Scotland - Shetland Isles

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in Scotland

7. Sumburgh Head

Top 10 ten places to visit in Scotland - The Shetland Isles

Sumburgh Head

Sumburgh Head
Sumburgh Head boasts Scotland's first lighthouse, a listed building built by Robert Stevenson, who accompanied Sir Walter Scott to Shetland in 1814 - a cruise that produced his novel The Pirate, set around Jarlshof and Fitful Head.
The RSPB's nature reserve on Sumburgh Head has the UK's most accessible colony of Puffins (tammie nories in Shetland Dialect), although the comical little birds only come to land between April and late July. Just walk up to the lighthouse, look over the wall and there they are, along with Guillemots (looms or lomvies), Kittiwakes (rippack maas or waegs) and Shags (skarfs). Seals often haul out on the rocks below.

The walls and fences make this a safe place for family birdwatching - and, if you are lucky, for whale-watching. Particularly in June and July, you may see Minke and Killer Whales, as well as the more common Harbour Porpoises, all feeding in the swirling tides around the tip of the South Mainland.

Another good birding spot is the roadside by the Pool of Virkie, on the airport's north side, where your car makes a convenient hide to watch migrating waders, and sometimes Shelduck.

The RSPB reserve at Sumburgh Head is Shetland's most accessible seabird colony, with Puffins ashore from from May until mid-August in most years, while Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills are easily seen during May, June and July. Shags and Fulmars can be seen throughout the year.

Sumburgh Head is also recognised as the best place in Shetland to spot Killer Whales and other cetaceans during the summer months.

Sumburgh Head Facilities:
car park, information signs and special events

Sumburgh Head Address:
RSPB Sumburgh Head Nature Reserve
East House
Sumburgh Head Lighthouse
Scotland, UK

Southernmost tip of Mainland Shetland, 3.5 km (2ΒΌ miles) from Sumburgh Airport

Sumburgh Head Opening Times:
Open all year round

Sumburgh Head Admission:

T  +44 (0)1950 460800

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