Originally called North Unst Lighthouse, Muckle Flugga was renamed in 1964. The lighthouse perches on the rocky stack of Muckle Flugga, in Shetland, Scotland.
The brothers Thomas and David Stevenson designed and built the lighthouse in 1854, originally to protect ships during the Crimean War. First lit on 1 January 1858, it stands 20m high, has 103 steps to the top, and is Britain’s most northerly lighthouse. The light beam flashes white every 20 seconds, with a nominal range of 35 km. In March 1995 it was fully automated. Thomas’s son Robert Louis Stevenson, the writer, visited it as a young man. As a result, Unst became his inspiration for the map of “Treasure Island”.
Muckle Flugga was one of the few lighthouses in Scotland which had a separate shore station that served as accommodation for the lighthouse keepers when they were off duty (similar to Sule Skerry and its shore station in Stromness, Orkney). The shore station at Burrafirth was sold off when the lighthouse was automated. The lighthouse was served by the ship “Grace Darling” which was launched from the boat house below the lighthouse shore station . Supplies were winched to the courtyard by a blondin cable hoist from the boat berthed in a natural cleft of the rocks that provides a degree of harbourage.
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