It’s not just Santa that will have a heck of a time delivering parcels this Christmas and Royal Mail has identified the most unusual postie routes around Britain, with ferries and fishing boat featuring more than the traditional sleigh.
In “Britain’s last wilderness” Knoydart, letters are sorted in postman Tommy McManmon’s garden shed. This remote Scottish peninsula on the north west coast is only accessible by boat or by a 16-mile walk across rough country terrain.
Its seven miles of tarred road are not connected to the UK road system. But no matter for hardy resident McManmon, as he sets off in his van to the 53 addresses on the pennisula.
"My delivery route is very exposed" he said, adding "At this time of year it is completed entirely in the dark. My round is particularly busy with lots of packets due to the increase in online shopping as we do not have any shops."
A fishing boat takes Ernest Evans to Bardsey Island once a week to deliver and collect local post on the remote Welsh island. The sailing trip was repeated by his father before him, and Ernest is celebrating his 40th year on the postal pike in 2011.
Atnaharra in Sutherland is known for its freezing conditions with a Met Office station in the highland hamlet to record its icy winter temperatures. Last year the mercury dropped to -22.3 celsius. Despite the 120-mile round trip to the nearest post office, all 30 people got their post last Christmas. Definitely heart warming for yearning Christmas youngsters.
Lighthouses sail past postie Peter McCurdy as he makes his way to Rathlin island off the coast of Northern Ireland. The only inhabitated island off the mainland, McCurdy takes in some breathtaking views, despite the swirling depths beneath the surface being home 40 to shipwrecks. It's a difficult life for a rural postman, Tommy McManmon from Knoydart explained why he enjoyed it:
“It is great to meet all the people in the community. It feels more than a postman’s job, it is a very social thing too. That’s why I like it.”