A TINY Scottish island inhabited only by puffins and seals since its lighthouse keeper departed proved one of the remotest locations yet for an intrepid local company.

Colleagues from LARS International in Carnforth headed to northernmost Scotland to decommission a weather station for an unnamed client on the isolated rocky outcrop of Sule Skerry - a haven for wildlife 35 miles from Orkney's main island.

Challenging logistics meant their mission took a month to plan, and was meticulously timed to avoid the seabird breeding season as well as seal pups nesting on rocks.

The three-tonne weather station's metal tower and cabin had to be dismantled and airlifted by helicopter back to Orkney in pieces, in as few trips as possible, over two-and-a-half days. The crew were then flown back to the mainland - all with minimal disruption to the island's wildlife.

"We were advised the breeding season for puffins extends from early April to late August; from mid-March to late September for gannets; and from early February to mid-September for shags," said Julian Cooper, business development manager at LARS, which specialises in installing and building radio sites and antenna systems.

"When taken together, these breeding seasons mean consent is not normally given for helicopter access between February 1 and September 30.

“We were also advised the grassy, peat areas of Sule Skerry are covered in puffin burrows, so visitors are recommended to avoid walking on these areas where possible. What’s more, there are often seal pups on the island any time between November and March and they like the rocky area behind the mast.”

Once the seal pups had left the rocks, LARS was eventually given access to the 16-hectare island, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Seizing "a small window of opportunity", helicopter firm PDG Aviation Services was hired to ferry two LARS colleagues back and forth to the island, complete with sandwiches, an emergency five-day survival kit, satellite phone and compact portable loo. A third team member stayed on the mainland.

Mr Cooper said: "When our customer's opening gambit was, I thought I'd get in touch because you're a can-do company, you know the request is not going to be that straightforward.

"On paper it seemed simple enough. Decommission the tower and cabin which were on the island and bring them back to the mainland to be disposed of. But that's where straightforward stopped and challenging began.

"For instance, there's no skip on Sule Skerry, and certainly nowhere you can safely dispose of any large metal objects. And of course there was the wildlife issue of which we needed to be very mindful."

LARS projects manager Nick Churchill said: "This was a true test of sensitivity, logistics and collaboration and couldn't have been successfully carried out without the assistance of local residents and businesses.

"It was a project LARS were thrilled to be a part of. Well done to all those involved - we’re looking forward to the next email which references our can-do attitude."