You may have heard the news that Cardiff Council who manage Flat Holm Island have proposed sell the island as part of it's budget plan to save £150,000 per year.
It's hard to believe that three miles across the water in Cardiff some people hardly knows it exists, yet alone been there. Most have stood on a beach or the barrage and looked out across the channel and imagined what life is like on that small little island with the lighthouse. Here are a few of my experiences of the past few years...
Another great memory from this trip involved this picture above. We decided to go up and explore the island, something I didn't do last time. We ventured down into the underground WWII bunkers armed with just the flash of the camera to find our way around. A split second flash we found a corridor with rooms off either side. Hairs on end, heart pounding, it was already freaky down here in the darkness. I set off the flash into one of the rooms taking the picture above. We both looked at the picture and ran out screaming like a pair of girls.
In August 2010 we returned to the island for a very different reason. You may notice Taran's unusual attire in the above photo...no not the cheesy bandanna. Taran's day job is a wedding photographer so for charity we joined him for a paddle to Flat Holm in a wedding dress.
Again in the same month I paddled out to Flat Holms neighbouring island Steep Holm stopping briefly on Flat Holm. Unlike Flat Holm Steep Holm does not have any permanent residents managing the island.
It was an exceptionally cold morning paddling under moonlight as the sky grew increasing lighter in the east.
We reached the lighthouse just as the sun began to rise above the cloud on the horizon.
Taran took this shot of me coming through the gap in Castle Rock next to the landing jetty This is a particular feature for kayakers visiting the island. As the tidal waters rush strongly through the narrow gap they cause a thrilling ride for paddlers know as a tide race.
This picture above was taken on a sunny February morning on Flat Holm, that's Castle Rock in the background. Flat Holm was only a stepping stone today and after a quick break I made my way upstream to Monkstone Lighthouse bellow.
The next month in March 2011 I made the very same trip out to Flat Holm on my own. I had been paddling 18 months now and was feeling confident. I landed next to the jetty and took a flask of coffee and sandwiches up on top of the island and enjoyed the warm weather for a change. I bumped into Matt the head warden, who was conducting a bird count.
Mid channel and way off course I battled my pride to call for help but the time came when I realised I wasn't going to make it. I put the mayday call over the radio, the lifeboat was on it's way from Penarth. I turned on hearing an approaching engine only to find a big navy ship plowing through the wave to my rescue. We can only learn from our mistakes and I have no shame in calling for help that day. That maybe wasn't one of the better trips out to Flat Holm.
Thankfully the trip went smoothly in perfect settled conditions. I teamed up agin with Taran and we managed to land on Cardiff sand bank, Monkstone Lighthouse rocks, Steep Holm and Flat Holm all in one trip.
Now this above picture was taken on a typical summers day, packed beaches, traffic jams, you name it. Yet three miles of shore you can find peace on a little private island in the channel. That's what I love about kayaking and of course Flat Holm.
Myself, Taran and Jules did our usually lap around the island. This cave is another hot spot for kayakers at high water.
We landed on Coal Beach, I assume named from the days where tons of coal were dumped on the beach to fuel the original light built in 1737 before the current lighthouse was built in 1820. As you can see I have been here many times and never once ever seen another visitor, but today is was packed.
We met up with fellow paddlers Richard and Eurion on the island for the first time. You may notice the people in the background are lacking any clothing, yes it was nude day on flat Holm.
This picture was taken on that same trip from the top of Monkstone Lighthouse with Flat Holm to the left of the picture.
Above is a picture of Flat Holm's prehistoric beach, back when the Bristol Channel had more in common with the Red Sea.
We decided to return to Flat Holm once again on Christmas Eve 2011 as a sort of yearly Christmas paddle.
No snow this time though.
Ok so we started to run out of different condition to return to Flat Holm so we did it in the dark, this time with Andy, Jules and Taran.
Rather than a sun rise we were greeted to the island with the rise of the moon. That was a very special experience.
February 2012 and me and Eurion took two paddlers from West Wales, Mike and Steve, out to the Holm islands. Erion took this great picture above of me with Flat Holm in the back.
A night paddle out to Steep Holm I took this picture of the light of Cardiff beyond Flat Holm.
Sunset across the channel on a failed attempt to reach Brean Down on the English side.
So what is the future for this small island in the Bristol Channel? Will there be new ownership? Will public access be restricted to this wildlife haven? Will it be left to dereliction, to overgrow and become a ghost island? Don't leave it to chance, help save this island and sign the petition today HERE .