Flannan Isles Lighthouse was designed by David Alan Stevenson, the 23-metre (75 ft) tower was constructed for the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) between 1895 and 1899 and is located near the highest point on Eilean Mòr. Construction was undertaken by George Lawson of Rutherglen at a cost of £6,914 inclusive of the building of the landing places, stairs, railway tracks etc. All of the materials used had to be hauled up the 45-metre (148 ft) cliffs directly from supply boats, no trivial task in the ever-churning Atlantic. A further £3,526 was spent on the shore station at Breasclete on the Isle of Lewis. It was first lit on 7 December 1899. In 1925 it was one of the first Scottish lights to receive communications from the shore by wireless telegraphy. On 28 September 1971, it was automated. A reinforced concrete helipad was constructed at the same time to enable maintenance visits in heavy weather. The light is produced by burning acetylene gas and has a range of 17 nautical miles; 20 miles (32 km). It is now monitored from the Butt of Lewis and the shore station has been converted into flats. Other than its relative isolation, it would be a relatively unremarkable light, were it not for the events which took place just over a year after it was commissioned.
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