Brough of Birsay Lighthouse

Brough of Birsay Lighthouse

Brough of Birsay Lighthouse is located off the northwest coast of Mainland Orkney.  It is situated on an uninhabited tidal island.

The lighthouse is an unusual design. It has a castellated tower and although it is only 11 metres high, its elevation is 52 metres above sea level due to the cliffs.

Brough of Birsay Lighthouse was built in 1925 and designed by David A Stevenson. It was operated by gas but later converted to solar and wind power in 2002.

Brough of Birsay
Photo: Keith Morton

It was designed to be operated automatically so was unmanned.

From the cliffs here is a good place to view puffins.

The island can be accessed via a tidal causeway at low water with care, but do check tide times.  The causeway is located at the Point of Buckquoy.

From the Point of Buckquoy is a 19th-century fisherman’s hut.  Further along the cliff is a whale bone from a baleen whale which was washed ashore around 1876.  Its bones were later turned into a sculpture.

Lighthouse on island

There are remains of a Viking settlement and also of an earlier Pictish community as far back as the late 6th century.

The remains of a 12th-century church can also be found on the island.

Established: 1925
Engineer: David A Stevenson
Tower Height: 11 metres
Light Character: Fl W (3) 25 s
Light Range: 18 miles
Elevation: 52 metres