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Community / Lighthouse ‘bagger’ on UK-wide quest makes latest trip north

Sarah Kerr aims to visit every lighthouse in the UK, and now only has three left to see in Shetland

Sarah inside the old old Muckle Roe lighthouse, which is now just down the road from Sumburgh Head.

A WOMAN with a self-proclaimed “bizarre obsession” to visit every lighthouse in the UK returned to Shetland to chalk some more local lights off her list.

Sarah Kerr, author of The British Lighthouse Trail: A Regional Guide, took in some of Shetland’s more remote lights on her latest visit north – with a number of trips out on sea.

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This included the Vee Skerries lighthouse off the west mainland – located on rocks noted for causing shipwrecks – and one marooned on Lunna Holm at Yell Sound.

Sarah – who lives in the north coast of Scotland – said 612 UK lighthouses feature in her book, and she now has less than 100 to visit.

After visiting Shetland for a third time and scrubbing more off the list, she only has ten left to see in Scotland.

The Vee Skerries lighthouse.

This includes the two on Fair Isle and the lighthouse in Foula, which Sarah will visit on her next trip to Shetland.

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She said there are 49 lighthouses in Shetland, including a relatively high number of small ones. Many are more modern, solar powered “flat pack” lights.

When asked what the standout lighthouses of her latest trip were, she described Vee Skerries as an “experience”.

This was one of many lighthouses which required a boat for access.

“I was delighted we managed to get out there, because it just seems so inaccessible,” Sarah added.

“That was quite an achievement to get out there finally.

“This time when I landed on Muckle Flugga that was the day that we arrived. That was the second time I’ve landed on there. Both times it’s been really special – the views are incredible.”

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Meanwhile getting to the Bagi Stack lighthouse in north west Yell was “probably the hardest walk I’ve done to a lighthouse ever”.

Sarah said she and her husband had their first trip to Shetland in 2017, taking some of the bigger lighthouses, and returned in 2020.

She originally wanted to visit all of the lighthouses on the mainland UK – “I learned to drive to get around the coast visiting as many lighthouses as I could” – before branching out to islands.

The lighthouse at Vaila Sound.

Sarah met her husband on her mainland lighthouse trip when she was at the Cape Wrath lighthouse in the Highlands.

He was keen on visiting islands, which led Sarah into seeking out lighthouses off the mainland.

So where does her interest in lighthouses stem from? “I’m originally from the Isle of Wight and so I suppose I grew up with the Needles Lighthouse and knowing it and the St Catherine’s lighthouse were there,” she said.

“But it was only really when I was a teenager I think I became that I really liked them. There wasn’t one particular moment that made me think that’s it, I want to visit lighthouses. It just sort of built up over time, and grew into a bit of an obsession.”

People can read more about Sarah’s latest trip to Shetland here.

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