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Covesea Skerries Lighthouse

Covesea Skerries Lighthouse marked the offshore rocks of Covesea and Halliman Skerries.

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The Covesea Skerries form a group of small islands and rocks that lie off the Moray coast, 3 miles west of Lossiemouth and 1 mile east of Covesea.

It is said that a holy man, St Gerardine, who lived on the coast of Moray in the 8th or 10th century, warned vessels of danger or guided them to safety past Covesea Skerries by swinging a lantern on the shore.

Numerous applications were made for lights to be established at Covesea Skerries and Tarbat Ness following the loss of 16 vessels during a storm in the Moray Firth in November 1826.  Initially, a light was established at Tarbat Ness in preference to Covesea. However, demand for a light at Covesea Skerries remained.

Trinity House recommended a lighthouse on Craighead with a beacon on Halliman’s Scars, which the Commissioners agreed to.  A cast-iron beacon was established in 1844, and in 1846 Covesea Skerries Lighthouse was established.

Covesea Skerries Beach

In the cliffs below the lighthouse are a couple of caves, and in the 1920s and 30s, these were home to a father and his daughter, who were well known locally, called Joyful and Teeny.

In 1984 the lighthouse was automated.  Prior to automation, a bank of sealed beam units that revolved on a pedestal replaced the revolving glass optic.  The former optic, along with a few other artefacts, is now on display in the Lossiemouth Fisheries and Community Museum.

Lighthouse lantern

Following a major review of navigation aids by the General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland, it was decided that Covesea Skerries Lighthouse was no longer required but that Halliman Skerries should be marked instead. 

The Halliman Skerries beacon can be seen from the top of Covesea Skerries Lighthouse. The cage is thought to be a refuge for shipwrecked sailors.

Following further consultation, a North Cardinal buoy was established on the northeast tip of the Skerries on 21st February 2012, and Covesea Skerries Lighthouse was discontinued on 2nd March 2012.

Halliman Skerries
Halliman Skerries Beacon and refuge

In July 2012, the Covesea Lighthouse Community Lighthouse Company indicated their interest to take over the property. Following a grant from the Scottish Land Fund, they purchased the lighthouse and associated buildings from the NLB on 4th April 2013.

In June 2015 the Ministry of Defence received a grant to acquire the land around the lighthouse to develop visitor facilities, and formed the Covesea Lighthouse and Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Heritage Centre.

Covesea Skerries Lighthouse

  • Established: 1846
  • Height of tower: 36 metres
  • Elevation of light: 49 metres
  • Automated: 1984
  • Discontinued: 2012

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