We are on Lundy, for those of you who do not know, nor have never listened to an English shipping forecast,I suggest you Google it. The English shipping forecast goes like this,
Dover, Wight ,Plymouth Portsmouth , Lundy, Fastnet, etc etc
Lundy is described as remote, tranquil peaceful and that it surely is. It is owned by the National Trust and is run by the Landmark trust. For over twenty years they undertook the restoration of many of the buildings there which they now rent.
Lundy is recognised as an ecologically sensitive area with designations such as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), Nature Conservation Zone and an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
During the shipping season ( April to October) the island is reached by boat from either Ilfracombe of Bideford in Devon, it is about 15 miles from either and the trip takes about 2 hours. So far all I can say is our outbound trip was calm but beware it is in the reaches of the Bristol Channel ( which has the 2 nd highest tidal rise an fall in the world) so as it is currently blowing hard I am keeping the seasick pills handy for the return journey! The landmark Trust has 20 properties to let on the island ranging from a cottage for one to the beautiful Millcombe house for 12.
During the winter months the island is only reached by Helicopter!
So why are we here? Are we Twitchers( bird watchers)? Are we crazy cold water divers? Mountaineers? Flora and fauna experts? None of those! Himself declared a few months ago that he wanted to become a hermit! ( the most unlikely person to become a hermit, .apart from me that is) so I sourced a likely location, but then he was reluctant to be a real hermit, so now we are hermits à deux,
To be fair, there is accommodation for 70 people +a camp site ( and there were 260 on our boat, as it is also possible to be a day tripper) plus the residents who run the island, the farming, the shop, the Pub (+/-28) so not totally isolated, though one could be!
The accommodation is in old, refurbished cottages/houses, some with beds for 12 or others with only one bed. Some with central heating, others with wood burning stoves and one with no electricity and gas lamps! We are in the Square Cottage, and yes it is square, small bedroom, living and kitchen upstairs and fabulous views and main bed and bath downstairs, it is a stones throw from the tavern and shop, so perfectly located.
The tavern serves breakfast from 8.30 lunch and dinner until 9 but never closes so you can spend all night there if you so wish. There is no wifi here and very spasmodic signal for your mobile and Yes, mobiles lap tops and tablets are banned in the tavern! Hermitage, uh no, but vegging out time yes!
Food in the tavern is not gourmet but has a wide menu ( just me being picky I guess) And they are very accommodating . Sunday evening menu consisted of vegetarian Lasagne, fried whitebait, scampi and chips and of course roast dinners, roast pork or roast SOAY. As we had to ask about SOAY, I am sure you will too, so for your information, it wild sheep. Himself had to try it of course, the verdict, very tasty BUT, there was so much on the plate that it need to be a smaller portion on same size plate or a larger plate. The dessert menu was fairly substantial, ranging from cheese and biscuits to treacle pudding, syllabub cheesecake, Black Forest cake to strawberries and cream. I did not see any left overs!
So in our three days, I think we saw every rock and every blade of grass on an Island 1/2 mile wide and 3 miles wide. There are three lighthouses, the first one built in the middle of the island ( hence there were lots of wreaks in the area) and now there are two modern ones, at either end of the island. Did I forget to say, there are no beaches, Lundy is a lump of granite on the edge of the Atlantic, and as such the sea pounds the rocks and the wind blows. Surprisingly there is an airstrip, properly marked out with white rocks and sheep. Apparently before landing small planes have to “Buzz” the strip, to make the sheep move on. Himself is not about to take me there for a bite to eat, on a ‘Fly Day’!
The plus point for me was that I could order some Lundy Lamb, cut and delivered to my front door ( it has not arrived yet, I hasten to add) The lambs in the flock of sheep are born and reared on the island without the pressures of modern intensive methods, on a diet of their mother’s milk and pastures of traditional grasses and herbs such as yarrow, vetches, meddick and clover which all improves the taste. So I am awaiting eagerly the arrival of my Lamb, So watch this space.