After a slightly frenetic Christmas shuttling up and down the Michael Line, visiting friends and family in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, we went to Lundy for New Year. Lundy is a three mile island in the middle of the Bristol Channel. It is difficult to get to, particularly at this time of year. You've got to want to go. Happily this was my fourth visit - I knew it would be worth it.

We were supposed to fly by helicopter from Hartland Point but the weather was against us and we were forced to spend the night in Ilfracombe, about which all I'll say is that it's seen better days.

We had to be at the ferry, the MS Oldenburg, in time to board at 5am.

The wind was blowing a force six and we headed out into pitch blackness against an incoming tide. The boat was knocked about in the swell and with no horizon to steady ourselves it wasn't long before the sea-sickness kicked in, two hours of unremitting hell. The crew were fantastic, however, and they administered to the sick with kindness and good humour. But we arrived with the day and it wasn't too long before we were tucking into a large breakfast at the Marisco Tavern, followed by what was to be the first of many sessions.

We stumbled over to our accommodation in an eighty mile-an-hour mist.

We were staying in Old Light, a nineteenth century light house that was eventually abandoned for being too tall and so quite invisible in fog.

A failure then, but we fell instantly in love with it. We climbed to the top at all times of day and night, playing music in its extraordinary acoustics, or just listening to the ever-present roar of the wind. We felt privileged, as if let in to complete some long-forgotten steampunk experiment.

When the weather cleared Old Light became the landmark it was meant to be.

For New Year we played a short set in the Marisco Tavern, then retreated back to Old Light, where, at midnight, we lit two candles, bringing the old girl back to life. In the gloom the lantern platform looked like a giant mushroom.

It was a reflective moment, a chance to be still after all the rushing around.

Over the next few days we walked the length and breadth of the island, taking perilous paths down to the water's edge.

We saw peregrines and ravens, soay sheep and sika deer. At Brazen Ward sixteen seals came swimming in to watch us, as curious of us as we were of them (apologies for the dreadful photo but you get the idea).

It was over all too soon and alas the force ten gale subsided in time for us to be helicoptered off.

In less than ten minutes we were back on Hartland Point, just where our adventure had started.

But there's a part of me that is still on the island and I'm counting the days until we can go back.


  1. Ah, I could almost breathe it for a moment there. Happy New Year. Sarah X

  2. How wonderful, such a special wild place. Long may it remain so.
    Happy New Year to you and yours

  3. Wow! How very absolutely wonderful! I can see why you'd not want to leave...
    Twas lovely to see you on your zoom through Devon, may it happen again soon :) xxx

  4. Each time I visit Lundy I vow to get a group of musical friends together and stay in the lighthouse for a few days. Glad to hear that it went well. Now I must get on and do it myself.

  5. truly wonderful experience, thank you for sharing.

  6. What a place. It sounds like a Phil Rickman novel in embryo: musicians play in old lighthouse and awaken Something Long Forgotten.

  7. Wonderful place and adventures! I grew up next to a lighthouse and have fond memories of climbing up at times as a privileged neighbor. Hurricanes there, however, were scary indeed! Love the seal shot.

  8. You really made me want to go there ! Thank you very much, dear Mr Letcher !



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