Chanonry Point

Lighthouses on the East Coast of Scotland

In Salutem Omnium
For the Safety of All
Chanonry Point - Rosmarkie
Flag of Scotland
© Compiled by:
Bob Schrage
page updated: 15-01-2021
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Elie Ness
Fife Ness
Gridle Ness
Isle of May
Kinnaird Head
Noss Head
Scurdie Ness
St Abbs Head
Tarbat Ness
Tod Head

Lighthouse plaque

Place of the lighthouse

Chanonry Point lighthouse (Scottish Gaelic: Gob na Cananaich) lies at the end of a spit of land extending into the Moray Firth between Fortrose and Rosemarkie bay on the Black Isle. Opposite the lighthouse, across the narrow passage of Chanonry Ness, lies the well-known Fort George fortress.

The Lighthouse

In 1846, the designer of the lighthouse is Alan Stevenson. The tower is build in Egyptian style, stugged ashlar with broached margin drafts (painted). The Lighthouse a short circular tower with cast-iron balustrade; base of tower clasped by semi-circular single storey block to form 3-bay front with centre door (at base of tower) with battered pilastered and block pedimented doorpiece flanked by blind openings at ends of semi-circular block.

The Keeper's house is a single-storey 5 bays with lower end bays, broad battered pylons at centre bay and battered pylons at ends of centre 3 bays; original 16-pane glazing pattern; battered pylon chimney; modern lean-to porch. Square-plan ashlar gate-piers, coped wall. The lighthouse is originally a 'one-man station'.

Rosemarkie (Scots: Rossmartnie, from Scottish Gaelic: Ros Mhaircnidh meaning "promontory of the horse stream") is a village on the south coast of the Black Isle peninsula in Ross-shire (Ross and Cromarty), northern Scotland.

Rosemarkie lies 400 meters east of the town of Fortrose. The pair make up the Royal Burgh Of Fortrose and Rosemarkie, situated either side of the Chanonry Ness area, about 19,3 km north-east of Inverness.

Rosemarkie lies to a wide, picturesque bay, with views of Fort George and the Moray coastline, across the Moray Firth. Rosemarkie has one of the finest beaches on the Moray Firth Coast Line. At the southern end of the beach is Chanonry Point, reputed to be the best location on the United Kingdom mainland from which dolphins can be seen.

Jumping Dolphins at Chanonry Point
Jumping Dolphins at Chanonry Point


The establishment of a lighthouse on Chanonry Point was first proposed in 1834 and again in 1837 by the Commissioners' Engineer, Alan Stevenson. But it was not until May 1843 that the motion to erect such a lighthouse was approved by the Commissioners. In May 1843 the Commissioners of Trinity House decided to approved the proposed seamark in July 1843.

The cost of building the lighthouse and lightkeepers' dwellings was £ 3,570 and the light was first exhibited on the night of 15 May 1846.

When the station had manned, the lightkeeper, in addition to his normal lightkeeping duties, was the "Observer" of Munlochy Shoal, Middle Bank East, Craigmee, Riff Bank East and Navitty Bank Lighted buoys.

The station was automated in 1984 and is now remotely monitored from the Northern Lighthouse Board’s offices in Edinburgh. It should be noted that at these sites the Northern Lighthouse Board have sold some redundant buildings within the lighthouse complex and is not responsible for the maintenance of these buildings.


Character: Oc W 6s 12m 15M
(lit 4.5s - ec. 1.5s)

Engineer: Alan Stevenson (1807-1865)

Lat, Lon: 57°34.441' N, 04°05.567' W

Established: 15 May 1846
Character: Occultng White every 6 secs.
Range: 27.7 km / 15 NM
Elevation: 12 meters above sealevel
Tower: 10 meters, 48 steps to the top
Init. Costs: £ 3,571, 17s. 2d.
Econ. Costs*: £ 13,510,000.
*) According to:

Automated: 01 Martch 1985
Last Keepers: A. Dundas - PLK
: ??? - ALK
: ??? - ALK
Fog horn: Discont. 2001 (6 blasts in 90 secs.)

Status: ??? Operationel
Authority: ??? Northern Lighthouse Board
Remarks: Candle power 200.000 cd
: Cat.A listed - LB31799 - 25/03/1971

Chanonry lighthouse
Chanonry lighthouse
Chanonry map
Chanonry map


Chanonry Lighthouse- Andy Hickie
Chanonry Point Dolphins- Rob Adamson