Noup Head Lighthouse

Noup Head Lighthouse

Noup Head Lighthouse is located on the northwest of the island of Westray in Orkney.  The name Noup is derived from gnupr, which means craggy headland.  It is perched 80 metres above sea level on steep cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.

The lighthouse was built in 1898 and designed by David A Stevenson.

It was the first lighthouse to have a lens apparatus floating on a bath of mercury.

Noup Head Lighthouse was occupied by two keepers and their families and would have been self-sufficient due to its remoteness.  The lighthouse was automated in 1964, and following automation, the cottages were demolished. The lighthouse was modernised and converted to wind and solar power in 2000.

Noup Head

On the western coast a number of caves are dotted below the cliffs.  One of the most notorious, Gentleman’s Cave, is located below the cliffs on the southern side of Noup Head. A number of local lairds who supported the Jacobite cause are said to have hidden here over the winter following the defeat at Culloden in 1746.

Westray is home to many seabirds including kittiwakes, razorbills, guillemots and puffins as well as gannets.

Westray Lighthouse

A rough track leads to the lighthouse, but there is also a coastal walk which can be taken, with care.

The island can be accessed by boat from Kirkwall and neighbouring islands and also by air from Kirkwall, Stronsay and Papa Westray

Established: 1898
Engineer: David A and Charles Stevenson
Tower Height: 24 metres
Light Character: Fl W 30 s
Light Range: 20 miles
Elevation: 79 metres
Automated: 1964