Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Holburn Head Lighthouse


Photo of Holburn Head Lighthouse by "Gestumblindi" via Wikimedia Commons



Holburn Head Lighthouse is situated on Little Holburn Head, Scrabster, on the west side of Scrabster Bay, Pentland Firth in the north of Scotland. It can be easily viewed from Thurso. The graphic here is by Charles Tait.

Permission was granted from the Board of Trade in 1859 to build a lighthouse on Holburn Head, but the estimated high costs (3,900 including living accommodation for the lighthouse keepers) caused delays as these were examined in detail. It was not until 1861 that building work actually started after permission had been granted by the Northern Lighthouse Board to proceed with the building.

It was engineered by David Stevenson. Its design was different from the norm, with the tower being of a "school house model." This meant the tower is built as a part of the Keeper's house.

A Mr Stewart from Peterhead was building contractor and the tower was completed ahead of schedule. The light was first operational in September 1862 and the Notice to Mariners stated "The light will be a dioptric holophotal flashing light. Showing a flash every 10 seconds, it will be seen as a white light towards the Pentland Firth and Thurso Bay and as a red light towards Scrabster Roadstead".

The Station was automated in 1988 and the Lightkeepers withdrawn. Following alterations to the port facility in the vicinity of the lighthouse the light at Holburn Head was permanently discontinued in August 2003.

Since the harbour at Scrabster has been upgraded, it is not uncommon to see substantial cruise ships in the area. The picture here of Scrabster harbour with the lighthouse behind is by Dorcas Sinclair, via Wikimedia Commons.


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