Whilst browsing on Reddit in the interesting “subreddit” r/todayilearned, I came across Bishop Rock which is situated in Cornwall. Due to the location, I was instantly hooked; further reading revealed the following:
‘TIL Bishop Rock is a tiny island 4 miles off the coast of Cornwall, and its single lighthouse makes it the “world’s smallest island with a building on it”.’
It is located within the Isles of Scilly, being the most western-most point. The above claim made on Reddit appears to have originated with the listing in the Guinness Book of Records. The building in question is a lighthouse which was constructed during the Victorian period.
The Wikipedia page provides an overview of its history, with its Cornish name recorded as Maen Escop (“Bishop’s Stone”) and Maenenescop (“the Stone of the Bishop”), dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The page also notes a possible connection, stating how back in the 1200s felons were:
‘taken to a certain rock in the sea, with two barely loaves and a pitcher of water and left until the seat swallowed him up’.
The lighthouse was constructed due to the danger of wrecks, with notable disasters including the devastation of Admiral Shovell’s HMS Association in 1707. Construction was fraught with difficulties, due to the danger of the area and the lack of available land, and a storm in 1860 washed away the fog bell. Further improvements were needed in the 1880s.
Luckily for today, the lighthouse is automated (and has been since the 1990s). Based on photographs, the lighthouse remains an incredibly impressive sight: a giant tower stretching out from a small handful of rocks. I hope to visit it in person one day, and I’ve been encouraged a tad further due to the placement of a virtual geocache – ‘The Real Land’s End’ – at this location.
The geocache description warns of the danger in visiting Bishop Rock, stating how:
‘It is difficult to get here – the D/T rating will tell you that, and so will I! You will have to travel on one of the tripper boats from St Mary’s or one of the off islands to get here, and these trips may not be running particularly often, as it depends on sea states. They always leave St Mary’s at 1015, however it is best to ring the various boat companies to find out details, and whether they are running the trip or not. There are ways and means of chartering your own boat but this too depends on sea states. It is possible to do this in your own canoe from St Mary’s or St Agnes, however I would NOT recommend it…!’
I very much doubt that I will visit in a canoe, but hopefully I will reach it via a boat at some point in the future.