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See the light on the Isle of May

Visitors to the Isle of May will see the light on September 1st and 2nd, with unique open days highlighting historic lighthouses.

As part of the Fife Doors Open Days, the Isle of May lighthouse buildings will be open to visitors for only the second time in the island’s 370-year lighthouse history.

Scotland’s oldest lighthouse, the Beacon, built in 1636, will be among the buildings to be open. The Lowlight, South Horn and the engine room will also be open.

The Main Light is a castle-like lighthouse, designed by engineer Robert Stevenson in 1816. This spectacular lighthouse is listed as a building of historic interest, and is 24 metres high with accommodation for three light keepers and their families. Also of interest is the Lowlight on the east side of the island, which began service in 1844 to give extra warning of the treacherous North Carr Rock seven miles north of the May.

David Pickett, the Isle of May reserve manager, said: “This is a rare chance for people to see inside the lighthouses on the island, and learn more about their dramatic history. There’s human ingenuity, tragedy and history weaved into these buildings – they all have terrific stories to tell!”

To reach the island, boats leave from Anstruther in Fife or North Berwick in East Lothian on September 1 at 1:15pm and September 2 at 2:00pm, returning between 6 and 7pm. Places are limited, so advance booking is recommended. Normal charges apply to reach the island by boat, but access to the island is free.

Sailings are on the privately-run May Princess and RIB Osprey from the Anstruther Harbour or through the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick:

Anstruther – For tickets and details, see Anstruther Pleasure Cruises (May Princess) or contact Colin Murray on 07966 926 254 (Osprey of Anstruther).

North Berwick – For tickets and details, book online on the Scottish Seabird Centre website or call 01620 890 202.

Known locally as The May, this small island sits on the edge of the Firth of Forth. The island’s importance for sea birds has drawn scientists to its shores for many years, and the May is home to the oldest continuously running bird observatory in the UK. The May is also a regular haunt for grey seals, often seen lounging on the shoreline rocks.

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