The lonely muckle flugga rock – buffeted by sea-crash, topped by a little lighthouse – is simply there. This is the northernmost point in the British Isles, visible up close only on a little boat or via a two-hour hike across the Hermaness headland – where bleak peat bogs and circling bonxies give way to hulking Middle-earth cliffs, glaikit sheep tottering on precipices, terns springing like boomerangs over waters churning with a steady basso profondo.
There’s an epic beauty to it all – but try the words ‘Muckle Flugga’ on most Brits and watch the blank expression. There are no postcards of the lighthouse, no cheery guides in branded fleeces. Just a laminated sign on a wooden post at the edge of the crag, informing visitors that beyond there’s nothing but grey sea until the North Pole.
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