Appeal launched for a new vehicle for Skomer
The Friends of Skokholm and Skomer are launching a new appeal to raise funds to replace an ageing and unreliable tractor on Skomer Island. The appeal is aiming to reach £30,000 to cover the vehicle purchase and transportation costs to the island.
Skomer Island welcomes thousands of visitors each year as well as being an internationally important nature reserve. It is home to a rising population of 30,895 puffins, where other UK populations are declining. The reserve also hosts over 600,000 Manx shearwater, together with its island neighbour Skokholm, the islands are home to 50% of the world’s population of this species.
The wild landscape and marine environment has taken its toll on the old tractor, which is now becoming uneconomical to repair due to mechanical failure and rust.
A vehicle is an essential tool on the island, from carrying luggage for overnight visitors to launching the island’s boat. The challenging environment and varied tasks mean that the chosen vehicle will be a carefully specified and modified vehicle to suit the demands that will be made of it.
Jonathan Parsons, Chair says “The Friends of Skokholm and Skomer are really excited about being able to help with this important purchase for the island. We have been supporting the huge renovations on Skokholm over the last 7 years, and now our attention turns to Skomer.”
Skomer Warden, Nathan Wilkie said “Skomer’s tractor, ‘Trundle’, has been vital to the island, but the breakdowns, subsequent costs and people wheelbarrowing equipment and luggage are becoming too frequent. Trundle has done well but he doesn’t have much more to give! A new vehicle is so important as we could be stranded on the island if we don’t have a working vehicle to launch our boat!”
Warden Sylwia Zbijewska added “As crazy as it sounds Skomer island vehicle is almost as important as clickers when you count cliff nesters if not more! And as much as we love our tractor we will have to let it go eventually and replace it with a fully functioning and less costly machine. But we mustn’t speak of it too badly because we still need it and we don’t want it to hear all this!”
Sarah Parmor, Visitor Officer says “We are busier than ever in the overnight accommodation on Skomer and the tractor is the only way to transport the guests’ luggage up the steep paths. Offering overnight stays on the island is invaluable in providing income for the conservation work we do on Skomer!”
And Sarah Purdon, Assistant Warden added "Anyone who has heard me talk about this tractor will know that ‘’Trundle’’ as I call him, is more than just a vehicle to me. Trundle has never let me down, and after physically carrying one of the wheels off the island last year to have a leaking valve repaired, I know we’ve done all we can to look after him, but 17 years on the island takes its toll. The sea air and the hard work have taken its toll, and much of the tractor has been repaired at some stage, but the problems are coming more frequently and the bills getting larger. Anyone who has had the relief of the tractor being there, to carry your bags, food, and gas bottles from North Haven will know the difference it makes, and we desperately don’t want to be left stuck without an alternative when one day it’s too much for the old beast. I’d much rather retire him before he lets us down."
The fundraising appeal is online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/friends-of-skokholm-and-skomer
Any businesses or organisations that would like to make a donation to the appeal are asked to contact the Friends via email at email@example.com
Serious repairs are extremely difficult on a remote island
Varied demands are put on the vehicle which are essential for the conservation work on the island
Wear and tear has taken its toll on the tractor
A lot of visitors, a lot of bags