Southerness Lighthouse

Southerness Lighthouse

Southerness Lighthouse stands on the rocky shoreline of the Solway Firth, and it is the second oldest lighthouse in Scotland.

The headland of Southerness was originally called Salters’ Ness when in the 12th century, it was an important area for salt-panning. The beach here is very rocky, and the tide was out a long way, but there are clear views across the Solway Firth to Cumbria and the Lake District. 

Southerness Lighthouse was initially built as an unlit beacon in 1748 to guide vessels heading into the Nith estuary to Dumfries. At that time, Dumfries was an important port, regularly trading with Liverpool and Ireland.


The square tower was lighted from around 1800 and raised twice between 1842 and 1844. This may account for the tapered design at the top of the tower.

Between 1867 and 1894, there appeared to have been financial difficulties, and the tower was not lit during this time. It was finally decommissioned in 1931.

Behind the lighthouse is a raised piece of land with a concrete plinth on the foreshore. During the 1970s/80s, the former optic is believed to have been mounted here. However, the optic has since been removed, possibly relocated to the top of the lantern. 

Top of lighthouse

There is a small row of cottages alongside the road, one named Lighthouse Cottage. This may have been one of the former keepers’ cottages, but I have not been able to confirm this to date.

In the village of Southerness, the golf club and caravan park both use the distinctive lighthouse as part of their branding. There is obviously a proud connection in the village with the beacon.

Established: 1748
Discontinued: Yes
Engineer: Peter Milligan
Tower Height: 15 metres
Elevation: 15 metres