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The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 17:14
by humblebee
I've been spending far too long on Google Earth exploring remote islands and stretches of isolated coastline. Then last week, when I was talking about this on Twitter, I realised I'm not the only one.

Today I've just taken a mini-road trip out of Gloup, on the north coast of Yell in the Shetland Islands. Now I want to live here:
http://maps.google.co.uk/?ie=UTF8&ll=60 ... 37.67,,0,5

Last week was all about Scandinavia. I went along what looks like some kind of crazy natural land bridge linking some island to mainland Denmark. You can pass entire days.

Please post your fantasy travel details involving remote islands and stretches of isolated coastline here, Anorak.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 18:17
by tompony
This book is absolutely essential for the remote island fantasist:

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atlas-Remote-Is ... 1846143489

I've been researching remote islands, inspired by this book, for an over-ambitious concept album project. Oh, if only you could see my spreadsheet! But it's SECRET. I've become a little obsessed with Cocos Island, which Jacques Cousteau (who shared my birthday) described as "the most beautiful island in the world". Also, on a cruise website that I found while researching, the description of Cocos includes this marvellous sentence...
You can practice diving with huge flocks of sharks, large ramps, turtles, guinea pigs, tuna, white, and even whale sharks.
Guinea pigs!? I am in love with an island.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 20:23
by soft revolution
I'm still besotted with the idea of going to Svalbard. This is a photo from the (almost) very north of the islands, looking north towards to pole. Lovely.

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Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 20:50
by soft revolution
Oh gosh, and now I've just found this picture of Isfjorden, again in Svalbard.

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Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 22:33
by Damian
I only just found out the other day that the UK has over 100 island. I'd never have thought it. Unsuprisingly the vast majority are scottish.

My favourite is Bardsey Island. It had a population of about 4 people at one point, and is a site of scientific special interest because of the amount of seabirds that live there.

Oh and a lighthouse. I love lighthouses. lighthii?

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 09:53
by islandhopper
I'm a fool for never getting to St Kilda when I lived on Lewis. Even if it is still a few hours and a couple of hundred quid away.
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Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:11
by Mr Bear
Left to my own devices I can I spend hours on Google Maps. I don't look at islands as much as following coastlines, or going to a country I know little about, like Mali, and following the road between two cities there. One island that I have enjoyed looking at recently, though, was Réunion.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:56
by andyroo
I R massive Google Earth nerd. Last time I was on it I went looking for every cricket ground I could find in the West Indies.

Yes, of my own accord.

I don't like the new Street View mechanism though. It's really clunky.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:11
by lynsosaurus
mainly for geeky geology reasons, i have long wanted to visit tristan da cunha

i fail as a scottish person because i have yet to visit any of the islands with the exception of arran. this is something i intend to rectify this summer.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:15
by humblebee
Manitoulin Island, anyone?

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http://maps.google.co.uk/?ie=UTF8&ll=45 ... 9,,0,-2.66

The population is about 12,000 and it's 1,068 square miles in size, so it's not exactly tiny and unknown. But it's situated in Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada, making it the largest island in a freshwater lake anywhere in the world. It's also got a load of other little lakes inside it. I hope they have little islands in them as well. And so on.

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Cheers, Brad.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:43
by islandhopper
lynsosaurus wrote: i fail as a scottish person because i have yet to visit any of the islands with the exception of arran. this is something i intend to rectify this summer.
Poor! Although being where I'm from I have quite a bad record. Had never made it to the Uists or Barra before last Summer. Still really want to fly into Barra so I can land on the beach. Orkney and Shetland are also places I'd really like to make it too.
Nearby areas are getting a bit touristy these days but that still doesn't make this part of Thailand any less impressive than I found it
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Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 14:06
by String Bean Jen
Fascinating. I've been looking at this on google maps in relation to Milwaukee, seeing how I would get there from my family's place. It looks like I would make a near-perfect arc by driving up against Lake Michigan, cross over into the UP (upper peninsula of Michigan, which I have done before) and just keep going until it turns into Canadian territory. I don't know if there is a bridge or ferry between this mainland bit and then Cockburn Island and Manitoulin Island. I reckon it would take about 12-14 hours driving with ample breaks.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 14:25
by humblebee
String Bean Jen wrote:Fascinating. I've been looking at this on google maps in relation to Milwaukee, seeing how I would get there from my family's place. It looks like I would make a near-perfect arc by driving up against Lake Michigan, cross over into the UP (upper peninsula of Michigan, which I have done before) and just keep going until it turns into Canadian territory. I don't know if there is a bridge or ferry between this mainland bit and then Cockburn Island and Manitoulin Island. I reckon it would take about 12-14 hours driving with ample breaks.
I've found us all a three-bedroom house there for 80,000 quid:
http://www.realtor.ca/PropertyDetails.a ... 1992376091

Here are those driving directions. If each member of Anorak puts in £100 we're sorted.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 14:27
by crystalball
Or we could go and stay at Sandy's in Brampton, ON, and do the drive in six hours! I'm in.

I keep a list of streetview links of places I've been to on Googlemaps where I want to live. It's really not just about wanting to visit. I've got a feeling if I ever make it to one of those remote locations/islands on my list, I'm going to end up setting up home. Aird, for instance: it's not an island but look, look at it.

When we were little, my baby brother, who was a geography genius, had the most amazing atlases at home and we used to draw large-scale maps of tiny islands using tracing paper and one of those upscaling drawing things (can't remember what they're called). Then he moved on to caves but I was stuck with the tiny islands. And a few months ago, I read Stargazing, a lovely book of memoirs of a lighthouse keeper in Scotland in the 1970s, and got straight back into it, this time with Google Earth and Wikipedia and a tiny bit more money under the mattress to be able to actually go to some of those places. I've been to quite a lot of remote Greek islands, and they are incredible, but I'm very obsessed with the Scottish and Scandinavian isles too, because it's the sort of scenery I like - very pretty but kind of rough too, and cold. I like being all wrapped up and surrounded by the sea.

If you haven't done it already, you need to look up the Solovetsky Islands in Russia: http://goo.gl/maps/JCvK

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 15:15
by Mr Bear
humblebee wrote: I've found us all a three-bedroom house there for 80,000 quid:
http://www.realtor.ca/PropertyDetails.a ... 1992376091

Here are those driving directions. If each member of Anorak puts in £100 we're sorted.
I'm in.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 16:27
by humblebee
Today, prompted by an entry in that book that Tom was talking about further up the thread, I've been to the archipelago of St Kilda - the loneliest place of all the British Isles. The westernmost of the Outer Hebrides by 40 miles. St Kilda was populated for more than 2,000 years, but never by more than about 180 people at any one time.

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The islands are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, vital for wildlife and with some remarkable scenery (one of only 24 global locations to be awarded 'mixed' World Heritage Status for its natural and cultural significance, it says here). They're occupied only by the workers at the radar station and volunteers who work during the summer to preserve the remains of the islands' buildings.

If you'd like to follow me there, there's a superb Wikipedia entry and a whole website about the islands by the National Trust for Scotland, which owns St Kilda.

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If I could go back in time to any moment in history, it would be to 29 August 1930, when the final 36 inhabitants of St Kilda left. I'd want to see the moment, as they were boarding the ship that evacuated them to the Scottish mainland, when the very last St Kildan lifted their foot from the ground for the last time.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 16:53
by Mr Bear
I can't look through those links right now, but I remember seeing about St Kilda on Coast (which, presumably, is where that map's from). It was really quite moving. I do have an attachment to the Hebrides, as my grandma was from Harris. I went there when I was very young, and have a vague memory of it, but I feel so strongly that I have to go back to see it and the islands around it in the next couple of years.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 17:40
by andyroo
Are Mull and Iona Hebrides? I've been there. They're lovely.

Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 17:53
by islandhopper
andyroo wrote:Are Mull and Iona Hebrides? I've been there. They're lovely.
I believe they're Inner Hebrides.

And I mentioned St Kilda up the page! I edited a programme about it once about the people that live there now. As well as MOD folk there's nurses and there can be an archaeologist, an RSPB lady counting puffins and a couple of other National Trust folk. There's boats that go most days during the summer, but they're quite frequently called off due to bad weather.
Oh, there's also a pub called the Puff Inn, but in the process of finding this picture I dicovered that it may now be closed to non-military staff.
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Re: The distant islands fantasy travel thread

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 21:03
by humblebee
islandhopper wrote:And I mentioned St Kilda up the page! I edited a programme about it once about the people that live there now. As well as MOD folk there's nurses and there can be an archaeologist, an RSPB lady counting puffins and a couple of other National Trust folk. There's boats that go most days during the summer, but they're quite frequently called off due to bad weather.
Oh, there's also a pub called the Puff Inn, but in the process of finding this picture I dicovered that it may now be closed to non-military staff.
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Sorry! I managed to miss that somehow. Yeah, I saw about the Puff Inn earlier too - it looks like the MoD weren't too happy when they found out that civvies had been using it:
Some bloke in khaki with a handlebar moustache wrote:The ‘Puff Inn’ is a canteen facility for use by QinetiQ and MOD staff and their contractors, and NTS sponsored staff only. It is not open to members of the public. The name ‘Puff Inn’ is a colloquial term for this facility which has been used, misleadingly, for a number of years. It never was, or will be, a licensed public house or ‘Inn’.
What was the programme you edited?

Do you know if the MoD are still there? It looks like they were talking about taking the personnel away and just operating the radar remotely from the mainland or something.