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A Crofter's Life in Shetland (clip 4)

Britain's most northerly lighthouse

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An early documentary by filmmaker Jenny Gilbertson, one of Scotland's film pioneers. It records a traditional way of life which was about to disappear for ever and captures the annual farming year of the crofting communities of the Shetland Isles. The film features the islanders at work on their crofts, gathering peat, fishing and the celebrations during the "Up Helly Aa" festival.
In this clip we pay a visit to the most northerly lighthouse in Britain, Muckle Flugga, to visit Britain's loneliest men.

Questions & Activities


  • What purpose does a lighthouse serve?
  • Why are there no women at the lighthouse?
  • What would it have been like to live at Britain's most northerly lighthouse?
  • What jobs would the lighthouse keep have?


Research which Lighthouse is featured in the film and present your findings as a report/map/presentation.

Write an interview/newspaper report/diary/story or poem from the point of view of the lighthouse keeper.

Incorporate the clip into a presentation.

Use the film in conjunction with "Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch" by David Armitage.

Investigate and research the design and engineering of the lighthouse and transport to it.

This film was made by the same filmmaker as 'A Crofter's Life in Shetland - clip 1". Compare with the herring clip and comment on the representation of men and women. Compare the film with Lighthouse Relief and comment on the narrative construction and use of shots.

Read the poem 'Flannan Isle' by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson and link to various online resources.

Using this film, Lighthouse Relief' and the Northern Lighthouse Board website to write an historic account of Muckle Flugga or a diary entry for the lighthouse keeper located there.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-173-C
Resource Rights Holder Courtesy of The Gilbertson Family
Project Ref 0981
Date 1931
Genre Documentary, Amateur, Women Filmmakers
School Subject Economic History, Social History, Geography
Subject Matter Rivers and Coasts
Who Jenny Gilbertson (director)
Where Muckle Flugga
Event Working life
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 2:11
Film Length 46:00