Walking towards Fidra Lighthouse, photo by Fred McClintock
Take an early evening stroll down Manse Road from the Castle Inn towards Dirleton Gallery.
As you reach the small green, keep to your right down Manse Road. As you reach Dirleton Gallery you should be able to make out the Fidra lighthouse dead ahead of you, about two miles away in the distance, just above the tree line. The light switches on automatically in the gloaming, as dusk begins to fall (around 6 to 7pm in early Spring) and its strobe becomes ever more piercing as darkness descends (4 flashes every 30 seconds). The light continues to flash through the night and switches off again automatically at dawn.
The lighthouse was built on Fidra island in the Firth of Forth in 1885 to the design of Thomas Stevenson and David Alan Stevenson. The light source has been changed several times over the last 130 years and is currently a powerful LED-based light which is powered from an array of solar cells on the island.
Fidra island is thought to have been the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous book Treasure Island
and he supposedly based its treasure map on this small island, following visits accompanied by his father, who had a large part to play in the design of the lighthouse tower.
Perhaps it is now time to amble back into the village centre for something to eat or drink in either of the Castle Inn or the Open Arms?
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in 1880:
Whenever I smell salt water, I know that I am not far from one of the works of my ancestors. When the lights come out at sundown along the shores of Scotland, I am proud to think they burn more brightly for the genius of my father!
If you are interested to read further, see: The Lighthouse Stevensons
by Bella Bathhurst