The island of Fladda is dominated by Fladda Lighthouse, located on the eastern side of the tiny island. It forms one of the Slate Islands, used for mining slate, and its beach is composed of slate.
The first record of ownership of the island was that of John Stevenson, a whiskey distiller from Oban. In 1860 the Northern Lighthouse Board purchased it to build the lighthouse.
The island was initially called Phladda. It was changed to Fladda by the Northern Lighthouse Board to avoid confusion with the island of Pladda, which also has a lighthouse.
Fladda Lighthouse was built in 1860, designed by David and Thomas Stevenson. First lit by paraffin, it was later converted to gas before electrification.
The Fladda boatmen came from several generations of the Mclachlan family, who were also Luing fishermen. From the Isle of Luing, they supplied boats for the relief of keepers and provision of supplies.
Originally the island had no soil. Peat was brought over from ships returning from Ireland with supplies of slate, providing fertile soil. Fresh water was brought in small wooden barrels from Luing, as there was none available on the island. The large enclosed garden was an excellent resource for the Fladda lighthouse families.
There were two keepers at the lighthouse, as there was no fog signal
It is reported that up to 19 people lived within the two cottages, which only had 5 bedrooms.
In 1946 the keepers spotted a World War 2 mine floating past the lighthouse. It exploded 2 miles away.
In 1910 Keeper Angus Macaulay was awarded a bronze Humane Society medal for saving a 14-year-old boy from drowning.
Fladda Lighthouse was the second major NLB lighthouse to be automated. As part of the process it was downgraded to a minor light status. The lighthouse was automated in 1956.
The keepers’ cottages were later sold and are privately owned.
The nearest inhabited island to Fladda is Luing, which can be seen across the water. At Cullipool, on Luing, The Atlantic Islands Centre is visible from the island and is well worth a visit. The centre has a display and information about the lighthouse. Visitors are welcomed with a spectacular display of the former Fladda Lighthouse optic from in its entrance.
Boat trips can be made to Fladda from Easdale.
Also in the Sound of Luing is the minor light of Dubh Sgeir Lighthouse.