Inchkeith Lighthouse is located at the highest point of the island of Inchkeith, in the middle of the Firth of Forth. In 1803 construction begun on the Lighthouse, designed and built by Thomas Smith and Robert Stevenson. The lighthouse, standing 67 metres high, was first operational by 1804, and is now listed as a building of architectural and historic significance. Built on the footprint of a fort constructed by the French after they captured the island from the English in 1549, the light has a range of 41 km.
The lighthouse replaced an earlier one, and it was on this older lighthouse in 1786 that Thomas Smith (1752 – 1815), the first Engineer to the Northern Lighthouse Board, tested a new reflector oil lamp, which he had designed.
Inchkeith was originally stationary but, in 1815, the light was altered to become one of the first revolving lights, to distinguish it from the fixed light on the Isle of May. Because of its proximity to the Northern Lighthouse Board’s headquarters in Edinburgh, Inchkeith was also where the Stevensons tested new technology.
In 1985, with automation imminent, new lighting system was installed, but that technology has now been surpassed and currently the light comprises a battery-operated LED array charged by solar panels.
The light was automated in 1986 and its operation was transferred to Forth Ports Plc in 2013.
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