Thursday, 29 September 2016

A trip to Looe Island

Some photographs taken on a day trip over the waves to Looe Island.
West Looe to the right and East Looe to the left. Our nearest 'traditional' Cornish fishing village. Better out of season when there are fewer people around but always a pleasant place to wander around. It doesn't have a big fishing fleet now but has a number of day boats who supply local restaurants and who are probably the best 'wet' fish merchants for miles, Pengelly and Daughters.
To a tea-drinker like me, having Barista trained staff is not a recommendation. Trained in what, exactly? Being superior and surly to customers? Poncing around for 10 minutes to produce one of a myriad of variants on coffee in water and milk? Trying to convince the gullible that your job is really important and what you are giving them is an earth-shattering experience? It's not. It's a cup of coffee. Get real, baristas and take a leaf from the tea-wallahs. They dunk a teabag in a mug of hot water, remove it, slop in a drop of milk: job done in 30 seconds with no pretensions and no faux-dramatics.
I agree. Every time I see a barista, I want to poo on his head. And sometimes I do because I'm the nastiest seaside bird you can find. Terrorising the unwary is my game. I'm the Herring Gull from hell.
But we weren't visiting Looe so I could rant about baristas, we were there to visit Looe Island or St George's Island. Apparently it's the only place in the UK with two names officially sanctioned by the Ordnance Survey. It's been occupied since at least Roman times and was until recently owned by two elderly sisters. When they died, they left the island to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, who now run it as a nature reserve. Hence our visit on this fine September afternoon. The boat trip out took only 15 minutes and gives good views of the neighbouring coastline.
The rather fancifully names Smugglers' Cottage. Destined to become a holiday let at some point. A let with no electricity and limited water supplies but there is 4G available.
Take one garden bench, add a little Cornish weather and this is what you get.
A fine collection of old garden machinery. In fact, there were many fine collections of old bits and pieces scattered everywhere. It's easier getting new stuff onto the island than getting rid of it when it's old and passed its useful life.
An adult Greater Black Backed Gull. Looe Island has one of the largest breeding colonies of this gull in Cornwall.
An Oystercatcher. We've seen lots of them elsewhere in the UK but they are still a joy to watch as they scurry over the rocks, prodding nokes and crannies with their long orange beaks.
A Red Admiral on some blackberries.
And a Peacock Butterfly on an ivy flower.
What's that bloke over there looking at?
Who? Me?
A Grey Seal called Duchess. I kid you not. Apparently all the seals that visit the waters around the island are given names and can be identified by their unique markings.
A cormorant amongst some young Greater Black Backed Gulls. They, the gulls, don't fully develop their eponymous markings until they are 2-3 years old.
And we finished off our day with fish and chips overlooking the island from Millandreath beach. Hooray for the Coddy Shack (it's just occurred to me what the play on words is. Duh!).

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