The mysterious Flannan islands or Seven Hunters are situated 20 miles west of the Isle of Lewis, a 90-minute journey. This group of islands is much less known than St Kilda but they still have an intriguing story behind them and support a wide variety of wildlife. They are split into 3 groups. The main group, which lies to the northeast, includes the two largest islands of Eilean Mor (Big Isle), and Eilean Taighe (House Isle).
The first known inhabitant was the 7th Century preacher and Abbot, St Flann, after whom the islands are named. Chapel and beehive hut ruins remain on Eilean Mor. This is also where the infamous lighthouse is situated. Engineered by D. A. Stevenson, it was just over a year after commission, on 15th December 1900, when the 3 lighthouse keepers mysteriously disappeared. It is generally thought they were swept away by a freak wave, although there are more romantic theories, but the truth of what actually happened that night has never been proved and has become a story that has captured many people’s imagination. The 23m white lighthouse was manned until September 1971 when it became automated.
The Flannans provide a nesting site for many seabirds including Fulmers, Storm Petrels, Leach’s Petrels, Blacklegged Kittiwakes, and everyone’s favourite, the Puffin, who seem unconcerned by people walking by. On Roaireim there is a gannetry which we cruise by to watch the Gannets soar overhead and dive for fish, while seals laze on the rocks watching us. Dolphins are regularly spotted in the vicinity, as well as Minke and Pilot Whales.
Landing on the Flannans is weather- dependent and only for the more agile as the slipway is no longer maintained. Most wildlife and the lighthouse can be easily seen however from the comfort of the boat. Please bring packed lunch, warm clothes and waterproofs, hot and cold drinks are provided on board.