When we visited Lundy for our honeymoon in 2015, we didn’t think we be returning to the island for quite a long time. But due to a logistics issue with a planned trip to Scotland, we found ourselves heading back, but this time with a tent. We had originally planned on touring the Scottish small isles on our tandem but that plan required a larger car to transport it, and as we had started to buy a house I had held off car purchases. So with a week of annual leave coming up we browsed the Landmark trust site and booked a trip to Lundy to stay at the campsite.
Friday 7th April 2017
We departed home just after 1pm heading down the M5 through Bristol. It was a hot day and after about 2 hours the Micra started playing up, loosing power and struggling generally. We managed to limp off the motorway and found a garage who tried to diagnose the fault but found ourselves needing a Nissan dealer with the right computer. Eventually we limped around the corner to an Asda car park and called the RAC, upset that our holiday was over so soon. The RAC it seems however have a team for arranging onward travel so a deal was struck whereby the Micra went home on a transporter and we went on to Ilfracombe in a taxi.
We had planned to stay in an AirBnB before catching the ferry and we arrived later than planned but still welcomed by our host. Having brought our bags up to the room we went out for a walk to the harbour and a pint to relax after a trying day.
Saturday 8th April 2017
A very early start to catch the ferry, I hadn’t realised we got breakfast with our room but our host was a former Bed and Breakfast landlady and had put on a spread for us, which was most gratefully received. Very kindly they also carried our bags to the harbour for us in their car.
After boarding the Oldenburg, the crossing unlike our 2015 visit was smooth and also busy, I picked up the letter-boxing pack on the ferry as I was determined to find them all this time. Reading through the sheet, some of the older ones had gone and some new ones had appeared. To get off to a good start I claimed the Oldenburg’s stamp before making land. For those who are new to the concept of letter boxes, they are like geo caches but without the GPS and usually involve a rough map location and a clue to the location of the box containing a log book and a stamp you use in your own log book.
We walked up to the village first collecting the letterbox from the quayside, and then following the path round to the flagpole and stopping to look for one of the new letterboxes called the Ugly. Just below the flagpole is a little lookout hut where we rested for a while enjoying the scenery before moving onto the church.
The church contained the plans for restoration, including the creation of another landmark for guests to stay in. We also claimed the Letterbox while we were there but that is of course a fringe benefit. From the church we walked over the cattle grid and into the village and picked up some lunch from the shop before wandering to the campsite to collect our bags and pitch our tent in a corner of the field.
Sunday 9th April 2017
The dawn chorus on Lundy is loud, the many hordes of small birds unhindered by rats and predators really get going as the sun comes up, better than any alarm clock.
Today we intended to really get going collecting letterboxes so we quickly whipped around the shop, and then headed north toward the north light figuring we might as well start at the furthest point of the island.
On the way north we encountered Lundy ponies (who’s population is carefully managed), highland cows, and many goats.
The northern tip of the Island juts into the Atlantic and is therefore quite windswept, thankfully there are steps and hand rails down to the lighthouse which is now remotely controlled but the evidence of the old families who used to live here is still evident.
On the return we stopped off at the John O’Groats, Gull Rock, Brazen Ward, and Lost Hienkel letterboxes, and then the Tavern for supper.
Monday 10th April 2017
Today was the day a long standing grudge was to be settled, Rat Island was to be climbed and it’s elusive stamp claimed for our log book. There are some things to note from my ascent.
- I graded my ascent at V Diff.
- It was definitely the wrong way and very loose underfoot.
- If it was on UKC I would have claimed it as a solo.
I climbed down from the summit via the less technical and probably safer official route, as the paths in the grass made it very obvious the correct way to go.
We joined in with a Rockpool ramble led by the Islands ranger. Mary being an environmental scientist was very excited and much fun was had tootling around the pools.
From the jetty we headed back up the hill towards the Castle and Bensons cave. From there we wandered up to the South light compound and spent some time mooching about before heading back down to the coast road.
We ate supper at the tent before heading to the tavern so Mary could try to teach me chess, I can say I didn’t learn very well.
Tuesday 11th April 2017
Tuesday is boat day so we shopped early and headed along the west side of the island to avoid the crowds around the village, our aim was to finally locate the Jennys cove letterbox. Alas there were no Puffins and the letterbox was 100 metres further along that we expected but we successfully found it.
We headed back towards the campsite stopping to collect the letterboxes from the Wendy Mitchell memorial, Earthquake, and the Battery. As we got closer to the camp we stopped to watch the lambing.
Back at the tent we cooked a supper of sausage stew and then headed to the Tavern (who would have guessed) for pudding.
Wednesday 12th April 2017
Today we intended to collect all the close at hand letterboxes so set off to visit, Benjamins Chair, Rocket Pole pond, Pilots Quay, and the Old Light.
In the afternoon we headed to the lookout spot for hot chocolate and cake while I tried out the portable ham radio vhf setup I had brought. I managed to make a number of contacts, some via simplex, and some via the repeater at GB3DN,
We headed to the tavern for supper where we took advantage of the library to try and identify a number of the tiny birds we had seen zooming around the village.
Thursday 13th April 2017
Had a lazy morning, but during breakfast discovered that the boat had arrived early today so had less time before the day visitors arrive in the village.
We made quick progress up the island to the Earthquake so we could collect the bunny stamp, before following the quarter wall for a gentle trip around Quarry Beach, the Felix Gade Hut, and VC Quarry.
We had lunch sat at the Felix Gade hut before descending to the beach. Following the coast path we headed back to the village cutting through Goose field.
Having now collected all the stamps we stopped at the shop for ice cream and our letter boxing certificate. Supper at the tent was fish fingers, mushy peas, and cake.
In the tavern Mary went to a talk entitled “Under the Waves”, I filled in the logbooks and enjoyed the very good beer.
Friday 14th April 2017
With no more letterboxes to collect we had a gentle stroll around the island. Starting at Tibbets, which I have never seen up close despite being marked as the smallest property it is remarkably spacious.
From Tibbets we headed south east and then along the eastern path towards the Battery where the shells of the cottages, loos, and the Battery itself perch on the sea cliffs.
As we walked back to the campsite Mary kept getting followed by lambs thinking she was a farmer. I did remind her if she brought one home she had to do the paperwork.
Getting back to the tent we began the sad job of packing up ready for departure in the morning. As has seemed to become a pattern we cooked at the tent then headed to the tavern for pudding.
Saturday 15th April 2017
Packed up our bags and tent and left our kit for collection by the boat crew and headed into the village to settle up our account. As the weather was getting cold we huddled in the tavern for coffee and cake.
When the tavern got busy we headed to the look out point, Mary wrote and I revised for my intermediate amateur radio licence exam.
We joined a round island nature trip on the boat which got quite bumpy at the point where the Atlantic met the Bristol channel and the ranger gave up on the script and ad-libbed which was much better.
Having completed the nature cruise we stayed on board while the day visitors came back to the boat and then departed for the mainland.