Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Having a Scrap

As some of you know, Ed and I had never been on the island before we signed our contract. The first time we did go and visit was in February 2013: Sash and Lucy Tusa took us out for a recce in their RiB and we had a walk around the island and looked at the buildings. On entering the garden at the farm I remarked that 'this place needs a bit of a clean up' and now after two years of waiting my dream has finally come true.

It all began last weekend with our first group of volunteers doing a rubbish pick on South Haven beach.

Netting, beer barrel, plastic...
Cornish Sucker Fish in South Haven, photo P. Rotherfield

Snakelock Anemone in South Haven, photo R. Humphries

This beach clean was our dress rehearsal for a whole week of sanding down, scraping off, painting, decorating and cleaning. Over the course of a week, seven lovely work party members helped us to renovate the windows at North Haven. We did our very best to keep our volunteers happy and entertained and the birds did the rest: Ring Ouzles, Pied Flycatchers, Wrynecks, Hoopoes, hundreds of Willow Warblers and one Common Redstart.

Martin and Nigel on the scaffold

The work parties final task was to deliver the island from decades of accumulated rubbish.

On Sunday we were wheel barrowing and lugging tons of scrap down to the salespoint. We were working flat out till the evening and still had some more tractor runs to do the following morning before the Lady Helen arrived at 10:30.

Five more volunteers joined us from the mainland and then we spent the next five hours going up and down the steps with fridges, cookers, engines, generators, portable loos, pipe, cable, TV sets and things that escaped our imagination entirely. 

At 14:00 John Reynolds announced that the Lady Helen could not take anymore (neither could we to be honest), she sat rather deeply in the water. Luckily we had managed to take everything off except some scaffolding poles (above).


A huge thanks goes to John Reynolds from Dale Sailing for bringing the Lady Helen from Neyland to Skomer and for his patience and amazing boat handling skills whilst we were throwing washing machines on his boat.

Another thank you goes to the ferrymen Peter and Dereck for transporting our mainland helpers.

And of course we thank the work party members, our weekly volunteers (who did not know what was coming their way when they booked on), Elspeth (currently the only researcher on the island), all the staff who worked until their muscles ached and the little migrant birds that turned up to make it so memorable.

Here is a quote from Andrew, one of the vols that came over from the mainland to help with the big clean up: 'what I do remember is seeing everyone on the island getting involved and working really hard as a team, and so look forward to meeting them again.' 
(Skomer Wardens)

1 comment:

  1. We did a little trial run back in 2010! http://skomerisland.blogspot.co.uk/2010_08_01_archive.html