Lifestyle

Island ‘King’ In Charge Of 200-Year-Old Pub And Ruined Castle

Picturesque Piel island sits at the entrance to Morecambe Bay in Cumbria, in the north of England. It is small, 50 acres (20 hectares) in size, and home to a ruined castle, a 200-year-old inn and a handful of fishermen’s cottages. It is also to become the new home to a landlord or lady, looking to take up a new job–advertised by the local authority of Barrow-in-Furness, the nearby town.

The job would involve running The Ship Inn, whose customers would arrive either by ferry from April to September or by coming across the sands in a guided walk. As reported by The Guardian, locals often celebrate birthday parties on the island or camp overnight. A ten-year lease would be given on the pub and duties would also involve looking after the island. Additionally, the pub landlord or lady could be crowned “king” or “queen” of the island–in a local tradition that involves beer being poured over the person’s head.

The monks of Furness Abbey (on the nearby mainland) built the castle in the 1300s to deter Scottish invaders but in 1487, thousands of mercenaries stormed England with Lambert Simnel from Ireland to claim the English throne. They were stopped at a battle in Nottinghamshire, never defeating Henry VII.

Whilst the surroundings are undoubtedly beautiful, the conditions might not always be easy for any would-be landlady or lord, who would be the only permanent residents. A recent report for the local authority on working conditions on Piel island states that “Piel Island is a unique place and any operator needs to appreciate the constraints offered by power, weather, access and its location within an area of Site of Special Scientific Interest.” There are also Climate Change and Covid conditions to adhere to.

However, for those people where the pandemic has encouraged a change to a more outdoor life, or to do something rewarding–this small, beautiful island in England might be the ideal solution.

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