26th May 2020
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Restored complex will light up summer visits

The restored Sumburgh lighthouse complex will open to the public a week today for the summer season.

The £5.4 million Shetland Amenity Trust project is complete, with the lighthouse and surrounding buildings in pristine condition, freshly painted in gleaming white.

And today The Shetland Times publishes the first photographs from inside the complex.

Visitors will enter through the ticket office and gift shop, which leads into the engine room.

Here the 60-year-old engines have been cleaned and painted and are once again in working order. They were installed to power the mighty red-painted foghorn on the building opposite, which has a new spiral staircase.

Next to the engine room is the former smithy, where lighthouse keepers of old carried out their metal work. And further along is the education centre with its (nearly) 180-degree windows offering stunning panoramic views.

On the other side of the path the marine life centre takes visitors from a sub-sea entrance, up through a kelp forest to a vista bursting with life, in the water and in the air – complete with sound effects. A huge whale, half orca and half minke, is the centrepiece.

Visits to the working lighthouse will be available with set tour times.

To celebrate the opening, The Shetland Times is running a competition, together with the amenity trust, offering a three-night stay in the visitor accommodation, a refurbished lighthouse keeper’s house, and a family season ticket for this, the first season. See next week’s paper for more about the restoration project and all the details of how to enter the competition.

The complex, which was restored by Irish contractor Corramore, will be open from 2nd May until the end of August. This coincides with the return of the migrating birds, as Sumburgh is an RSPB nature reserve.

About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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  1. Neil Anderson

    Where did they spend the £5.4 million ????

    • George Kippets

      They spent it at Sumburgh, of course! Didn’t you read the article??

      • Neil Anderson

        George , Do you have a breakdown of what the £5.4 million pounds was spent on ?

  2. Ali Inkster

    It will take a massive increase in tourism to ever pay off this “investment”. With £5.4 we could of built an actual marine life centre. It would of been more use to locals as well as tourists.

  3. Dave Cooper

    The article mentions entry through a ticket office. It does not mention an entry price but on the bright side. It tickets are £10 a shot it will only require 540,000 visitors to recover the £5.4 million.

  4. David Spence

    I just hope the new complex doesn’t frighten off the famous puffins, and other sea birds on the cliffs of Sumburgh Lighthouse.

    Mind you, when it comes to humans improving (not improving, restoring the damage humans have done to nature) nature……..it usually fails due to the fact humans put money, profit and greed as the priority rather than anything else……..hence anything humans try to do to live in harmony with nature, it will always fail and be doomed to failure because their priority, as mentioned, is based on nothing related to the complexities of nature……..this being of a man made contribution, this of money (aka capitalism) and all the destruction that follows it.

    • Robert Duncan

      “it usually fails due to the fact humans put money, profit and greed as the priority rather than anything else”

      Can we take from this that you oppose the common view on this page that the investment was a waste that will not be returned? Or is this just an irrelevant rant?

  5. Dave Cooper

    People outwith Shetland may not see the puffins if they do return. Even though the webpage says PuffinCam will be back in April 2014. It’s still not available.
    All of the visit.shetland.org webcams have also slowly gone offline since the new year. All we get now is :- * The Shetland Webcam service is currently unavailable – sorry for any inconvenience *

  6. Peter McManus

    David, I’m considering setting up a self help group for people like us so we can speak about the frustrations of being a communist living in a capitalist society, it sounds like you need the support. After several years of therapy (retail) you might get to the point where you don’t immediately and negatively relate any random subject to greedy capitalists, vile Tories, bankers or any other group who don’t hold the polarised views you do. It is something you can get over and you will have to because the country and world in not going to change and you risk becoming more and more bitter with the world. Extremism in any form is not healthy.

  7. David Spence

    Well Peter, it is quite simple in regards to humans living in harmony with nature……….as long as humans put money, greed, wealth and material wealth (call it capitalism if you want) ahead of anything else, then the problems humans are causing to the environment, eco-systems and the planet as a whole will never ever be resolved……….in fact, it will only get worse…..until nature herself decides to intervene and puts into action events which may end up with millions of humans having to suffer or die…….all because of the few (capitalists) wishing to better themselves at the cost of everybody else and this of the planet.

    It is nothing whatsoever to do with political alliance with a particular life style (just because one questions capitalism does not necessarily make one a communist…………….but as said…..years and years of……) it is questioning the principles that western society has in proportion to the destruction being caused as a consequence of putting selfish needs and wealth of the few ahead of keeping the balance within the environment, eco-systems and the planet as a whole.

    Even within a life time we have seen a drastic change in the weather patterns in certain parts of the planet as a result of human activity…….although (probably more than likely capitalists, due to their selfish desire to make money) some may question whether it is human activity or not causing these changes………despite much of the evidence indicating this…………..

    and lets look at the evidence of what capitalism really is……the USA (4.5% of the worlds population) consumes 31% of all global resources, produces 25% of all pollution, consumes 27% of all fossil fuels……….and yet this country is less than 5% of the worlds population…….should we really base and model our principles from country that only puts itself first???? (selfishness, a most typical trait of capitalism…..certainly from a corporate perspective) ………I think not……not if we want to do something positive towards fighting pollution, the destruction of the environment, the destruction of many eco-systems and the overall destruction of the planet…………need I say more ?

  8. David Spence

    I just hope that any money that is made goes back towards the RSPB or other organisations which are into the conservation of the environment, eco-systems or wildlife..(conservation only required as a consequence of human activity, mainly)…….instead of the pockets of the few or into a bank account where the only good it will do is benefiting the bank or the account holder?

  9. David Spence

    and Peter, as for myself describing the Tories (Conservative Party) as vile, I will always stand by this description because they, the Tories, condone, support, encourage and empower the very principles to which I vehemently oppose, because they, the vile Tories, base their political beliefs on a system which only causes further destruction of the environment, eco-systems and the planet itself due to ‘ selfish principles ‘ that only benefit the few at the cost of the many, and where they put a man-made entity (money and what it represents) as the only way in which humans can thrive, develop and prosper regardless to the destruction this man-made entity (some say even greater than god himself……..although is religion being replaced with the value of money?) which only benefits humans and is completely separate in every way to the environment, eco-systems and the balance of life and nature itself……….but your average capitalist does not look at the whole picture, just the part that may please them, and base their behaviour accordingly without looking at the larger picture being painted……………..judging the book by the cover, literally, mentality (short term thinking along with short term vision and idea’s (quick buck mentality).

  10. Sandy McDonald

    I was there with the family yesterday – a £10 family ticket lasts for the whole season – so you could go 10 times if you wanted. It was a great visit – they have done a really good job. The puffins aren’t in the least bit bothered – they were sitting happily in front of everyone looking cute. Our 5 year old daughter loved it. Bring a picnic and you could easily make a day of it. When I first read this story I knew most of the comments would be trolls moaning about the cost – and I was right.

  11. David Spence

    It was the same with the York Minster Cathedral and the York Museum, Sandy……..you paid a £10 entry fee, but the ticket, in this case, lasted the whole year…………which was good, as I was to visit York Minster several times for photographic reasons. It is an amazing building of craftsmanship as well as the shear spectacle and size…………any way, putting that aside, £10 fee for the whole season is not too bad if you are an enthusiastic bird watcher and wish to see the puffins (and other sea bird life) close up, several times through the breeding season to see their progress.

    I hope the new place does well financially, and that some of the money goes back to the RSPB or wildlife conservation.

  12. Sandy McDonald

    You only need to pay if you want to go into the complex, anyone is welcome to wander around outside – so twitchers need not worry! The only thing lacking was a tea room (or even drink/snack machines) – but maybe this wouldn’t be viable.


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