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England & Wales Scotland Ireland

Holburn Head Lighthouse

Thurso Bay, Caithness

Location Guide

Holburn Lighthouse is not actually on Holborn Head, a headland facing the Atlantic coast, but 1km south nestled into the hillside of Thurso Bay, on the north side of Scrabster. It is said to be one of the simplest lights to see. 

It was designed and built in 1862 by David and Thomas Stevenson. There is the light tower and a keepers' house joined to it, this is unusual as most Scottish lighthouses are separate from the house. There were two Lightkeepers houses and the Tower within the main building and there was a separate building that was the Principal Keeper's House. It was automated in 1988 and the lightkeepers withdrawn, however it was discontinued in August 2003 following alterations to the port facility.

The Lighthouse is the building in the background, behind the ferry.

Photo by Dorcas Sinclair

You can see it from the town of Thurso, or from Scrabster pier or from the one of the ferries that travel between Scrabster and Stromness in the Orkneys.

Lighthouse information Grid


Holborn Head Lighthouse, Scrabster Harbour, Thurso Bay Caithness

Current status:

discontinued August 2003

Geographic Position:

58 36.9'N   03 32.4'W

Grid Reference:


Ceremonial County:



octagonal cylindrical masonry white tower rising from one end of a 2-storey keeper's house.

Map Link:


Aerial photo:


Other photos:

Geograph    portfolio

Originally built:


Current lighthouse built:


Height of Tower:

17 metres

Height of light above mean sea level:

23 metres

Character of light:

Flashing White/Red every 10 Secs

Character of fog signal:


Range of light:

15 nautical miles

Owned / run by:

Northern Lighthouse Board

Getting there:



Site open, tower closed



Other Useful Websites:


Other Relevant pages:

For more articles, lists and other information see the Lighthouses Section

Lighthouse Map of Scotland

Featured List of lighthouses - Scotland 

List of minor lighthouses and lights - Scotland  



Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

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By: Tracey Park  Section:  Lighthouses Section Key:
Page Ref: Holburn_Head Topic: Lighthouses Last Updated: 06/2010


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