Today is the 163rd anniversary of Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, A Child's Garden or Verse and, our favourite short story title ever; Thrawn Janet.
RLS is mainly associated with his childhood home, Edinburgh, but he did visit Orkney and Shetland as a nineteen year old with his father, Thomas Stevenson, a lighthouse engineer. Thomas' father, Robert, and his brothers, Alan and David, all built lighthouses and this was supposed to be his son's career until Robert Louis announced that he was going to be a writer.
RLS wrote letters to his mother during the 1869 inspection trips of the family's lights. He was not too taken with Stromness declaring it to be 'a cluster of gray houses in the upper end of a bight - not very inviting.' (bight, or bicht, is a loop)
|Hoy High lighthouse, one of the lights being inspected on the 1869 trip.|
|St Magnus Cathedral, Pre-Restoration by Tom Kent|
And for more on RLS himself see here.