Sumburgh foghorn returns after three decades

MEMORIES of a bygone time were brought back to life at Sumburgh on Friday when for the first time in almost 30 years the lighthouse’s distinctive foghorn blasted its signal across the bay.

Thanks to the meticulous work of Northern Lighthouse Board engineer Brian Johnson, Shetland Amenity Trust has now been able to complete another milestone of its Sumburgh Lighthouse restoration project.


The Sumburgh foghorn is now the only working Siren Diaphragm fog signal in Scotland, if not the world.

Built in 1905 and powered by compressed air driven by a diesel Kelvin engine, the Sumburgh foghorn was last heard in 1987.

The Sumburgh foghorn used to warn nearby shipping with a seven second long blast every 90 seconds.

This ‘character’ is controlled by an air driven clockwork mechanism, which operates valves in the correct sequence, and at the correct time.