Monday, 6 October 2014

My Lundy Island Adventure

I am one of the trainee rangers volunteering with the National Trust down here at Poltesco, Cornwall. Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to work on the restoration of an historic church on Lundy Island, two hours on the ferry from North Devon. 

Kathy, another trainee ranger, and I were there working on the restoration everyday for a week.
As a keen photographer, I spent my free time trying to capture the beauty of Lundy through my camera lens, and hope that some of the photos below bring my experience to life.
Panoramic view, south end of Lundy Island with MS Oldenburg and the South lighthouse.

When arriving at Lundy on the MS Oldenburg, you walk up a road on the
way to the town centre.  It is a steep climb but it is well worth it; this is the view you will be treated with!
Golden light hits the church just before sunset.

Lundy Town from the church rooftop.
Left is the beautiful historic church we were working on, we were chipping
out and then re-pointing the lime mortar on a large section of the wall. Hard work but a pleasant, almost therapeutic job chipping away and talking with the other volunteers. Charlie (our project leader) was very good at creating new topics of conversation!  
The Church restoration  project is led by the Landmark Trust and the Lundy company. It is fantastic to see such care taken of this wonderful building, and it was certainly very rewarding to be part of the restoration.

This is a view of the town centre, taken from the church roof. Lundy has the wonderful Marisco Tavern which has a great atmosphere and is where most people, including myself end up in the evenings, there is also a gift shop where you can purchase rare Lundy stamps and coins, most other buildings on the island are holiday or staff accommodation. Lundy has a cozy small town environment and you feel at home quickly here, as everyone is friendly and welcoming.

Steps down to the north end Lighthouse.

Lundy Island is just 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, so there is no excuse
not to explore the entire island! The staff are very knowledgeable so I would recommend taking in some history before you head off. 
For instance you can find engines from a 
WW2 bomber that crashed into the island if you know where to look.

 'Old Light' with some early morning mist.
Lundy has three lighthouses, the closest one to the town centre is named 'Old Light'. Unfortunately, it was poorly designed and was never very effective, as the light was often shrouded in fog and not visible.However it is a beautiful building and the views from the top are spectacular. They even have two deck chairs up on the top so you can sit and enjoy the views.

Spiral staircase in 'Old Light'
If you wake up early you may be lucky enough to witness one of Lundy's famous sunrises. Lundy treated me to some amazing light in the early morning and at dusk too, so whenever I had spare time I was out taking photos. The island has just been made an official dark sky reserve so on a clear night you will see some amazing views of the milky way. A must visit for any keen photographer!

Spectacular Golden Sunrise.
As you may have guessed I love photography. Before volunteering for the National Trust I was running my own photography business full time, so photography plays a huge part in my life, and it played a huge part in my trip to Lundy.

Unfortunately I cannot post all of the Lundy photographs here but if you would like to see more please visit: 

With a juvenile Manx Shearwater
(Photograph - David Price)

So as well as wonderful buildings and splendid views, what else does Lundy have to offer? Well the island has been designated SSSI, so has a wealth of terrestrial wildlife. It also has a large marine conservation zone, so is home to an abundance of seabirds and is a haven for marine wildlife.

While on the island I was lucky enough to take part in a study of Manx Shearwaters, which involved catching the birds, ringing, weighing and releasing them. This has to be done at night, as the birds fly in and nest under the cover of darkness to avoid predators. In order to do this there was much stumbling around on the cliffs with head torches until midnight, but it was an amazing experience that I will never forget!

I also had an incredible time snorkelling with very playful Atlantic Grey seals on my last day and witnessed a large pod of common dolphins jumping across the ferry's wake on the way back to Devon. 

Lundy Island, a wonderful place for work or play, do visit if you get the chance!

- Shannon.

Some resident Highland cattle enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.

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