Your guide to Martello Towers in the UK and throughout the world.

Martello Towers in Scotland

There were three Martello towers built in Scotland, at the Tally Toor in the Firth of Forth, and at Harkness and Crockness in Orkney.

Tally Toor




the first on offshore rocks facing the Firth of Forth in 1807–09 to defend Leith Harbour. The Tally Toor now lies land-locked within the eastern breakwater,  laying empty on the breakwater surrounded by a port and industrial area.

The Tally Toor in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of the country's three martello towers, the other two being at Hackness and Crockness in Orkney. Originally built offshore on a rocky outcrop called the Mussel Cape Rocks, the land around it was subsequently reclaimed, and the building now lies, half-buried, in an industrial area on the eastern breakwater of Leith Docks. Built in 1809 and altered in 1850, the tower housed an anti-aircraft battery during World War II. It is designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument by Historic Environment Scotland. Irish folk symbols carved on the stonework indicate that it was built by Irish navvies.

Two towers were then built at Hackness and Crockness, near Longhope in Orkney. They were constructed between 1813 and 1815 to guard against the threat of French and American raiders attacking convoys assembling offshore. Historic Scotland now operates the Hackness tower as a museum.
South Walls
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The Martello tower, together with another on the north side at Crockness, was built in 1815 to protect British ships in the bay of Longhope against attack by American and French privateers, during the Napoleonic Wars, while they waited for a Royal Navy escort on their journey to Baltic ports.
The towers were upgraded, with the installation of new guns and other structures, in 1866 at a time of concern about the possibility of another French invasion.
Hackness Martello Tower and Battery is in the care of Historic Scotland. Visitors can tour the tower, battery and reconstructed 

Hackness Martello comprised three floors. Like a medieval tower house, the entrance was at first-floor level, reached by a wooden ladder. It led directly into the barrack room. This provided bed-space for 14 men; their NCO slept in a private cubicle. On the floor beneath lay the powder magazine, stores and water cistern. Above them was the gun. The first gun was a 24-pounder, but this was replaced in 1866 by a 68-pounder. The latter was removed around 1900, and the gun now on display is a 64-pounder Armstrong of similar vintage.

The Crockness Martello Tower on Hoy, Orkney, Scotland, was built at the same time as the Martello Tower at Hackness. It is on the north side of Longhope Sound to the north of Crock Ness point and the hamlet of Crockness, while Hackness is on the south side of the Sound. Crockness tower is currently not open to the public.