Isle of May

Isle of May from Crail


1-3 November 2012

Viewed from Crail, Fife

NO 60586 07420; 56.25761°N, 2.63777°W


The Isle of May is a Scottish National Nature Reserve managed by Scottish National Heritage. The 1.5 km long island, located at the mouth of the Firth of Forth, is home to seals and large nesting colonies of seabirds.

Traces have been found on the island of Bonze Age settlement, and in the Middle Ages it was inhabited by the monks of St Adrian’s Priory. On account of its strategic location, the island served during both World Wars as the ‘stone frigate’ HMS May Island.

Scotland’s very first lighthouse, a coal-fired beacon, was erected in the island in 1636. The present lighthouse, designed by Robert Stevenson, was built in 1816. This became Scotland’s first electrically powered lighthouse in 1886 when it was converted from oil. It was, however, converted back to oil in 1924 on account of the high running costs. Currently powered by diesel generators, it became fully automated in 1989.

Isle of May (Scotland’s National Nature Reserves);
Isle of May (Northern Lighthouse Board)

Isle of May from Crail

Isle of May, from Caiplie Caves, Crail


8 thoughts on “Isle of May

  1. Very nice selection of observations – I particularly like the middle photo. Interesting info too. Lovely views. Of course, you know what they say…the best things in Fife are free…

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