A diary with a difference…..


Lancaster Bomber over Flat Holm

Had a few planes flying around the island yesterday, i only got to see the Red Arrows do a fly past, missed the Lancaster Bomber and Spitfire(s?).  They were visiting the Penarth Festival i think.  Fortunately a gentleman who occasionally practices geophysics on the island, and who lives locally, got this fantastic shot.

Thank you Peter Brabham!

You can view more of Peters photos on his flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taffytank/

Inside the Lighthouse…

Busy week(end)!

As our weeks and weekends blur into one another, its time for yet another brief update.  Apologies for not writing too much, i’m hoping the photos will make up for it a little.  First of all, i’d like to say a HUGE congratulations to Will, our awesome ex-volunteer, who completed his coast cycle yesterday, 4057 miles!  He’s missing the sea already!  Thank you Will and good luck with your new job at Edale Youth Hostel  a beautiful part of the world!

A big thank you to all the gull ringers and especially to Brian for making the weekend on the island a special one for all of us, and for truly being the first to hear the clang of the last orders bell, and probably the first to be politely asked to leave, i hope you all enjoyed our little pub, it certainly has a great atmosphere!


Well, it’s sheep shearing time here on Flat Holm.  Last year we did this with hand shears, this year we have a brand spanking new set of sheep shears, electric ones!  Spent the best part of yesterday morning setting them up but finally got going, not as easy as it looks!  The team have also been out with the mower and strimmers attacking (mainly) the thistles.  A helicopter visited us earlier in the week, such a tiny thing!  A big thank you to Grace and Lizzy, our two work experience volunteers who have really worked hard.  A few of our Soay are pregnant and we’ve been seeing brief glimpses of the lambs, never enough for a photo, these are very wild and timid ewes.  Yesterday however i was woken at 0440am by the distinctive call of a ewe to her lamb, they were playing and feeding outside my bedroom window!

Just a few pics..

It’s been a while since i posted any pics on here, these were taken a while ago, a couple of some of the wonderful boats we see journeying too and from the island, and also some of our greenhouse which one of our volunteers, Marta, has done a wonderful job of filling with vegetables, thank you Marta!  The farmhouse garden is simply incredible at the moment, so full of life…  Pictures to follow this week!

We had ‘The Waverley”, the worlds last sea worthy paddle steamer in the channel recently, beautiful boat and still running trips around the uk.  Take a look at her Wikipedia Page for more information

The Gull and Leek is open!

Our pub is finally open! A huge thank you to all the staff and volunteers for making today happen, thank you to all who visited, including the new Lord Mayor of Cardif, Delme Bowen. It was a great day, even the gulls seemed to be behaving. You can still catch the news report here, about 21 minutes and 30 seconds in. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0122ht5/BBC_Wales_Today_24_06_2011/

Ex Volunteer Will’s Charity Bike ride – Update

Update from Kat regarding Wil:

“Just thought I’d update you as Will won’t have internet for a while.
After a slight trailer malfunction he is well on his way in Scotland – currently on North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. He’s still on schedule to finish, back in Hull, in about a months time.
He’s had quite a few random Flat Holm encounters – word of this little island really does get around!”

Will reached Stornoway last night (09/06/11), back to the mainland today, heading North



Well, i first of all must apologise to Will for not mentioning this earlier.  Will is cycling around Britain (including Ireland and Flat Holm) in order to raise money for the island.  The last i heard is that he is already half way.  He started in Hull and past Liverpool last week.  If you see him be sure to wave, if you wish to make a donation, please contact the project office on 02920 877912.  Will, let us know where you are and good luck!

If anyone is looking for a fantastic and motivated Warden with too many skills to mention, let us know, and we will pass it on to Will!  Thank you to Bob for the photos!



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!

Gull count weekend……

Well by the sound of things it was another hectic weekend on Flat Holm, and the week is continuing this theme… Preparations are under way for our first visit from Weston-Super-Mare.

The gull count took place last weekend, if you’d like to learn a little more about the gull ringers please click this link.  I don’t have the exact figures yet but i have heard that we were about 400 pairs of lesser black backs down on last year, which would mean about 3700 pairs on the island.  This is most likely a natural fluctuation as the gulls are limited primarily by space on the island.


Fog Horn Cottage & Walking Safety Signs

Just a quick one to let everyone know the exciting news. 

The electrical works in the Fog Horn Keeper’s Cottage began this week.  Some of the old wiring (not all) has been removed and the new wiring, plug sockets etc have started to go in.  We can not remove all the old wiring and junction boxes because it is all listed, some looks nice and interesting and some could do with removing but we are not allowed.  I personally am very excited about this as it will make the renovation works inside go much faster.  Our target of renting the Cottage out by the end of Summer is looking more and more hopeful.

A few pictures are included but not very interesting unfortunately, I put them in so people would believe me that work has progressed!!

Now on to the walking safety signs.  We are very dedicated to health & safety on Flat Holm for obvious reasons (It’s very hard to get off the island sometimes).  So we have come up with a novel new idea, I’m not sure if it will take off though.  Safety signs that follow you round the island!!  Have a look at the photo and you can see Beryl The Welsh Black Sheep helping us to maintain our high standards of safety!!!

On a serious note, she became trapped inside a wooden frame for holding safety signage and I spotted her walking around with it on the central grassland.  Me and Bob our nearly resident carpenter jumped in to sheep rescue mode and released her.  She is fine and well.  Thankyou for your help though Beryl, it was much appreciated.