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Discover | Lundy

Electing to visit Lundy on a week day in June, the expectation was to find the MS Oldenburg relatively bereft of passengers - how naive I was, as 236 people lined picturesque Ilfracombe Harbour, in anticipation of their voyage to Lundy's shore.

The crew of the MS Oldenburg, of which there were eight, were courteous and professional and installed confidence in their abilities as experienced seafarers. We set-out and headed West, looking back on Verity, Damien Hirst's 66ft high statue, which casts an imposing figure on all who enter or leave the safety of the harbour by sea.

The Bristol Channel can be particularly unpredictable, as the second largest tidal range in the world. However, today was relatively calm, with just a light cooling breeze and little chop. Fortunate as for many, including myself, there was standing room only on deck.

Not long in to our journey the Captain reported that the James Joyce, an Irish Naval patrol vessel was approaching. She had been built recently and locally, by Appledore Shipyard. Today she was undergoing part of her sea trials and it was an awesome sight to see her navigate around us as her impressive turn of speed soon left us in her wake.

Just a short time after, the Captain announced that a pod of dolphins had been spotted and it was wonderful to see these majestic Cetaceans breach the water alongside - one of the marvels of these local waters.

MS Lundy moored at Lundy Remains of the old Hospital

Lundy is some ten miles from Ilfracombe and our journey took just under two hours. It was a welcome sight to see the island ahead, as the MS Oldenburg was skilfully manoeuvred alongside the jetty.

Whilst a Land Rover does provide a limited taxi service up the hill from the shore, it is important to note that the climb is steep and even more so when you reach the steps to take you to the village. Certainly it is not recommended for those who are not able bodied or struggle with steep climbs.

Traversing the steps, as Estate workers controlled bracken and Rhododendron alongside, past the famous Marisco Tavern and the shop, where you can buy a range of souvenirs and refreshments.

I walked along a wide farm track and the amount of people thinned out, from one or two who walked briskly, taking the trail underfoot in their stride, to suddenly being alone, as I reached the remains of the old hospital. Exploring it's crumbling stone, a fantastic view through one of its ancient windows frames, showing the Oldenburg moored tranquilly below.

From here I continued walking until I found a suitable clearing on the cliff to stop for lunch. So close to home, at just ten nautical miles away and yet it felt as though I could be a thousand. It's so peaceful here. Restful. Isolated.

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