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The Island – March trip

Last weekend I got over to the island on Friday afternoon and left on Sunday morning after getting plenty of work done.

As the island is surrounded by very shallow water there is no deep water access. At all but the highest low tides the island is completely surrounded by some the stickiest mud you could imagine. Last weekend the tides had pretty much the largest range of the year, the high was 5.6m and the low was -0.5m, an incredible range of 6m, higher than the cottage! It’s a little counter intuitive but for accessing the island a neap tide is preferable to a spring as during springs the water moves so fast that the window when you can land is much shorter.

Anway the tide was due to be high in the afternoon so we arrived at the pier early and unloaded the car the gear. I then went to the nearby building suppliers to pick up timber to prop the roof. After navigating that confusing world of metric and imperial I arrived back with the timbers, we loaded the boat and set off.

It was breezy but at our backs so the water was pretty calm. When the tide is running there are number of points where the currents meet, creating these strange areas of agitatated water, the relatively flat bottom of the inflatable seems to deal with them well and we landed on the island after about 30 minutes.

Getting equipment or supplies onto the island is a challenge and everything has to be handled at least four times before it reaches its final destination: into the car, into the boat, out of the boat and finally along the lane to the house.  After an hours hard graft we have the timbers and the rest of the scaffolding at the cottage. We set up the scaffolding in the main room to inpsect the ceiling, which is bulging in a few places. The ceiling is ok but we spotted a few very badly rotten rafters, there is a leak somewhere. Another job for the list, the roof is very over-engineered so it isn’t that worrying but the entire celing will have to be checked over soon.

The first time this end of the house has seen the light of day for a long time!

The next morning we set up the scaffolding at the east gable to remove the last of the ivy. The scaffold is 5m high and feels a little precarious but we soon got used it to. The ivy is really thick along the concrete barge and must be chopped and sawn off inch by inch. By the end of the day we had the vast majority of it off and poured weedkiller on the rest, we will get it next time. Hard work but satisfying to finally see that end of the house exposed.

That evening there was a wonderful sunset and we went down to water to take it in.

The next morning we did some tidying up, planted some potatoes and spread a few boxes of wildflower seeds, not sure if they will take hold but worth a shot. We also stacked the firewood outside against the south wall, it was getting mouldy in the house so hopefully it will dry out better outside.


We also spent some time cutting back some of the hedges that surround the house. Over the last few decades some quite tall ash trees have sprouted and they are blocking a lot of light.

The tide was going out but still high as we left, but as the tide was running against the windy it was a little lumpy. We lost a paddle overboard at some stage. I always dread packing up the boat but it’s never that bad and only takes around 15 or 20 minutes. It’s a lot of boat to fit into the boot of my car.