Flannans Isles

The lighthouse on the largest of the Flannan Isles, “outposts of the Atlantic” some twenty miles west of Gallen Head, the westernmost point of Lewis, from which three keepers inexplicably disappeared in December, 1900

“Though three men dwell on Flannan Isle
To keep the lamp alight,
As we steered under the lee we caught
No glimmer through the night…”

W. W. Gibson’s poem “Flannan Isle”  celebrated the tragic mystery and local historical magazine, Cuimhnich, marked its centenary with a number of special articles, including “Keeper of the Light” (click access link right)  for here, in East Loch Roag, we have a special relationship with the lighthouse on Eilean Mòr, the largest of the Seven Hunters, as the Flannan Isles are traditionally known. 

Many of us helped to build the lighthouse between 1896-99 (it could be Iain a’ Ph“obair’s horse, of 30 Breasclete, being lifted ashore in the silhouette picture); one of us was lost in the tragedy of December, 1900, yet many of us even after that continued to act as keepers.

The relief ship used to sail from Breasclete pier, and-closest tie of all-the Flannan Isles Shore Station was here in Breasclete until the lighthouse was automated in 1971 and it was no longer needed to house the keepers’ families.

 

 

Landing supplies – or anything – was a problem; steps were made from the landing, and later rails, but what couldn’t be back-packed (like horses and building materials) had to be winched up.