Piel Island: Nearly 200 people apply to become ‘monarch’ of 50-acre British isle

As well as being dubbed king or queen, the successful candidate will play pub landlord

Lucy Thackray
Wednesday 09 February 2022 09:58 GMT
Piel Island from above
Piel Island from above (Alamy Stock Photo)

Some 190 people from all over the globe have expressed an interest in becoming the “monarch” of a small island off the coast of Cumbria.

Barrow Borough Council, which manages the 50-acre Piel Island, launched a campaign to find a caretaker for the UK island in late December, and have received nearly 200 applications for the unique position.

The winning candidate will be dubbed “king” or “queen” of the island in a ceremony involving a throne, a sword, and having beer poured over their head.

They will also have to run and manage the Ship Inn, the lone pub on the island which has been there for 300 years.

A tradition that dates back to the 1800s, it’s not all glamour - duties are described as “maintenance of the Ship Inn, grounds maintenance of the surrounding area and management of camping and the toilet and shower block”.

Councillors say they are looking for someone with experience of pub management, a love of the outdoors, beer and seals.

Sandra Baines, head of visitor economy and culture with the authority, told reporters that the role is “very much about preserving [the island’s] beauty, its natural habitat”.

But she added the many drawbacks of life on an island meant it was “not the dream people might think it is”.

The unique position has been reported in countries across the world, with interest coming in from as far as Africa, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

Piel Island is served by two ferries a day in peak season, which bring tourists from the mainland to explore its 14th-century castle fortress ruins and have pint in the Ship.

The council is aiming to appoint a successor in the next few months, with a view to starting their duties in April.

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