Leaving east to south-east: the Lundy population forecast

Island's crumbling road may force residents to evacuate
Click to follow

And now, here is the people shipping forecast. Lundy, the entire population, veering east to south-east, in boats or helicopters, unless the road can be repaired.

As immediate perils go, having the road up doesn't compare with what those at sea might encounter in South-east Iceland, Bailey or Faroes, especially when it's gale force, veering northwards. But for those who live on the island made famous by the shipping forecast, the prospect of not being able to fix their only road is pretty calamitous. The residents will, say the doomsayers, have to get out. All 26 of them.

The road in question is the one that connects the people with the harbour, where the boat pulls up. And the boat is the only regular connection with the Devon coast, 12 miles away, and, thence, the rest of the universe. Some £250,000 needs to be found, says the Landmark Trust, which manages the island. Otherwise, it's everybody off.

Lundy – a three-and-a-half-mile-long finger of granite surrounded by a marine nature reserve – has weathered worse. Take, for instance, the turbulence created by the arrival, in 1994, of Cait Scanlon as the barmaid at the only pub. Within months she had bedded a farmer ("I was working among 600 sheep," he said, "so she was a vision of loveliness to me"), and the 25-year-old was soon the constant companion of the island's 45-year-old agent, much to the chagrin of his wife. Since these manoeuvres involved nearly a fifth of the population, keeping them clandestine was a forlorn hope. So it proved to be. Exit, first, Ms Scanlon, then the agent and his wife. Lundy survived, as no doubt it will a few road works.