Fair Isle (South)

Fair Isle (South) was established in 1892 by David and Charles Stevenson.


There are two lighthouses on Fair Isle. The South (Skaddan) and the North (Skroo). The machinery and equipment at the South Light were almost identical to that at the North Light. A noticeable difference, however, is the height to the light from the ground is 73 feet. That’s  another 26 feet of stair climbing to that at the North Light!

During an air attack in December 1941, the wife of an Assistant Lightkeeper (Mrs Sutherland) was killed and her infant daughter slightly hurt. Six weeks after this the wife and daughter of Principal Lightkeeper (Smith) were killed when a second air attack produced a direct hit on the main dwelling block at 3.45pm on 21 January 1942. Two bombs were dropped in this attack. The first registered a direct hit on the west gable end of the main block of dwelling houses. The main building and spare caught fire and were completely burnt out. Roderick Macaulay, Principal Lightkeeper, walked 3 miles from the North Lighthouse where he and his daughter had a narrow escape in a former raid. Through snowdrifts and gale force winds he journeyed to lend a hand in restoring the South Light to operational order, and back again in the dark to take his own regular watch. He was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM)  for outstanding services. A plaque in memory of the War dead was erected by the Northern Lighthouse Board and Scotland’s Lighthouse Museum on the boundary wall of the Station in March 1998.

There is no mains electricity supply on Fair Isle apart from a local wind generator and constant running generators were provided in a modernised engine room. These were diesel driven sets of 50 kVA capacity, the prime movers being of Gardner manufacturer. The alternators were “Brushless” from Markon Engineering Ltd, of single phase type.

The fog signal used compressed air type where the energy can be stored in the air receivers and quickly expelled to give the character of two blasts of 1.5 seconds duration every 60 seconds. The compressors to supply the necessary air were electrically driven from the main station generators. The fog signal was replaced with an electric emitter type during the automation.

The Keepers left Fair Isle South Lighthouse on the 31 March 1998 for the last time. This was the last Scottish manned lighthouse to be automated.


Year Established



David A & Charles Stevenson


Latitude   59°30.858'N
Longitude 001°39.206'W


Flashing (4) White every 30 Seconds


32 metres


22 nautical miles


White tower 26 metres high. There are 96 steps to the top of tower.

Public Access


Fair Isle (South) is one of Scotland's Outstanding Lighthouses.

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