Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

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Sumburgh Head Lighthouse from the south, ca 2002 Photo Peter II
The tower

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, built in 1821, is the oldest lighthouse in Shetland.
The engineer was Robert Stevenson, and the builder was John Reid of Peterhead.
The original beacon had 26 reflectors on the light.
The lighthouse has walls of double thickness to keep out the dampness.

Basic Information :

Name Sumburgh Head Lighthouse
Position Latitude 59° 51.3’N

Longitude 01° 16.3’W
(HU 407078)

Location On Sumburgh Head, Dunrossness, the south end of the Shetland Mainland
Description A 56 foot high white tower, with 52 steps to the top
Built by Robert Stevenson Snr
First lit 1821
Character Flashing (3) white every 30 seconds
Nominal Range 23 miles
Elevation 299 foot.
Automated 1991
Other information Foghorn established 1906, discontinued 1987
Before the foghorn was establised, they had a fogbell at the lighthouse.
The bell had been presented by the parents of Captain Thomas Leslie of the Royal Victoria, a ship that had been abandoned at sea by her crew, most likely to the NW of Shetland on January 19th 1864. One of the lifeboats eventually came ashore in a geo at Scat Ness later in the month, with two survivors, but also the bodies of the Captain and five crewmembers.
The bell is now the church bell in Dunrossness Kirk
The former keepers' houses are now owned by the Shetland Amenity Trust, and in use as self-catering accomodation.

The site is understood to have been that of a much earlier Broch/Fort, the remains of which were removed when a WWII Chain Low Radar Station, one of the earliest in the UK, was constructed. The ruins of the station's concrete buildings still remain on site today.

External links


Photo by Kozetland1.
Sumburgh Head Light 2008.JPG
The Foghorn
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