Lihou Island

Over the last few years I have come to know a particular area of the Channel Islands particularly well, Lihou, a small island off the west coast of Guernsey.  The island is now managed by the Lihou Charitable Trust, with their enthusiastic manager and local sea kayak guide, Richard Curtis.
There is so much to see on the island that I can happily spend a week out here without feeling the need to go “ashore”.  For the visiting sea kayaker there is accommodation in the form of a refurbished bunk house which has been part funded by the Jersey Canoe Club

Lihou house sleeps up to 30 people with all modern facilities.  On the southern end of the house there is a great conservatory where to pass the time of the day.  The views to the Hanois are truly memorable.  From last autumn the house has been powered mainly by solar energy.
Access is across the causeway at low tide on springs.  On neap tides the island remains cut off throughout the tidal sequence.  Then the main access is via kayak.
The house viewed through the ruins of the Priory, which was founded in the 12th century.  The island has a rich and varied history for those who are prepared to do their research.  At one time it was the largest producer of iodine in the world, as a result of burning seaweed.
Crossing to the island from the west coast of Guernsey.  Even on the windiest days it is possible to find some shelter for the crossing.  Wind against tide can create some entertaining conditions in the main channel.
This was taken on an early evening paddle towards the reefs to the south west of the island.  Next landfall after the stacks is Newfoundland, with the result that there is frequently quite an entertaining swell.  Out here on my own, I felt pretty isolated. 
To the south west of Lihou lies the Hanois, a dramatic lighthouse with a challenging landing.  On this particular day we had to swim in from the kayaks offshore, not every member of the group took up the invitation.
The Hanois is a classic lighthouse although its graceful lines have been altered due to the addition of the helicopter landing pad.  As with all lighthouses it is now unmanned but I remember visits in the 1980’s when we used to deliver papers and milk on Sunday mornings.