This Edition’s Unique Property Feature Introduction:-
Two Summers & No Winters
We study the possibility of banishing the winter blues – Unique Property Bulletin style…
The Holy Island, Off of Lamlash on The Island of Arran
In the summer this island in the north is sublime. Winter is alright, but like the birds, many local folk fly south for extra summer weather and longer daylight hours? Extending this principle a little gives us two-summers-no-winters. Are you curious?
Photo: Jason Hawkes
Although I was born in Glasgow, a great part of my formative years were spent growing up on the island of Arran. Even when work took me away from this beloved gem of a place, I travelled back across the water – islands tend to require a lot of boat sailing. The photograph above is a route I used to ply when coming back home in one craft or another and passing by the wonderful Holy Island with it’s distinctive lighthouse building (in photo below). A sign of things to come with the seed of a lighthouse beam well and truly planted…
Holy Island Lighthouse (Inner), Arran
Photo: Gordon Brown
So what’s the score with this edition of the Bulletin? Well our unique property ethos is more than just about unusual buildings. Unique styles of life are important too. In our feature article below, we examine a relatively unknown phenomenon of converting night time into daylight – by the ton! It’s about squeezing every last hour of daylight from each year. We shocked ourselves at just how much more daylight can be extracted by tweeking some lifestyle choices. Plus having unique property fun into the bargain. For a lucky few, when circumstances allow, it is possible to spend 6 months of summer in the north where, because of the proximity to the Arctic Circle means enjoying long summer days and very short nights. The further north you go/live, the more likely it is not to get dark at midnight. Conversely, between October and March each year, anything in the southern part of Britain tends to give many extra daylight hours for those travelling from the far north to the far south. Between 240 and 260 extra hours of daylight each year can be achieved. It is not magic nor alchemy, it is real. No Merlin required. This gets very close to our ideal of …
Two Summers, No Winters
On Arran back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s the received wisdom from my rusty memory is that half of the islands hotels closed during winter, leaving enough winter and off-season tourism business for those remaining open to survive, whilst the hibernating hotels had their lucky owners fly south and enjoy a hard earned rest at some exotic place in France, Spain, or even further abroad such as New Zealand or Australia. I grew up in a hotel and know first hand how hard that lifestyle can be. The upside is it can also be incredibly interesting. Friendships form that last a lifetime. But the dismal winter nights with 6 hours daylight and 18 hours darkness can be draining on the spirit. Even with those beautiful crisp snowy December days and spectacularly bright January mornings that are made for taking sunrise photographs, the general darkness and rainy cold winters can get mighty old on the bones. So the edition we go in search of a real life remedy.
Plus there are some wonderfully unusual properties to consider whilst searching for more daylight…
L’île Louët et le Château du Taureau – Baie de Morlaix, Finistère, Bretagne (Click Here)
Truly unique French island and lighthouse property
We have covered the international two-summers-no-winters lifestyle a couple of years ago (here), so it is also possible to reconsider a move outwith the UK. Say France – the small island at Bretagne above is a cracking winter hibernation candidate. Whether you rent Château du Taureau, or keep to the Cornwall-Kent Coast, the Bulletin invites you to join us studying how to squeeze more daylight out of each year. Also to see what sort of unique properties might be on offer to make life exotic during those winter months. There is a lot to choose from, both in the north and south. This Bulletin covers September 2016, and as we sail into the darker, colder autumnal nights, we enjoy a reverie – turning thoughts and dreams into reality – perhaps you might like to join us in banishing winters, and having two summers each year?
Main Feature Article
Two Summers & No Winters
We Are Looking For Candidate “Two Summer” Properties
After you’ve read this feature, maybe you can help? Even join in with an adventure along these lines?
Photo courtesy of Steve Daniels
The idea of two-summers-and-no-winters is relatively simple. Spend approximately half the year (May to September) living at the north of the hemisphere where the daylight hours are longest, pleasant and sunny. Then migrate for 3 to 6 months to either the southern hemisphere, or for the purposes of this specific article, the southern part of the UK. Thereby achieving the aim of eliminating much winter and significantly increasing your life’s summer.
This Strange Looking Website Pictured Above May Hold An Interesting Secret
A remarkable effect on giving you 260 hours of extra summer each year
When you are old and grey, if I offered you an extra 20 days of 12 hour sun for each year you lived, that might equate to a 40 year adult lifespan. Extrapolating those numbers, would it surprise you to know you could have more than two solid years of extra summer days to your life? An additional 800 extra summer days? You might think I’ve lost the plot, but spend 10 minutes reading the rest of this Bulletin and then a few hours ruminating over the thesis of this. Especially when you can buy 6 houses all in, freehold for £19,000 (yes that does say nineteen thousand pounds)…
Extreme Far North: Unst.
MoD Base With An Interesting Sale History: Click Here
Please be aware that this article was first written in 2012 and updated in 2021. So the £19,000 sale price of Saxa Vord MoD base is long gone. Best keep an eye on Unique Property Bulletin for some juicy gems. For example, we have a mainland building plot with enduring planning for a seaview detached house and know that £28,000 cash will secure a deal. Click Here.
As for Saxa Vord, the fact of the 2012 sale at £19,000 are indisputable. Here is the government’s own Land Registry site covering the far north…
We produced an earlier two-summers-no-winters article is 2014 (click here). That covered and international way of doing this. Since then we’ve had several discussions with folk about a version within the UK that requires less travel – hundreds of miles rather than several thousand. On reviewing the actual forensic detail, we’ve discovered even the British Isles has a significant range of day-lengths between geographic areas. Who knew? Not too long ago I was on Orkney and utilised the Skype video link to contact a friend in Cornwall. Remarkably close to Towan Island, Cornwall as pictured above. My friend couldn’t get over the fact I was in bright daylight and they were in the dark at the wrong side of sunset. It was a curious experience for both of us. The received wisdom was I should have been in the dark on the northern islands whilst my friends would have been down on the Cornish and Devonian beaches enjoying the sun. Not so. Why? Patience dear friend, we will get to that soon.
Unique Property For Sale Earlier – John O’Groats During It’s Derelict Period
Photograph Courtesy of Mark Chalmers
Segue the two-summers-no-winters idea with unique property, and it is perhaps an idea to mention a geographically extreme developer by the name of Peter de Savary. This gentleman bought property at Land’s End in Cornwall during 1987 for a reported £7,000,000 (here). Two years later in 1989 he bought the other end of Britain – John O’Groats (here). There was a publicity coupe surrounding the event. Unfortunately Mr de Savary was unable to progress his dreams for the two ends of the country and sold up that endeavour in 1991. If you are so minded, it may be an interesting exercise to study Mr de Savary’s adventures, they have much of the unique about them and inspiration can be drawn from twenty minutes or so on Google in this respect.
Mainland Britain – End To End Map
Long enough to make a substantial daylight difference. Often two hours extra between top and bottom of the country, and not in the direction you might first imagine.
The distance between Land’s End in Cornwall and John O’Groats in Caithness is approximately 603 miles direct flight path, or more practically 837 by road (can vary depending on which map or internet mapping you utilise). This isn’t just about distance, our two summers initiative is about increasing the amount of daylight to a materially significant degree in your life and our life.
Sufficient to enjoy many longer days by relocating yourself at both ends of Britain. Plus the addition of a little of the unique property element into the mix. As far as possible locations go, more adventurous souls may wish to extend the geographic range and capture a greater amount of sunlight days.
Muckle Flugga Lighthouse – Britain Close To Norway & Iceland (here)
For just one example, £79,000 would buy you a unique lighthouse home (here) on Unst in the Northern Isles, and where you get some serious sun in the summer, and very long daylight with little night darkness.
Muckle Flugga Lighthouse Shore Station on Unst
Was for sale at £79,000 (click here)
Whilst up on the Northern Isles, I ended up with a very bad case of sunstroke. Far worse an experience than just a dose of sunburn. Who would of thought such a thing to be a problem up there, but the local GP says it happens quite a lot. People just assume – wrongly – that it is just cold and damp in the north of the country. Because so many folk dismiss the idea of staying a while anywhere north of the Watford Gap, they miss out on more than extra summertime. A significant amount of sunshine abounds the nearer you get to the Arctic Circle during summer months. Folk also lose out on big time bargains. For example this former MoD base and Radome would make an amazing summer pied a terre at just £19,000 – yes that is the right number of zeros after number nineteen…
Saxa Vord Radome Before Deflation
Above is a picture of the Radome in situ. After the base closed, this structure was dismantled. Re-erection/replacement with a more solid Radome that included domestic accommodation would be an interesting project. The old auction schedule and details can be viewed: click here.
Northern Radome & Base At Saxa Vord Sold For £19,000
Fancy a shot at buying this northern MoD base?
To help you, consider getting hold of a Unique Property Manual for ways to make that happen (click here).
We have certainly had properties listed in the Bulletin near Skaw at the most northern climbs, and plenty of Cornish/Devonian buildings on these pages. Though the hardcore Bulletin readers who want to test drive two-summers-no-winters with a little extra jump across to the Channel Islands may want to try Jersey (or even Gibraltar). First port of call…
Unique Property On The Island of Jersey (here)
The two photographs immediately above illustrate the style of unique property that might be located at both northern and southern extreme ends of the British Isles. By my reckoning the extreme tips at the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands in the south, and Unst in the north are about 960 miles apart. This is where the real harvesting of daytime hours can be maximised.
Significant Extra Summer Hours By Living at both ends of the British Isles
Islands of Unst and Channel Island of Jersey (here)
As we enter September, the blues of this month are palpable. Wherever you live in the UK, right now, as daylight hours shorten, dark nights are getting longer. Sunshine becomes more precious. At Bulletin HQ we go from 13 hours 50 minutes of daylight to 11 hours 34 minutes in the single month of September: here.
Have a go at finding your areas daylight rations yourself: click here
This time and daylight website can be fun and interesting.
Of material note is the difference of daylight hours enjoyed just now between say Shetland in the far north. This is where we unravel some of the detail in that odd screenshot picture earlier in this article: Here
Sunrise: 06:00. Sunset: 20:07. Approximately 14:07 hours of daylight.
Compare the daylight available in the southern mainland UK – for example Penzance: Here
Sunrise: 06:37. Sunset: 20:06. Approximately 13:28 hours of daylight.
Over the month, that means living ‘up north’ where most folk think of as poorer light has, in fact…
30 days of 39 minutes extra daylight!
In one month, the Shetlanders enjoy 11 hours more daylight than folk in Cornwall. Go figure!
That also works in reverse for Cornwall and Devon – through to Kent, depending on the time of year.
To the point, at the extremes of geography in Britain alone we have a curious difference in daylight each day…
Midwinter – Far south in Cornwall: 22 December – 8 hours 4 minutes of daylight.
Midwinter – Far north in Shetland: 22 December – 5 hours 49 minutes of daylight.
Midsummer – Far south in Cornwall: 22 June – 16 hours 23 minutes of daylight.
Midsummer – Far north in Shetland: 22 June – 18 hours 55 minutes of daylight.
What this means is that if a Shetlander had a second home in Cornwall and decanted there for 4 months each year, at the depths of midwinter they would have an extra 2 hours and 15 minutes of daylight each day. Averaged out over four months their winter daylight would increase by around 240 hours. On a 12 hour daylight cycle that is 20 extra days of daylight over winter.
Conversely, and this is a point many folk in the south miss out on with a squiffy misunderstanding of how sunny the far north can be, if a Cornish person had a second home on Shetland and migrated north for 4 months in the summer, they would have an extra 2 hours and 22 minutes of daylight. Averaged out over four months someone from Corwall, Devon, Plymouth, Torquay, Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Brighton, Hastings, or Dover would have their summer daylight increase by around 260 hours every year.
This idea of two-summers-no-winters does not suit everyone. But there is food for thought within this narrative. Yes? No? If we restrict the idea to finding unique property to stay in at either end of the UK, it may be a remedy for those moments of horrendous emotional torture that families go through on “Wanted Down Under” when grandparents, family and friends realise they are unlikely ever to see their grandchildren again, with the rare exception of international flights once in five years from UK to Australia.
Many examples of this long distance dilemma can be found on this BBC television series – on air since 2007, with over 150 episodes to date. But I find elements verging upon the cruel. Worse, I’ve seen this sort of thing first hand and in real life with good friends when their kids grow up and move to Australia…
Not good when you see the end result for some poor folk: Here
So for this Unique Property Bulletin we are looking remedy the upset in that video clip above – provide a way where folk can enjoy a more exotic lifestyle without the genuine trauma that close family have in virtually losing their children and grandchildren.
More than that, we intend to put the two-summers-no-winters theory into action – actually buy a place at either end of the country and put together a diary – maybe even a short film of how this idea works if tested within the confines of the UK (as opposed to our international version here). Perhaps with an added bonus of reducing family stress by examining a UK way of maximising summer and minimising winter whilst not ripping families apart as featured in each painful “messages from home” television torture segment via the BBC series “Wanted Down Under”.
I remember in my home village of Corrie on the island of Arran a wonderful lady who spent each summer on the island for 25 years. Her kids and grandkids visited. Lifelong friendships were formed. The 4 month summers worked way back then, so why not now?
Corrie on the Island of Arran
First time I saw two-summers-no-winters work
In the detail of UK daylight hours above, if an extra 260 hours of summer sun isn’t enough, we can always study the island of Jersey or even Gibraltar where the extra daylight hours gained each year by having a foot in the far north and far south would accumulate even more daylight hours.
Of course for some folk there are no strong family ties, and the bigger distances of intercontinental travel present no crushing family estrangement’s. For this edition we are leaving the two-summers-no-winters idea within UK boundaries. It is likely we will return to this topic with the full-on international initiative and seek candidate properties as winter migration destinations later.
Indeed, if you have read this far, you are definitely a hardcore reader of the Unique Property Bulletin. So we’d ask you to informally join our current dozen friends of the Bulletin and send in your candidate unique properties from the south of France, Spain, even Australia and New Zealand. Anywhere that the winter sun exceeds 12 hours a day, whilst back here in Old Blighty we are dealing with a miserable 5 hours worth of daylight at the pits of winter. Please…
…in the southern hemisphere, the equatorial regions, and even south of France, southern Italy, Spain etc. Even the south coast of England. Together we must surely be able to make some wonderful mischief.
One last thing – Alastair and Joe have put together a mighty fine micro adventure. Just came across it by accident. Thought it fun to share. I like their style and ethos…
You just have to say the wonderful words…. “Muckle Flugga”