Start Point Lighthouse Orkney

Start Point Lighthouse Orkney

Start Point Lighthouse is located on the island of Sanday in Orkney. It is the only Scottish Lighthouse to have distinctive vertical black stripes as its daymark.

Sanday is a small tidal island and a number of rocks and reefs lay beyond the beaches at Scuthvie.

The island of Sanday was first marked by an unlit stone beacon, which proved to be inadequate.

Robert Stevenson decided to build a light at Start Point on Sanday to replace the beacon at North Ronaldsay. Work started on its construction in 1806, and the light was first displayed on 2nd October 1806. The ball from the top of the beacon at Sanday was moved to the beacon at North Ronaldsay, and this is still in existence today.

Start Point Sanday

The lighthouse stands above Tobacco Rock and was built by Thomas and Robert Stevenson.

Start Point Lighthouse was the first to have a revolving light, making it distinguishable from other fixed lights.  The vertical black and white stripes were added in 1915.

During the building of the lighthouse, the vessel Stromness set off to return workmen back to Leith.  However, a storm drove them onto Flotta Island, where they sought shelter.  A cable broke during the night, and she was wrecked on the island.  All but the cabin boy perished.

Lighthouse at Sanday

Two keepers and their families lived on the island and remained there until 1962, when the lighthouse was automated. 

Start Point Lighthouse is available for tours through the Sanday Development Trust.

Access to the island is via Kirkwall and neighbouring islands.

Visitor centre
Established: 1806
Engineer: Robert Stevenson
Tower Height: 23 metres
Light Character: Fl (2) W 20 s
Light Range: 18 miles
Elevation: 18 metres