Lundy

Lundy

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The MV Oldenburg

The sea was “moderate,” which, on a ship like the Oldenburg, is another way of saying that people puked. There was sick everywhere but not, happily, spewing forth from the mouths of a party of school kids whose teachers had the good sense to sit them out in the fresh, de-nauseating wind. Ilfracombe to Lundy doesn’t look far on a map, but it takes longer than sailing to France. We arrived to rain and wind, so there wasn’t much to do other than sit in our quarters in Castle Keep North and, in dad’s case, listen to short-wave radio (there was no TV).

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Listening to the radio in Castle Keep North

The weather was brilliant the next day and so dad and I set about exploring the southern end of the island. On Lundy, one walks.

I had vaguely heard of the “Lundy Letterboxes” before we arrived, which are a series of physical caches containing a logbook and a stamp. It’s somewhat akin to geocaching except you follow clues, not coordinates. After finding the first one outside of the Castle, I was hooked. Over the two days we were on the island, we found 14 out of the 27. All the more reason to return!

 

 

Walking around Lundy is a delight. The seascape is beautiful and there are loads of interesting things to see, from the lighthouses, church, and battery, to animals such as goats and sika deer (as well as birds, birds, birds).

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Old Light
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Down to the Battery
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Landing beach, flag . . . and a goat!
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Capra aegagrus hircus

Lundy is owned by the National Trust and is managed by the Landmark Trust who rent out the very comfortable properties on the island. Lundy is a wild place but one can quite easily drop back into civilisation. Dad and I stayed in the Castle Keep and ate in the Marisco Tavern (winner of Best Lundy Pub every year since 1925!). The one property truly away from it all is Tibbetts. Next time?

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Castle Keep
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Castle lawn
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Marisco Tavern
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Next stay: Tibbets?

I had been promising dad a trip to Lundy for years, so I’m glad we finally did it. If you like the idea of a break where bimbling around with binoculars by day and reading by night sounds like heaven, then Lundy is the place. I’m not sure the trip over would be to everyone’s taste (in the winter months, you can take the helicopter instead), but I suppose it’s Lundy’s price of admission and helps keep the place remote.

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Radnor Forest

Walkers in the Radnor Forest will no doubt head to the highest point — the Great Rhos — although to be honest there are better hills here (e.g. Whimble). Still, it’s a historic county top, which means it needed to be bagged (15/63 now complete).

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We parked near Water-break-its-neck waterfall near Old Radnor, a place right out of the enchanted forest in Princess Mononoke.The path went through Warren Plantation — we missed the main path, though, which led to the usual heather-and-bog bashing that my kids think always characterises dad’s walks.

To the east of the Great Rhos is an army artillery range at Harley Dingle. The valley looks gorgeous so it’s a shame it’s out of bounds. A red warning flag suggested firing was in progress but I highly doubt it. No squaddie is going to walk up and down from here just to manage the flag.

The summit is a flat plateau with trig point.

To the south-west is the amazing Mithil Brook. I have been here before and count it as one of my “secret places.” Total Middle Earth.

Bald head sunburn factor: 6/10. A bit chilly out of the sun but still lovely.

How to make money at university and kill that student loan #3: cash back

As my son approaches university, I decided I would try to teach him how he can make, save, and spend money on a student budget. I have written about user testing and survey sites, now it’s the turn of cash back.

This is easy. Sign up to TopCashback and Quidco and route your normal online shopping through these sites. (You can use a Chrome extension to alert you to offers.)

Earnings: logojust paid me £37.66 (they took an annual fee of £5) for about six months. logo is at £31.13 (most of that came from simply buying my daughter’s new mobile). You can withdraw to your bank account or Paypal. They also pay slightly higher amounts if you withdraw as a shopping voucher (e.g. 5% bonus for an Amazon gift card)

Pretty easy stuff. You just need to remember to do it (which why the extension is worth downloading).

Total: ~£10 per month on average. Save up for Christmas presents?

 

Tresco 2016

My parents have been visiting the Isles of Scilly for over a decade. Over half term we finally got to see what the fuss is about, spending a week with them on Tresco. The tl;dr is easy: Tresco is amazing. Even if you have seen pictures of the azure waters of the Scilly archipelago, the 28 mile flight on the Skybus from Land’s End still offers a great reveal. It may have been October but it was mild and often sunny; one can only imagine what it is like here in warmer weather.

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St Martin’s

From the main island of St. Mary’s, a boat took us to Tresco, a private holiday island managed by the Dorrien-Smith family as a timeshare business. Our week was spent in the Sea Garden Complex in Old Grimsby.

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Sea Garden

I was entranced all week by the view to the east to the islets of Northwethel and Teän and other evocatively named rocks. The archipelago may have been formed as little as 1500 years ago due to post-glacial rebound in the north of Britain which would have pushed Scilly down (which was once known by the Tolkienesque name of Ennor). I also discovered that I am a pharologist — a fan of lighthouses — and gazed over at Round Island lighthouse as often as I could (as well as the remarkable Bishop Rock far in the distance).

Looking east
Looking east
Round Island lighthouse

Tresco island is divided into three: a wild north coast, all heather and wind; a woodland interior, home to the sub-tropical botanical marvel of Abbey Garden; and glorious white beaches on three of the four sides.

The King(s) in the North!
The King(s) in the North!
Pentle Bay

I travel quite a bit and see some wonderful things but was really taken by Scilly (and Tresco in particular). Next time I shall aim for warmer seas so I can get out in a kayak.

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(Sound track to Scilly.)