Three men were sent to the island to maintain the lighthouse in six-week rotations. Three would be dropped off and three picked up. During the switch in crews, they'd work together to get new supplies up to the lighthouse which meant they had to carry food and water for the men and fuel for the lighthouse, up a 148-foot cliff. These keepers of the light were then stuck on the island until the next crew showed up six weeks later. The men who worked at the lighthouse worked by themselves in eight-hour shifts. They had to possess many skills sets as a lot of their work involved keeping the engines running that kept the light lit and rotating.
On December 26, 1900, a ship was passing near the island at night and they noticed the lighthouse wasn’t working which was very unusual. When they docked their boat on the island, no one greeted them. They went to the living quarters of the men who were working there, and they were gone. Everything appeared to be in its place, but the men had vanished. They scoured the island and used the foghorn to try and bring the three missing men in, but nothing worked. Their disappearance is a mystery to this day.
In 1925, the Flannan Isles Lighthouse received ship to shore radio which was a big deal back then. In 1971 the lighthouse became automated; basically, no longer needed daily assistance of personnel. The light is produced by burning acetylene gas which is stored in large tanks, so it receives a constant fuel supply and there’s a timer and sensor for nighttime and foggy weather conditions. It’s controlled by computers back on the mainland. The light is a bright one, providing light up to 17 miles.
Here’s to all those who have been and who are now, keepers of the light. We’ll never know how many lives have been saved by having a light for guidance on the darkest of nights.