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Community / Easter events to mark opening of Sumburgh Head lighthouse

The Sumburgh Head lighthouse and visitor centre. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

THE SUMBURGH Head lighthouse, visitor centre and nature reserve will officially open for the season during the upcoming Easter weekend.

The lighthouse will open its doors again for 2024 on Saturday 30 March. As this coincides with the Easter holidays, the celebrations will include a number of events for the whole family to enjoy.

A “lightsome” tour will be available for all ticket holders at 11am, describing the story of Shetland’s first Stevenson lighthouse.

This will be followed by the traditional sounding of the foghorn at 12pm with retained lightkeeper Brian Johnson.

Members of the community are invited to take part in a competition to help the lightkeeper start the foghorn engines and sound the foghorn.

The winner will help Johnson to open the final valve to open the foghorn, while three runners up will each be given the chance to start one of the engines.

From the Saturday to Monday, children will be able to embark on an Easter treasure trail and visitors can contribute to the start of a season list for wildlife sightings.

Sumburgh Head site manager Jane Outram said: “We are excited to be opening for 2024 at the start of the Easter holidays and can’t wait to welcome everyone back for what will no doubt be another busy season.”

“We have already heard of sightings of puffins on the waters around the Isle of May and we anticipate that they’ll be heading to Shetland soon.”

The site will present some changes, including the keepers’ corner, a new display sharing an insight into what everyday life would have been like for keepers manning the lighthouse over the years.

The former café has also been transformed into a new “observatory”, where people will be able to soak up the views of the surrounding cliffs, seabird colonies, waters and marine life.

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Here, Outram continues, “visitors will still be able to enjoy a cuppa and a home bake whilst speaking to our experts about marine mammals, seabirds, the geology, archaeology and the history of Sumburgh Head”.

The cafe area was previously leased out to Katja’s Cakes, but owner Katja Stübiger has now moved back to Germany.

Shetland Amenity Trust chair Alison Moncrieff added: “We would like to thank everyone who has continued to support this world class visitor attraction in Shetland.

“2023 was our busiest season to date and our small team has worked incredibly hard to develop a really rich offering of specialist tours and activities.”

The visitor centre will be open five days a week, between Thursday – Monday, from 10am – 5pm.

To enter the competition, people can register on the Sumburgh Head website, with the closing date for entries Wednesday 27 March.

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