Land ahoy! Jack Sparrow would be proud of one adventurous Cambridgeshire landlubber who has built his own pirate island complete with pub, beach hut and sun deck
Thanks to Johnny Depp and Keira Knightly, when we think of pirates these days we tend to think of tropical Caribbean seas and powder white beaches; of high seas and dramatic hairstyles.
What you don’t think of is a man-made lake in the heart of Cambridgeshire. But that is exactly where one buccaneering family have built their very own, private pirate island. Savvy?
Challis Island is situated in the middle of a man-made lake, which was created in the 1970s as a not-so-glamorous result of sand and gravel extraction. Fast forward 30 years and the lake was badly in need of attention.
Whilst other, more unimaginative, types might have simply filled the lake in, James Challis, who clearly has plenty of swashbuckling spirit, decided to dredge it instead and create a mock 18th-century colonial island. As you do.
So what treasures does this fantasy island have in store? Well, if you fancy the sun-drenched lifestyle of an international pirate, you’ll love the man-made beach with a waterway and lagoon that winds its way to a dramatic waterfall.
Or, if you’re a pirate that likes his grog, you’ll appreciate The Black Doubloon, a fully working pub for thirsty adventurers. Need to batten down the hatches? You could stay in Coffer’s Cabin – a spooky-sounding guest house for visiting deckhands. Or why not sunbathe on
Dead Man’s Deck, a sun deck that’s ‘perfect for those pirate Caribbean barbecues’.
Unfortunately, for now this remains a private island, but still, a girl can dream.
Worried the island might be a bit too ‘Disney’? Think again! According to the masterminds behind the project, The Master Wishmakers (a
pirate-worthy name if ever we heard one), ‘all structures and features have been crafted by hand by our artisans from top grade materials – no plastic imitation theme park trickery here!’ You’ll even find thatched roofs on some of the buildings. Shiver me timbers.
And whilst pirate islands don’t come cheap, the whole project didn’t cost as many doubloons as you might think.
The Master Wishmakers specialise
in making wealthy clients’ dreams come true, but a spokesman for the company claims
that, despite the dramatic nature of the project, clever
design techniques allowed them to keep the costs down and, as a result, they claim the project cost less than a town house in the centre of nearby Cambridge. Start saving up those pieces of eight!
Whilst the island might feel remote, it is only five miles from central Cambridge so the owners can easily stock up on rum and parrot food before retreating to their private paradise. Oh and it’s easily accessible by boat too, so there’s no need to walk the plank at the end of your stay.
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However, in true pirate fashion, the island was built without planning
permission, so the owners now face a nerve-racking wait to see if
South Cambridgeshire District Council will allow it to remain – or will throw the plans overboard.