Sunday, 3 January 2016

Over-wintering on Welsh Islands

Here in North Wales we probably think we’ve had it pretty rough over the Christmas period, with roads flooded and closed, railways closed (Bangor to Holyhead a few days ago, Conwy Valley line closed for weeks to come) and difficult driving conditions.

Spare a thought then for those hardy souls spending the winter on two offshore islands, Ramsey and Bardsey (Ynys Enlli). Life on offshore islands is never easy, but at least staff on islands without livestock, such as Skomer and Skokholm, are able to leave for the mainland in early winter.

You can read about the adventures of Greg and Lisa Morgan on their Ramsey blog on the RSPB website. In addition to pictures of the little harbour being pounded by the gales 3 days ago and at the end of November, you will find out about the tidal turbine which was installed in Ramsey Sound in mid-December (in a calm spell!). To see how Lisa and Greg have coped over various winters, you can read their blog back to 2010.

The situation on Bardsey is a bit more complicated. The Porter family have been living on Enlli since 2007, but by October last year both children were away at University in Falmouth (some way away....). They were due to come back for Christmas, by which time when the island should have had another two new residents: Sian Stacey and her partner Mark Carter. Mark has been Assistant Warden at the Bird Observatory for several years, and Sian is the new Island Manager for the Bardsey Island Trust. Sian and Mark were all set to arrive at the start of December, but had to wait on the mainland until 27th when the weather relented and Colin Evans was able to take them and the young Porters across.

You can read Sian’s blog about their adventures at http://bardseyislandlife.blogspot.co.uk, and see pictures of the whole gang bathing in the Cafn on January 1st. Let’s see how they cope with the next three months!

My pictures taken at the end of September show that life on Bardsey can be easier, at times.

Cattle returned to the island in September
A September sunset looking towards Ireland 
Geoff Gibbs

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