The Top Unusual UK Delivery Locations for Royal Mail
Holy Island - also known as Lindisfarne - is a tidal island off the coast of Northumbria. Access to the island is via a two-mile causeway which floods twice a day. There are approximately 160 residents on the island, a Post office, village school, shops and businesses. Jill Turner is the postwoman on Holy Island. She has lived there all her life and every morning (depending on the tide times) Jill drives to the mainland to Beal and meets a Royal Mail van from Berwick-upon-Tweed Delivery Office.
Jill then delivers to the 160 addresses on the Island on foot using a trolley. Once she has completed her round she then returns to the Post Office to collect all the mail which has been posted and drives across the Causeway (again the tide dictates the time) and meets a Royal Mail driver at Beal to give them the mail. During last year’s severe weather the Causeway froze and access was only gained to and from the Island when residents with 4x4s volunteered to help.
Bardsey Island - Ernest Evans, 68, is celebrating his 40th year delivering mail once a week on his fishing boat to the eight inhabitants of Bardsey Island, off the coast of Aberdaron in West Wales. His father William John Evans did the same journey – five miles from beach to beach – for 15 years before him. He sails over to the island on a Monday with anything between 30-60 items of mail.
The mail is dropped off at Aberdaron Post Office after being sorted by Royal Mail in Pwlhelli Delivery Office. When Ernest has delivered the half-sackful of mail to the Island, he collects mail for posting from the inhabitants.
Knoydart - this peninsula on the north-west coast of Scotland is recognised as "Britain's last wilderness". At the last census Knoydart had 98 residents and is only accessible by boat or by a 16-mile walk through rough country. Its seven miles of tarred road are not connected to the UK road system. Mail is delivered to the peninsula by ferry from Mallaig to the postman Tommy McManoman, a resident of Tigh na Roan on the north side of the peninsula. Tommy has a garden shed for an office, where he sorts his mail in the frame, before setting off to deliver it by van to Knoydart’s fifty-three addresses.
Altnaharra – this small hamlet near Lairg in Sutherland is home to approximately 30 people. It shares the record for the coldest place in the UK after recording -27.2 celsius in 1995. Last year, the temperature dropped to -22.3 at one point. The nearest delivery office is Lairg, which means a 120-mile round trip every day to deliver the mail to residents. Last year, despite the severest start to winter weather in living memory, there was only one day when Royal Mail was unable to get to Altnaharra.
Rathlin Island - situated six miles off the north east coast of Ireland, is the only inhabited offshore island in Northern Ireland, home to a small population of around a hundred people. Early each morning, postman Peter McCurdy drives to the island’s picturesque harbour in Church Bay to collect the mail arriving in on the ferry from the mainland port of Ballycastle. On a typical day, Peter will travel the length and breadth of Rathlin – from the high cliffs in the west to the rolling lowland heath and lakes in the east.
His round takes in spectacular views of the rugged Rathlin coastline (site of over 40 shipwrecks) and he will pass by no fewer than three lighthouses as he delivers cards, letters and parcels to the island’s 80 addresses. In the late afternoon, Peter will call to the island’s Post Office branch from where he’ll make the short journey to the harbour, in time to drop off the mail on the departing ferry. Peter also manages the local bar and last year served Prince Edward and Sophie after the local five-star restaurant had a mix up with their booking.
And what about the longest UK journey? From the Scilly Isles to the Isle of Unst, Shetland Islands - the 860-mile journey starts in the Scilly Isles where the mail is collected by van before being flown by helicopter to Penzance. The mail is transported to Truro Mail Centre and then is flown from Exeter Airport to East Midlands Airport. The second flight of the mail’s journey to Aberdeen is followed by a further trip by plane to Shetland Airport. Mail is then driven by van to Lerwick Delivery Office before a ferry trip to the Isle of Unst.
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