Fraserburgh Lighthouse Museum
Five Parts of a Lighthouse
1 Staircase: This provided easy access to the light. The keepers had to carry up whale oil, and later paraffin, from the store below.
2 Light room: The most important part of the lighthouse which contained the lens and rotation mechanism. The weight to run the mechanism descends down the middle of the staircase.
3 Occasional keeper's quarters: Used by keepers employed to cover one night off a week for the Principal and Assistant Keepers.
4 Paraffin room: The fuel for the light was stored here. Every lighthouse keeper had to be able to mend the light and each lighthouse had a work bench and tools.
5 Storage: The old castle kitchen was reused as a coal store. The NLB supplied the coal which was used to heat the keepers' cottages.
Kinnaird Head was unique. It was the only Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) lighthouse to use an existing building. At first the light was mounted on top of the castle's roof, but in 1824 Robert Stevenson redesigned the castle. He retained the old tower but constructed a wide circular stair and a lantern room at the top. (It is this Lighthouse that you can now look over at the Fraserburgh Museum.)
Not only was Kinnaird Head the first official Scottish lighthouse, but it also had the country's first official lighthouse keeper. In 1787 James Park, a retired sea captain, was employed as 'keeper of the light' at one shilling a night. The NLB arranged a small pension and allowed James and his wife to live in the castle.
(All information from the boards at the Museum)
Today was a simple road trip to Fraserburgh, which is between Inverness and Aberdeen on the A98 & A90, where they converge. Leave Inverness on the A96 for Nairn, Forres, and Elgin. At Fochabers take the A98 for Cullen, Banff, and Fraserburgh. Leave Fraserburgh on the A90 and take the A952 to rejoin the A90 some 15 miles later, before entering the traffic of Aberdeen.
As I was going around the Lighthouse Museum there was a party of School Children too the lighthouse was certainly ringing to the shrieks and cries laughter of the children racing up and down the spiral staircase. You can actually climb up into the light itself and stand within the lens. It is a weird feeling as the platform you are standing on remains still and the light lens revolves around you.