Skokholm Work Party 2019


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Skokholm Work Party 2019

16 Apr 2019 9:14PM   Views : 711 Unique : 410

Its that time of year again as the puffins return and maintenance work needs to be done on the buildings on Skokholm.
I provide a major part of the photographic record of the work carried out which gets archived with the National Library of Wales.

Friday 5 April
This was the second week of work party activity and the original plan was to take the boat over early on Friday, but the weather thought otherwise and Saturday seemed likely. However, a calm spell meant things changed again the small group of volunteers met at Martins Haven around 2.30 pm with supplies ready to leave on the Dale Princess at 3.30 pm.

By the time wed unloaded at South Haven the wind was picking up and it was starting to rain. The evening meal of sausage, gammon, egg, mushroom and tomato was very welcome. The wood burner in the cottage made the place cosy and enabled us to warm up and dry out.


Saturday 6 April
The majority of the volunteers scraped down the walls of the accommodation block and started the limewashing. Because there were quite a few of us involved we made good progress, and one section was ready to be limewashed first thing the following morning.

The day was warm and sunny, warm enough that any water sprayed onto the walls to help with the limewashing process dried almost immediately.

An island puffin count was done before the evening meal of roast lamb and vegetables.


Sunday 7 April
It was bright, sunny and warm all day. The day was spent preparing and limewashing the walls while Pete, John and Rob worked on the Wheelhouse and Cottage roofs.

A tasty chilli for evening meal rounded the day off.


Monday 8 April
Afer an overcast start and some sea mist it was again a fine sunny day. A second coat of limewash was put on all the buildings but only a first coat on the gable end of the Wheelhouse. Further preparation and limewashing took place on the roofs.

I took a walk to see the puffins in Crab Bay. I was sitting down on the edge of the slope when one puffin with a small twig came towards me, paused briefly then proceeded to walk between my feet and and undernath my legs before going off towards its burrow. That was the highlight of the week for me.

Evening meal was chicken curry and a large naan bread followed by trifle.


Tuesday 9 April
It had been wet overnight so the dampness was helpful at the start of the limewasguing. It soon became sunny if not as warm as the previous couple of days. Nevertheless, the limwashing of the roofs was finished as were the extra coats on the more exposed walls of the central block and workshop. There was still plenty of work to do but the major tasks had been done. Mike made repairs to the doors of the wood burner.

There was a diseased baby rabbit just outside the courtyard. It was possible to walk right up to it and it didnt run away. One eye was closed. Viral haemorrhagic disease is prevalent with the rabbit population having peaks and troughs because of it. The two long term volunteers, Jenny and Ishbel, continued cleaning and painting the visitor accommodation.

The forecast rain came in at six oclock and the birds were very quiet so there was little to see on a walk.


Wednesday 10 April
The only limewashing to be completed was on the cottage roof. Other tasks included cleaning the windows and window frames, varnishing the ringing hut and benches and general tidying up. Howard, continued working on new Heligoland trap boxes as the original ones had more or less had it after five or six years. Not bad going given the extreme environment.

A roof section of the trap adjacent the Wheelhouse was put back in place. What should have been simple turned into a whole morning's job (like so many island tasks!). We decided to take out the side netting adjacent the Wheelhouse wall and fasten the remaining parts to batons Several years of fastening and unfastening the wire netting had taken its toll. That will make limewashing the wall in future much easier.

Evening meal was spaghetti bolognese.


Thursday 11 April
Plans change again. There was a weather window on Thursday afternoon when the wind subsided. A southeast wind means choppy conditions and a large swell in South Haven so it's dangerous at the very least or impractical for the boat to dock.

This left a whole morning to carry on working, though to be fair it was small jobs such as painting the drying room exterior and rain water tanks that needed to be done. Chris had completed the installation of six miniature cameras in locations such as a storm petrel nest and a guillemot ledge. The images can be viewed on a smartphone via wifi so that will provide visitors with a new experience.

The boat arrived around five in the afternoon after completing the runs from Skomer. It was low tide so we had to get on at the furthest end of the jetty. There was only our luggage to get aboard, as visitors won't be arriving until the start of next week.

Here's to a good season.


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KarenFB Avatar
KarenFB Plus
17 6.0k 185 England
17 Apr 2019 6:04AM
I enjoyed reading your Blog, it sounds like you all worked very hard (and it made me smile when you included your menus for the evening - my children (now all grown up) remember their holidays by what meals they had!!). Grin Thank you for sharing!
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
17 Apr 2019 7:45PM
Thank you very much for your comment Karen Smile

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