Holborn Head

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Holborn Head is a headland on the north-facing Atlantic coast of Caithness, in the Highland area of Scotland. The point of Holborn Head is at 58°37′23″N 03°32′06″W / 58.62306°N 3.53500°W / 58.62306; -3.53500 (grid reference ND10857155). The name Holborn appears Norse in origin, meaning hillfort, and the headland may be the Tarvedunum promotorium noted by Ptolemy. At the tip lies the remains of a promontory fort.


A walk around the headland can be accessed through a gate next to the Principal Keeper's House. There are stiles and bridges, which allow access to the unfenced off promontory of Holborn Head itself. There are clear views over to Dunnet Head and to the Orkney Islands.

Holburn Head Lighthouse

Holburn Head Lighthouse, spelt 'Holburn', unlike the headland which is Holborn Head, is about one kilometre (half a mile) south of the point, near Scrabster Harbour on the western shore of Thurso Bay, at 58°36′54″N 03°32′24″W / 58.61500°N 3.54000°W / 58.61500; -3.54000. Designed and built by David and Thomas Stevenson, it was completed in 1862. The tower for the light is integral with the keepers' house which is unusual since most Scottish lighthouses are separate from the house. After entering the upper floor front doorway there is a vestibule with 2 entrances, one to the Lightkeepers House and the other to the Lighthouse Tower. There were 2 Lightkeepers houses and the Tower within the building. Separate to this was the Principal Keeper's House.

The light was discontinued in 2003.


  • Northern Lighthouse Board's link on the Holborn Head Lighthouse
  • Panorama of Holburn Head Lighthouse (QuickTime required)
  • The History of the Celtic Placenames of Scotland (Watson, 2004, ISBN 1-84158-323-5)
  • Weekend Notes article describing access to the walk around Holborn Head promontory