|Apparently 'Lund-ey' is Norse for Puffin Island. I didn't see a puffin all day. But then again, everything was such a rush that a Puffin could have ridden past me on a camel singing the national anthem and I might not have noticed.
There's not much more I can add to the day which I haven't already added below, in the general Lundy fieldnotes. Hopefully that's enough info for most people. And there is always the official Lundy Island website to look at as well.
My top tips: 1) allow extra time if you have to go through Barnstaple, 2) expect the unexpected, 3) expect it to be colder than the mainland, 4) don't try to do too much, 5) take a GPS system if you want to be sure of finding some of these ancient sites, 6) have patience finding sites and clue yourself up with the English Heritage scheduling info I hope to add to this site soon.
If anyone wants to follow my route, the fieldnotes are given below in my route order.
An amazing island. Enjoy it because you may never visit again...
The whole day was great, but fraught with small problems. It was great to see 100 people interested enough to want to visit this island and help keep it alive. I'd like to go again, but with more knowledge of these problems, and either on a longer day trip, or to stay for several days.
Be warned, traffic in Barnstaple can be a nightmare, especially if you need to get through Barnstaple to get to Illfracombe. Cars stretched along the A3125 back from the centre to the A39. After a while in a jam I realised the car in front had a sticker that read 'Barnstaple - Home of the Traffic Jam'. Nice one!
Parking info for Illfracombe was poor. The letter with my ticket said info would be given when you arrive. When I phoned up I was given a vague "long term parking is on the other side of the quay". It seems stupid to give this info out just before the ship sails when people are trying to book late tickets, collect tickets etc. And then the advice was dodgy, sending us up to a £2 car park a long way up the hill opposite the quay, whereas I learnt later that the car park at the bottom of this hill was only £2.80 a day, which if you ask me is worth the extra 80p, especially if the Barnstaple gridlock has made you later than you expected. If you come before mid May, or later in the season, there is also a chance you could park in one of the Illfracombe streets for free. Check the restrictions.
The boat trip is currently (2004) £28 for a day return (£25 concessions, including National Trust members). Or £42 for a period return. Helicopters run in the winter for £69. All these are for adult prices. Fine website (see link below) including online booking facility for day trips.
The road/path from the jetty on Lundy is long and steep. Not surprising really considering Lundy is like a huge slab of granite plonked in the ocean, but I thought I'd warn you all. The top of the island is mainly a plateau (120 to 140 metres above sea level), however, even this plateau is undulating and although the coastal paths are quite obvious, not all the paths are. Luckily you can walk just about anywhere you want as long as you abide by the common sense country code and close the few gates that are around. There is also a 4x4 track running the length of the island, which you might prefer to use to get places. It is quite rocky but still easier walking for some than the smaller paths. Lundy and the boat (MS Oldenburg) have no special disability facilities, however they say they will try to help and adapt as best they can for people with disabilities.
Weather conditions change rapidly and even on a nice day (like my day) you can still have bad sea (or land) conditions. It took us 20 minutes to dock and only later I heard there had been a strong possibility that we wouldn't be able to get off the boat. So don't assume anything and be prepared for possible changes / disappointments.
The boat says it takes up to 267 passengers. I'd hate to see it with that many on it! Most places to sit (inside and outside) were taken with only 120 people on board and on a nice day. The booking section on their website tells you how many tickets have been sold so far so you could use this to pick a quiet-ish trip, however I'm not sure how accurate it is.
The boat also seems to make up the rules as it goes along and doesn't always tell you things. We were clearly told the boat would leave at 3.30pm (incidentally, slightly earlier than we expected when booking) and you can embark from 3pm. So, as I returned through the village at 3.05, knowing I'd make it by 3.10/3.15 I felt pretty happy with my timing. But no, I was told by the shopkeeper they were sailing at 3. Rush etc! I was met by a Land Rover on the coast road that took me the last 500 metres, and was given the impression by some people that I had held everyone up. In reality we had actually left 15 mins early. What they don't tell you is that once everyone expected is aboard they will leave, so 3.30 was the latest time, not necessarily the actual time it will leave. I'm not saying they would have left without me, but I was narked for having to feel like I'd been late (I'm a pretty punctual person), and for having to worry that they might leave without me! Half of me felt grateful they had 'waited', half felt annoyed they made me look like a latecomer and people were asking me 'what happened?' Note - remember that most people just go for a quick walk on the south bit of the island and settle down in the village. Most won't go wandering like I did (and you might).
And the shopkeeper had said "Didn't you hear the foghorn blasts? That means they are ready to leave". Well, fecking sorry if my father didn't give me a seafaring lesson when I was 4 years old! How am I supposed to know things that I'm not informed about? I'm an intelligent enough person. Inform me of something and I'll do my best to understand it and ask questions if I need to, but this assumption of knowledge / lack of info was really annoying.
A National Trust leaflet called 'The Archaeology of Lundy' was available on the boat for 50p. Apparently a more substantial booklet might be available at the Island shop but I never got the chance to find out more due to the above problems.
A free Lundy leaflet, advertising the island and the boat schedule, includes a slightly magnified version of the 1:25,000 OS map, so no need to buy the OS map unless you really want to.
Tent Field Menhir (south west) - 30.3.2004
Due to the lack of time I just peered at this from over the wall. It is right next to the wall in the south west corner of the field (called 'Tent Field'). This is 2.2 m long and would have been a very substantial stone when erect (if erect?).
Rocket Pole Pond Chambered Tomb - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13624372
I'm really annoyed that I didn't find this because it's the only chambered tomb on the island. Although the English Heritage directions say "165m north east of Rocket Pole Pond", at this point I couldn't find it (!) and was wondering if it was covered in one of the pockets of bracken that inhabit this area of the west side. When I got home I realised that the 8 digit grid ref places it actually only 20m south and 20m west of the Tent Field Fives Stones Monolith; which I had found (SS13624372 & SS13644374). Shame I didn't realise this at the time. I suspect that either the EH directions are wrong (North north east maybe?), or the grid ref of one of the sites is wrong.
South West Field Stone & Cairn - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13314381
I think I found this site. A small standing stone with a flat cairn behind it.
Beacon Hill Stones - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13194409
I think I found this standing stone. It's not obvious. In general I need to point out that the principle of 'livestock rubbing posts' doesn't seem to exist on Lundy because most of the nine standing stones recognised by English Heritage on the island are not the right size to be considered as Bronze Age menhirs in Cornwall.
Beacon Hill Settlement - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13224425
The Iron Age hut circles here are not that easy to spot except one which stands out as quite an obvious circle (but it's still not exactly Chysauster
!). The circles are in the area 20m or so south of the wall of the 'Old Light' (the old Lighthouse).
Ackland's Moor Standing Stone (south) - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13284435
At last, something easy to find! This stone, despite still only being 1.45m tall, sticks out like a sore thumb, about 100m north east of the Old Light. I took a pic with a lamb close to it - aaah.
Ackland's Moor Standing Stone (north) -30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13264445
Another easy one to spot! Probably even easier to spot that the Ackland's Moor Standing Stone (south)
just 70m to the south, because this one is a really thick stone.
Ackland's Moor Cairn Stones - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13244460
Took me quite some time to be relatively happy that I had found this site. There are a lot of stones in the area and this cairn is not obvious! And if I did find this cairn then I didn't find the standing stone that the English Heritage focuses on. Maybe it has fallen? There were definately no 1.4m tall standing stones in this whole area.
There is a very distinct large stone on the ground, and apart from spotting this stone there is no obvious way of getting to this spot again. This large stone looks like a classic schoolboy drawing of a penis and scrotum!
Ackland's Moor Hut Circle & Enclosure - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13044451
This is a probable Bronze Age hut circle & enclosure. I was definitely in the right area for this (well, I was definitely in the area English Heritage described; 30m from the cliff edge and 30m south of a natural spring) but not convinced I could see on the ground exactly what the English Heritage report mentions. Stunning location though. Not a bad place to live on a nice day like this, but being on the west side of the island it would get the Atlantic winds!
Ackland's Moor Standing Stone (West) - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13084458
Thanks to the detailed English Heritage directions I definitely found this stone. I would add though that this is not in a 'wall' as you and I might think of as a field wall. It should really be described as the last remains of an old field wall, i.e. you can clearly see a few stones that are in some sort of line, but that's all. The 'standing stone' does stand out because it is very wide (1.4m - actually slightly wider than it is tall) and like most of the Lundy stones it is not earthfast (i.e. it is set on the ground rather than in the ground and has stones packed around its base to keep it upright).
Ackland's Moor Cairns (North) - 30.3.2004
There are two Cairns listed, very close together towards the north part of the moor. One is at SS13234478. As this is clipped by a shallow quarry pit on the south west side, it's pretty easy to locate. As with most Lundy Cairns there is little to see. But the quarry pit pond does add a little photogenic quality to this one though.
The other is at SS13194473. Given limited time I gave this one a miss, but given that the other nearby cairn is easy to locate, I imagine this could be found via that cairn if need be.
Chambered Stone Dwelling - 30.3.2004
Full 8 figure grid ref (from English Heritage scheduling) = SS13274613
Well I thought I had found this. I was definitely in the right place but the English Heritage directions fail to mention that there are two rocky outcrops in the area. After the natural spring there is an outcrop of rocks after barely 10 metres, and then another 20/30m further on. And the directions say the dwelling is "tucked under a rock outcrop" - do they mean literally under the rock on the cliff edge? So which one is it closest to? Well there is some sort of dwelling between the two, on the cliff top, and it's pretty stunning, with rooms that can be made out. BUT a pic on the National Trust leaflet ('The Archaeology of Lundy') shows what I think I found and labels it as a "ruined medieval building on the east coast". The more I think about it, the more I think I didn't find the ancient site. Needed more time. I'm disappointed because this is a unique dwelling on Lundy and sounded cool.
Halfway Wall Cairn - 30.3.2004
This cairn is only about 100m north of halfway wall. Despite it's tiny height (the English Heritage report says 0.11m high - that's 11cm!) this is easier to spot than many of the other cairns on the island, because 1, it's a relative high point in the area, 2, it's close to the 4x4 track, and 3, there are lynchets running from it.