Sumburgh Head

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Sumburgh Head

Sumburgh Head is at the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland. The headland is a high rocky spur over 300 feet high, capped by the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.

The Old Norse name for the headland was Dunrøstar høfdi, it means "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.

Sumburgh Airport lies immediately to the north of the head, and is Shetland's main airport. Flights from here connect to mainland Great Britain, to Orkney and to Norway.

Close to the head is the archaeological site of Jarlshof, at which a series of settlements existed dating back to the neolithic period.

The tiny settlement of Grutness, which is the terminus of the Shetland Mainland to Fair Isle ferry service, lies one mile north of Sumburgh Head.

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


Robert Stevenson was the engineer in charge of building the Sumburgh Head lighthouse. Work started on the building in 1819, and the light was first lit in 1821.

Outside links

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about Sumburgh Head)