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Cantick Head Lighthouse, South Walls

A Category B Listed Building in Stromness and South Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 58.7872 / 58°47'13"N

Longitude: -3.1313 / 3°7'52"W

OS Eastings: 334702

OS Northings: 989394

OS Grid: ND347893

Mapcode National: GBR L5MH.Q9R

Mapcode Global: WH6BW.WD2J

Plus Code: 9CCRQVP9+VF

Entry Name: Cantick Head Lighthouse, South Walls

Listing Name: South Walls (Hoy), Cantick Head Lighthouse Including Keepers' Cottages, Sheds, Perimeter Wall and Sundial

Listing Date: 8 December 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 352827

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB18710

Building Class: Cultural

Also known as: Cantick Head Lighthouse

Location: Walls and Flotta

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Parish: Walls And Flotta

Traditional County: Orkney

Tagged with: Lighthouse

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David Stevenson, 1858. 22 metre circular tower; brick; whitewashed. Stugged long and short surrounds to openings; advanced cills. Base course with band course above. Entrance door to NW; single 2nd and 3rd stage windows centred above. 4th stage window to SE; 5th stage window to NE. Stone corbels support walkway at 6th stage; metal railings to walkway. Conical roof to lantern at 7th stage; lattice glazing. Flagpole to N of lighthouse.

INTERIOR: timber boarded door; metal grille gate to exterior. Brass lock inscribed 'NL' (Northern Lighthouse) and brass knob on interior of door. Painted tongue and groove panelling to ground floor. Stone steps spiral round central space (for former clock pendulum) to 2nd and 3rd stages. Landing at 4th stage. Cast-iron step-ladder to lantern; brass handrail. Semi-circular battery room at 5th stage; work room (formerly contained clock) at 6th stage and access to exterior walkway. Lantern at 7th stage; modern lens; slatted floor; concave ceiling.


1858. 2 single storey keepers' cottages. Brick; stugged long and short quoins; whitewash. Paraffin shed at NE end of range.

SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 2 doors; flanking windows; extra window to far left and right. Door to far right.

SW ELEVATION: plain gable walls.

NW ELEVATION: 2 later lean-to porches; flanking single window to each. Window to porch gable wall; door in inner return of each porch.

NE ELEVATION: window to left gable wall; door to right gable wall.

Timber sash and case windows. Inset timber boarded doors; fanlights. Double ridge Welsh slate roof. Coped gable end stacks to SW gables; coped ridge stack to front and rear; central coped stack.


Engineer's shed to NE of lighthouse. Single storey, rectangular-plan, flat-roofed shed; canted corners to E. Plain base course and cornice. Rendered. Plain entrance elevation; door to left; metal grille gate to doorway; inset timber boarded door. Window to N, E and S. Single storey sheds to N corner of boundary wall; whitewashed brick. Piended roof to left; door; window to right flank. 2 central doors; window to right and left. Door to far right; flanking single windows. Pitched roof to right; Welsh slate roof. Coped ridge stack to centre left. Timber boarded doors; fixed lights and sash and case windows. Detached half-pitched shed to left; whitewashed brick.


Square-plan rubble boundary wall painted white; rough coping stones. Plain square-plan gatepiers to NE; base; conical coping stones; replacement metal gate. Fluted cast-iron sundial pedestal (sundial missing) stands to W of keepers' cottages; painted white.

Statement of Interest

The lighthouse was built to mark the southern approach to Scapa Flow. It has been powered by candle, paraffin and diesel and presently by hydro power charged batteries. The original lens is housed at Lyness Museum. The 3 lighthouse keepers would operate shifts to run the lighthouse. The engineer's shed housed the former diesel engine, which generated the foghorn. The foghorn was in use from 1913 to 1987. Cantick Head Lighthouse is now automatic and continues in operation today (2000). The later Principal Lighthouse Keeper's house is excluded from Listing.

External Links

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