Lundy: 29th February – 3rd March 2008

The UL made its annual pilgrimage to Lundy from February 29th – March 3rd, 2008. In accordance with Clare’s plans, the adventure began on Friday as we all converged on the pub in shifts via helicopter. After suitable fortification, Quentin led the exodus to the old lighthouse across the fields into gale-force winds and driving drizzle that concealed the lighthouse until we nearly ran into it. This called for a warm and cheery fire, which Quentin and Clare provided — after a suitable interval. We celebrated with G&Ts all around before heading out for general ringing and dinner. Lucy’s homemade sloe gin was the highlight of the evening. It went quickly, and darkness fell on our final toast as the power was turned off for the night. So began our nightly tradition of wandering about in the dark searching for the lighthouse, the castle, Hanmers…

Saturday dawned bright and windy, and we headed out in various parties to explore the island. Most of us lunched at the North Light Tandoori at some point during the day and recommend it for future visits. Roger was spotted searching for puffins; he didn’t spot any (outside the stuffed ones in the gift shop). Guy had more success identifying a specimen of the rare Lundy cabbage. The seals were out in force, sunning themselves and playing among the rocks on the lee side of the island oblivious to those of us perched on the hillside watching. Some managed to find time to ring on Saturday. There was a quarter of Stedman Caters, and Alex Dicks rang in his first quarter of Superlative Surprise Major.

The speed Scrabble craze continued unabated throughout the weekend. The
meaning of the word “scrabble” became all too apparent as we grabbed for tiles to augment our words among cries of “take!” as one of us completed a stage of the game. JW won hands down for most creative use of the English language. Lucy was banned from play for being too good.

Sunday was Mothering Sunday and Harry Saddleton’s fourth birthday. Quarter peals of Cambridge Surprise Royal and Grandsire Caters were rung to celebrate. James Dyer also rang his first quarter of Surprise: Cambridge Surprise Major. Hugh and Clare braved the strong winds to fly their kites on the headland, while handbellers rang a quarter of Kent Treble Bob Major in cosy Stone Cottage. The afternoon culminated with Harry’s piratethemed birthday party and Helen’s excellent pirate map-shaped chocolate cake. Harry “knighted” many of the party guests with his new toy sword — and then executed them with his pirate pistol.

The generator expired early on Sunday night, forcing a switch from beer to wine just as the evening festivities got into full swing. The giant Jenga set took centre-stage at this point, as we tried to extract and balance the blocks in the glow of the firelight and emergency lighting. Laura was the star, removing blocks from a supine position on the floor without mishap. Lian, alternatively, managed to tip the entire structure on Rupert without touching any of the blocks — honest.

We gathered in the pub Monday morning for the return journey looking only slightly the worse for wear — except Mike, who was sporting his “danger man” sunglasses, having lost one of the lenses to his regular glasses unnoticed in the night (a likely story). Since the weather was bright and sunny, a group of us ventured one last walk to stand at the edge of the sheer drop down to the lime kiln. Successful, we sat with our backs to the wind enjoying the sunlit views, oblivious to the black cloud advancing on us from behind — until we started to get pelted with hail. It was time for a hasty retreat to the pub. We returned dampened, but undeterred, and ready for next year’s outing to Lundy.

Many thanks to Clare for organizing a great trip!

By Lian von Wantoch