Lighthouse wall destroyed as huge 45ft waves batter the Fair Isle

On Monday the Fair Isle experienced some of the highest seas in the world.

Fair Isle Lighthouse
Tommy Hyndman

A man has described how he ran back into his home moments before a 45ft wave crashed into the lighthouse he lives beneath.

On Monday the Fair Isle experienced some of the highest seas in the world with waves battering the islands lighthouse destroying a “break water” wall.

Dave Brackenbury, who lives in one of the lighthouse flats, said: “The waves were phenomenal. It was really only one wave that caused a problem. I was outside watching the waves when a huge wave appeared. The water in front receded and it got bigger and bigger.

“I ran inside and watched the wave break from the window and upstairs because it was an exceptional wave. I thought the best thing to do was disappear inside rapidly.

“There’s an ancient stone dyke that has always been a breakwater that was completely destroyed.”

Mr Brackenbury said he had no fears that his Victorian home would cope in the waves with the lighthouse and other outbuildings bearing the brunt.

“The house is set back a bit from the sea’s edge and the lighthouse took the impact but it came over the top of the lighthouse outbuildings,” he added.

“I’ve been here five years. The waves were exceptionally large – I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Tommy Hyndman, who runs the Fair Isle Blog Spot, filmed as the waves crashed into the lighthouse.

He said: “Every time a wave broke it sprayed and it was really strong winds. It was hard to stand there and keep the tripod still. All the while you’re worried a really big wave might knock you off the top of hill. It was really a strong storm.

“I’m guessing the waves were about 45ft maybe more. We get waves all the time obviously, I’ve only been here six years, but I’ve never seen the waves come in and take out part of the lighthouse which has been there for 100 plus years.

“It’s very unusual and probably has to do with the age of the walls and the height of the storm. It was a pretty amazing thing.

“I would imagine the walls will have to be repaired. The walls belong to the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) who bought the walls and the accommodation and outbuildings from the National Lighthouse Board.”

“The engine room for the lighthouse was all flooded out but it looks pretty damaged from the water.”

It is understood the National Lighthouse Board will be examining any damage to the lighthouse on Wednesday.

A NTS spokeswoman said: “We are still waiting for full assessments of all the damage. We are liaising with the community there to get handle on full extent of the damage and will be making plans for repairs once the weather improve.”

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