The real Isle of May is situated on the Firth of Forth, eight kilometres off the East coast of Scotland. Less than half a kilometre wide and two kilometres long, the island is owned by Scottish National Heritage and used mainly as a nature reserve.
The island is closed to visitors every winter to prevent disturbance to seal pups, and accessible during the summer months via a 45 minute journey on a ferry which sails from Anstruther and Crail, and also from North Berwick.
While the real Isle of May has no permanent residents, our imagined Second Life version is home to a small group of artists, a lighthouse keeper and a ranger who takes care of the island’s birds and wildlife. The latter are the most outstanding feature of the sim, which is teeming with life – the soundscape alone is remarkable. Here you will find: gulls, puffins, guillemot, cormorants, Canada geese, otters, an orca, two dolphins, various ducks and swans, herons, cranes, osprey, pheasants, and a range of garden birds including various finches and songbirds, crows, kingfishers, and thrushes.
The sim is on two levels, with a beautiful, peaceful U-shaped cliff top area covered in vegetation and lower beaches on either side. The buildings on the sim are few: the main house stands at the centre of the sim, with a lighthouse and foghorn station to one side and the wildlife keeper’s office together with the ruins of St Adrian’s Chapel on the other. Down below, on small beaches, there are various buildings such as an old stone house, beach huts and a fisherman’s lodge. All around the island there is a wild sea crashing against rocks and cliffs. The sense of location is impressive.