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Lundy - immune from the recession
When isolation really is splendid
By Laura Joint
The tiny island of Lundy off the North Devon coast is thriving, at a time when the rest of the world is in economic freefall.
Sometimes it pays to live in on an island, cast adrift from the rest of the world.
Lundy, which sits 12 miles off the North Devon coast, appears to be immune from the economic chaos blighting the rest of the world.
Home to just 27 permanent residents tasked with looking after the island, Lundy is thriving while the mainland struggles on through the credit crunch.
In fact, 2008 was a record year for the island's 23 self-catering properties. It seems people just want to get away from it all and Lundy is the perfect place to do just that.
Lundy lies 12 miles off the Devon coast
The island is a granite outcrop measuring three-and-a-half miles by half-a-mile. It's owned by the National Trust and managed by the Landmark Trust.
There are no cars, other than those used on a "must use" basis by staff, and the island has a generator for electricity, so there's not the same angst over petrol and fuel prices.
There is one post office/general store, one pub, a working farm, and a surprisingly big church. All in all, Lundy is as self-sufficient as it can be.
It is linked to Devon by a passenger ferry service from Ilfracombe and Bideford. The MS Oldenburg, which can carry 267 passengers to the island, is Lundy's lifeline.
Most of the passengers are day trippers, but it also brings in the holidaymakers who stay in the accommodation - which includes a lighthouse.
General manager of Lundy, Derek Green, said Lundy's biggest worry is the weather: "We are much more likely to be looking at the latest weather forecast than the share prices," said Derek.
"It's the bad weather which causes our recession because the boat can't sail. In 2008, we lost 24 sailings and that had an impact.
"However, our accommodation properties were 88.7% booked, which was a record. And bookings are up already for this year. We are expecting more visitors from Europe this year because of the exchange rate.
"People just want to get away from it all - to switch off and chill out. People know they can come here and completely relax."
So it seems that the jobs of the Lundy staff are safer than many on the mainland: "We've got 27 staff on the island and I don't see that altering at all," said Derek.
"There's no credit crunch here - we're not having a sale in our shop! And there's no crime - Lundy is the same as it was 40 years ago. It's a step back in time."
last updated: 09/01/2009 at 16:03