Kinnaird Head

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Kinnaird Head, showing the lighthouse, formerly Kinnaird Castle, and the Winetower

Kinnaird Head (Scottish Gaelic: An Ceann Àrd, "high headland") is a headland projecting into the North Sea, within the town of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire on the east coast of Scotland. The 16th-century Kinnaird Castle was converted in 1787 for use as the Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, the first lighthouse in Scotland to be lit by the Commissioners of Northern Lights. Kinnaird Castle and the nearby Winetower were described by W. Douglas Simpson as two of the nine castles of the Knuckle, referring to the rocky headland of north-east Aberdeenshire.[1] Both buildings are category A listed buildings.[2][3]

Kinnaird Castle[edit]

Kinnaird Castle, also known as Fraserburgh Castle and Kinnairdshead Castle, was begun in March 1570.[4] The builder was Sir Alexander Fraser, 8th laird of Philorth, (c.1536–1623), who also transformed the fishing village of Faithlie into the burgh of Fraserburgh in the 1590s. However, the building of the castle led to such expense that he was forced to sell Philorth Castle, the family home.[5] Alexander, 10th of Philorth, fought for the king at the Battle of Worcester (1651). Despite being badly wounded, he survived to live into his eighties. In 1669 he inherited the title of Lord Saltoun, and in later years he had apartments at Kinnaird Castle[6] The last people to reside in the castle were Henrietta Fraser (1698-1751), daughter of the 12th Lord Saltoun, and her husband John Gordon of Kinellar (1684-1764).[citation needed] In 1787 it was leased to the Trustees of the Northern lights, who turned it into Kinnaird Head Lighthouse. Designed by Thomas Smith, the lamp was first lit on 1 December. The structure was rebuilt in the 1820s, and superseded by a new lighthouse in 1991.[4] It now houses the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, which incorporates the original lighthouse and a modern building housing collections of lenses and other artefacts from many lighthouses across Scotland.[7]


The Winetower

The Winetower is a small three-storey tower located approximately 50 metres (160 ft) from Kinnaird Head Lighthouse. The tower has been dated to the 16th-century, and may have gained its name through use as a store associated with the castle.[8] The tower is accessed via the second floor, and contains elaborate carved stone pendants.[3] It is reputed that in the cave below, one of the Fraser family imprisoned his daughter's boyfriend, leaving him to drown there. The daughter then jumped from the roof of the tower. There is red paint on the rocks below to illustrate her blood. According to local tradition, the tower is said to be haunted.[9]


  1. ^ Simpson, W.D. (1949). "Cairnbulg Castle, Aberdeenshire" (PDF). Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 83: 32–44.
  2. ^ "Kinnairds Head Castle Lighthouse". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Wine Tower". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Kinnaird Head Lighthouse". Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  5. ^ "The Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun". Lady Saltoun. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  6. ^ Alexander Fraser, Lord Saltoun (1879). "The Frasers of Philorth". p. 191.
  7. ^ "Museum of Scottish Lighthouses". Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Wine Tower". Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  9. ^ Cranna, John (1914). Fraserburgh: Past and present (PDF). pp. 394–5.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°41′54″N 2°00′12″W / 57.69822°N 2.00334°W / 57.69822; -2.00334