We enjoyed the 90 minute crossing to Lundy last Tuesday on the MS Oldenburg, the Lundy supply ship, on a beautiful sunny day. Hats and gloves were needed to counteract a chilly breeze, but we didn’t have to layer up in waterproofs, and we stayed on deck for the crossing, eating bacon sandwiches and drinking coffee. No cetaceans this time, but we saw a few razorbills, guillemots and puffins once we neared the island.
Not everyone is as lucky with their crossings! By the Oldenburg’s next scheduled arrival on Thursday, the wind had become a stiff easterly, which is the worst wind for Lundy, as it blows right into the otherwise sheltered landing bay. We watched her as she approached the island, looking fairly stable, but as she turned into the bay the waves were catching her side-on, and she started to wallow about. She made it to the jetty, but was plunging up and down so much they couldn’t secure the passenger gangway, so they aborted the landing! Instead they took her around to the sheltered side of the island until later in the afternoon, when the wind had dropped a little, and the tide was lower, when they managed to tie up and offload the passengers and supplies.
The island is long, narrow, and flat-topped, with a gently sloping grassy east side, and a more precipitous, rocky west side The beach road winds gently up a valley from the beach to the village on the top of the island.
We stayed in one of the rental cottages, just below the village and handy for the tavern, but with fantastic views back down the valley to the sea. They have fully equipped kitchens, but we usually eat in the tavern in the evenings, as the food is so good.
After some very tasty island born and bred soay casserole, we wandered over to see the Anthony Gormley sculpture, Daze IV, which has been on the island for the last year. It is one of five life-sized sculptures placed near the centre and at four compass points of the UK in a commission by the Landmark Trust to celebrate its 50th anniversary. It is due to be removed soon, and despite my initial misgivings when it was first suggested, I think it has been good for the island and I will be sad to see it missing in September.
The next day was just as sunny, but with a very stiff breeze, so we dressed warmly, put on sun cream (typical for Lundy to be wearing a thermal hat and factor 50 on the cheeks…) and headed up the island towards the north end.
Pondsbury is the biggest pond on the island, and is good for birds, but there are several other small pools dotted about. This is quarter wall pond. We stopped at Jenny’s Cove which is the main puffin colony, and with the aid of decent binoculars found 8 puffins sitting on the cliffs, and 36 in the sea. They are just settling in to breed at this time of year, and by July there will be at least a couple of hundred buzzing around bringing sand eels to their chicks.
Finally arriving at the north end we found a sheltered spot for a picnic, watching the migrating wheatears and swallows, and counting the seals lazing on a flat rock below.
Walking straight back down the centre of the island takes only about an hour or so, so we had a relaxed afternoon reading before heading to the tavern for dinner. A perfect Lundy day.
To be continued…