From stomach-churning heights to finger-freezing cold, our planet is packed with plenty of places where the middle ground doesn’t exist.

Humans can be gluttons for punishment. What is with this incessant need to explore and inhabit places where, for the most part, no one in their right mind would want to be for any extended period of time? One might argue that’s the price we pay for having a curious mind.

Bishop Rock, located 28 miles off the coast of England, is a shining example of the lengths people have gone in the past to inhabit what is essentially a big chunk of rock in the middle of nowhere. In this particular case, it was the construction of a 10-storey lighthouse – needed to stop ships from colliding with the islands rocky neighbors. The original Bishop Rock lighthouse was erected in the mid-1800s, but a major Atlantic storm destroyed that structure to the tune of $1.9 million in damages (in today’s dollars). The current lighthouse was built in 1858, renovated in 1887 and is now responsible for the 5,700 tons of granite that takes up most of the island when high tide rolls in.

Bishop Rock’s light beacon, which can be seen for 24 nautical miles, has been operated remotely from a lightkeeper station in Harwich, Essex, since 1992. The lighthouse still gets visitors, who now get flown in via chopper thanks to a helipad.  If they’re up for blustery winds and limited real estate on which to stretch their legs, up to four guests at a time can take in the mid-ocean view for up to a month.

Story by Jay Moon