for a network of over 200 lighthouses around the coasts and islands of Scotland and the Isle of Man. In today's high tech world, marine navigation is not just about lighthouses; the mariner now has a wide choice of aids to navigation, ranging from satellite using Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS), through integrated charting systems, eLoran, radar beacons (racons) to buoys and, of course, lighthouses. The Northern Lighthouse Board are experts in the safety of marine navigation and play a vital role in developing and providing all these systems. The nerve centre of the Northern Lighthouse Board, reaching from Muckle Flugga in Shetland to Chicken Rock off the Isle of Man, lies behind the Georgian frontage of 84 George Street, Edinburgh. They also have a base at Oban, on the West Coast of Scotland, which carries out all aspects of buoy maintenance and construction. The Board's two ships, NLV PHAROS and NLV POLE STAR are also based at Oban. The ships carry out buoy work, deliver stores and supplies to lighthouses and inspect navigation aids on oil and gas rigs in the Scottish sector. Skilled technicians are deployed in Edinburgh, Oban, Inverness, Orkney and Shetland to carry out maintenance and provide rapid response to ensure the lights meet the stringent International standards required of a Lighthouse Authority.
The Board's principal concern is with safety; the safety of the mariner at sea; the safety of our own people employed in and around some of the world's most dangerous coastlines; and the safety of the environment in which we, and those who come after us, must live and work.
Their vision is to "To deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective Aids to Navigation service for the benefit and safety of all Mariners"
On the Lighthouse Trail...
The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses is based at Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh, the site of the first ever lighthouse established by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1787. The former lighthouse, keepers cottages and engine room are preserved for the nation by Historic Scotland and the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses as they were the day the last keeper left.
The Northern Lighthouse Board also works with local Trusts to open some of its lights to the public, these include the Mull of Galloway near Stranraer, Ardnamurchan on the westerly point of the British mainland, North Ronaldsay (Orkney) and Start Point (Orkney). For information on lighthouses open to the public visit
Holiday at a lighthouseâ€¦ Through a partnership with The National Trust for Scotland a unique holiday experience is offered at a small selection of lighthouses. For more information on lighthouse holiday homes visit