Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Sumburgh Head

Photo by Sharma Krauskopf, capturing the lighthouse right after snow has fallen
and as dawn appears more snow is on the way.

Sumburgh Head is located at the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland in northern Scotland. The head is a 100 m high rocky spur capped by the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.

The Old Norse name was Dunrøstar høfdi, meaning "The Head onto the Thunderous Noise", referring to the noise of Sumburgh Roost. The cliffs are home to large numbers of seabirds and the area is an RSPB nature reserve. The picture here of puffins is by "Tuluqaruk" via Wekimedia Commons.

As well as birds, Sumburgh Head has become a popular viewing point for whales and dolphins.

Sumburgh Airport lies immediately to the north of the head, and is Shetland's main airport. Flights from here connect to mainland Scotland, the Orkney Islands and Norway. Close to the head is the archaeological site of Jarlshof, at which a series of settlements existed dating back to the neolithic period.

Robert Stevenson was the engineer in charge of building the Sumburgh Head lighthouse. Work started on the building in 1819, and had walls of double thickness to keep out the damp. The light was first lit in 1821. The graphic here of the lighthouse is by Nichola Mutton, via Wikimedia Commons. The optical apparatus is group flashing with Stevenson's equiangular refractor showing flashes every 30 seconds. A fog signal was established in 1906 (but discontinued during 1987).

The former keepers cottages and out buildings (not the tower) are now owned by the Shetland Amenity Trust. The Trust worked along with RSPB Scotland, and in co-operation with the Northern Lighthouse Board, to restore the lighthouse buildings and create a new, state of the art facility. This was completed in April 2014 and officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal on 6th June 2014. See Shetland Amenity Trust - Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.

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