A diary with a difference…..


Well once again it has been all go in the last couple of weeks, anyone who thinks we live an idyllic lifestyle here on Flat Holm is mistaken!  All very exciting…  The pub is being finished off this week, just waiting for Matt’s license to come back.  A few promotional shots went out to BBC West, because we are now not only going to be serving Cardiff one of the best ‘Wilderness in your backyard experiences’, but from this month, we are also proud to welcome the Westward Ho,  A 100 seater beach landing ferry from Weston-Super-Mare.  They will be visiting us several times a month throughout summer giving more people than ever the opportunity to discover the wonderful secrets of Flat Holm.

Promotional shot of one of our fantastic volunteers (Ben) reluctantly pretending to drink a pint of cold tea in front of the lighthouse.  Thank you Ben.

Wonky continues to amaze us, he’s getting quite meaty chunky now.  He has been weaned off milk and occasionally forgets to run over to us whenever we go outside.  He quite often finds his way into the vegetable garden behind the agrished, then can’t find his way out again, hence the picture below..

Gull chicks are starting to appear all over the island, hopefully with a little more rain we’ll have a successful year.  Undeniably cute and protected by defensive parents, the chicks often hide in undergrowth near the nest, so if you visit the island you have to be extra careful that you don’t disturb any of the nests, even if they look a bit rubbish and unused.

The lambs are getting big and strong and starting to explore the island for themselves, it’ll be time to separate most of them from their mothers soon and get them onto a mix of pasture and pellets.

In the last week work has begun installing the bar in the pub, including adding a water supply (Hot and cold!) to the barracks.  We have also been dagging the sheep (cutting some of the wool from around their bottoms).  Dagging sheep helps prevent blow fly strike, a horrible thing for a sheep to get.  We also check teeth and hooves to make sure they are in tiptop condition.

Electricians have been working in the Fog Horn Cottage and we can finally report that we have light!  This is a major leap forward in the renovation process as it means we can really get stuck in.  Unfortunately, due to some bad weather and high winds, the long day was cancelled.  Can’t wait for the Flat Holm society weekend, we certainly have lots of jobs to be getting on with!

4 responses

  1. Very exciting news for the Island – things are certainly coming along nicely.

    I hope I get to visit there again one day.

    When I’ve visited the UK before, I’ve noticed that sheep tend to not have their tails docked. In Oz, tail docking is quite common practice as one way to reduce fly strike.

    I won’t go into the subject of Mulesing that occurs here though….I can understand why a lot of people are against Mulesing. But then again a sheep who dies of fly strike surely goes through a heck of a lot of pain too….

    Anyways, I hope everything continues to go well on the island. Fab stuff about the pub too 🙂

    May 30, 2011 at 10:13 am

    • Thank you Ruth. Our sheep are Welsh Black Mountain, they are smallish (40-50kg) and supposedly less susceptible to fly strike. There are so many arguments for and against docking. I can understand a farmer with a huge flock wanting to minimise the impact of fly strike, it is an absolutely awful thing for a sheep to be afflicted with, but sheep can use their tails to keep flies away. We, as you noticed, choose not to. With a smaller flock it is easier to keep an eye on any scour problems and spot any ewes that perhaps have fallen behind the flock. I did buy the bands for castration (these are the same as used in docking), but none of the ram lambs were ‘ready’ within the first week.

      Instead of docking we give the ewes a good close bum and back of legs trim (dagging).

      i hadn’t heard of mulesing until you mentioned it, it isn’t allowed in the UK and i can see why, my personal opinion is that it is perhaps a step too far, it would be interesting to see if there are any stock losses as a direct result of mulesing..


      June 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      • Hi Sam,

        Thanks for your reply….

        When I first saw all the sheep tails over there, I thought there mustn’t have been the occurrence of fly strike like there is in Australia. So I obviously had the wrong end of the stick it seems.

        Mulesing is fairly extreme I admit…..one can understand why it is debated so heatedly.

        I must say, the lamb photos you guys shared, and the videos, were delightful. Thank you so much for sharing them with us 🙂


        June 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm

  2. Carole Sharp

    Stunning Photos – Thanks!Last Friday on the island,I was amazed to see how many changes have been made in the Barracks. Well done to you all(including Bob!).
    It is so good to see our Steep Holm friends on Flat Holm again. I hope that you have lots more visitors on the Westward Ho! to share the delights of Flat Holm.
    Cheers, Carole

    May 30, 2011 at 8:18 pm

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