Duncansby Head

Duncansby Head Lighthouse is situated in Caithness, at the most northeasterly point of the British mainland.



1914: A temporary fog signal was established at Duncansby Head. This was replaced with a permanent fog signal following the end of the First World War.

1924: The light tower was designed by and constructed under the supervision of David Alan Stevenson.

1939-1945: During the second World War, Duncansby Head Lighthouse was machine-gunned by a German bomber, though there were no injuries or damages.

1953: In 2016, the Sunday Post reported that nuclear testing at the site had been proposed by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) during the early stages of the Cold War.

1968: A high-power RACON (radar beacon) was installed. This was later replaced with low-power Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS).

1997: The light was fully automated.

2005: The keepers’ cottages were replaced with a smaller structure during extensive renovations.

2024: Duncansby Head Lighthouse celebrates 100 years of operation. The local community have organised events to mark the occasion.

Pentland Firth Tidal Streams

The tidal streams flowing through the Pentland Firth earned it the title ‘Hell’s Mouth’. As the waters of the wide Atlantic flow into the North sea and ebb in the opposite direction, they set in motion a welter of eddies, races and overfalls, and in the neighbourhood of the Pentland Skerries they run at a speed of ten knots.  The effects are so dramatic that each of these tide races has been named – the Swilkie, the Bore of Huna, the wells of Tuftalie, the Duncansby Bore, and the Merry Men of May.



Year Established



David A Stevenson


Latitude   58°38.646'N
Longitude 003°01.526'W


Flashing White every 12 Seconds


67 metres


21 nautical miles


Square concrete tower with balcony. Tower 11 metres high.

Public Access


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