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Ushant

Ushant

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Ushant is an island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

 at the south-western end of the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 which marks the north-westernmost point of metropolitan France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It belongs to Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 and is in the traditional region of Bro-Leon. Administratively, Ushant is a commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in the Finistère
Finistère
Finistère is a département of France, in the extreme west of Brittany.-History:The name Finistère derives from the Latin Finis Terræ, meaning end of the earth, and may be compared with Land's End on the opposite side of the English Channel...

 department. It is the only place in Brittany with a separate name in English.

Geography


Ushant marks a southern limit of the Celtic Sea
Celtic Sea
The Celtic Sea is the area of the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Ireland bounded to the east by Saint George's Channel; other limits include the Bristol Channel, the English Channel, and the Bay of Biscay, as well as adjacent portions of Wales, Cornwall, Devon, and Brittany...

 and the southern entrance to the western English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, the northern entrance being the Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly form an archipelago off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula of Great Britain. The islands have had a unitary authority council since 1890, and are separate from the Cornwall unitary authority, but some services are combined with Cornwall and the islands are still part...

, southwest of Land's End
Land's End
Land's End is a headland and small settlement in west Cornwall, England, within the United Kingdom. It is located on the Penwith peninsula approximately eight miles west-southwest of Penzance....

 in Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. Although it is sometimes considered an island in the English Channel, it does not form part of the Channel Islands
Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

. According to the definitions of the International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
The International Hydrographic Organization is the inter-governmental organisation representing the hydrographic community. It enjoys observer status at the UN and is the recognised competent authority on hydrographic surveying and nautical charting...

 the island lies outside the English Channel and is in the Celtic Sea
Celtic Sea
The Celtic Sea is the area of the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Ireland bounded to the east by Saint George's Channel; other limits include the Bristol Channel, the English Channel, and the Bay of Biscay, as well as adjacent portions of Wales, Cornwall, Devon, and Brittany...

.

The island is a rocky landmass some 8 km (5 mi) by 3 km (1.9 mi) with a total area of 15 km² (5.8 sq mi).

History


Ushant is famous for its maritime past, both as a fishing community and as a key landmark in the Channel approaches. It is named in the refrain of the sea shanty
Sea shanty
A shanty is a type of work song that was once commonly sung to accompany labor on board large merchant sailing vessels. Shanties became ubiquitous in the 19th century era of the wind-driven packet and clipper ships...

 Spanish Ladies
Spanish Ladies
Spanish Ladies is a traditional English naval song, describing a voyage from Spain to the Downs from the viewpoint of ratings of the British Royal Navy.- Origins :...

:
We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England,
From Ushant to Scilly
Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly form an archipelago off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula of Great Britain. The islands have had a unitary authority council since 1890, and are separate from the Cornwall unitary authority, but some services are combined with Cornwall and the islands are still part...

 is thirty-five leagues.


Several naval battle
Naval battle
A naval battle is a battle fought using boats, ships or other waterborne vessels. Most naval battles have occurred at sea, but a few have taken place on lakes or rivers. The earliest recorded naval battle took place in 1210 BC near Cyprus...

s have been fought near Ushant between the British and French navies.

In March 1978, a U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 oil tanker, Amoco Cadiz
Amoco Cadiz
Amoco Cadiz was a very large crude carrier , owned by Amoco, that ran aground on Portsall Rocks, from the coast of Brittany, France, on 16 March 1978, and ultimately split in three and sank, all together resulting in the largest oil spill of its kind in history to that date.-Oil spill:Amoco Cadiz...

, ran aground at Portsall about 19 miles (31 km) from the island, leading to major pollution of the Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 coast.

An old Breton proverb says : .

"He who sees Ushant sees his blood,
He who sees Sein sees his end."

This proverb is related to the area around the island, considered one of the most challenging to navigate in the world with its many rocks and more than ten knot tide streams.

The usual start and finish line for circumnavigation
Circumnavigation
Circumnavigation – literally, "navigation of a circumference" – refers to travelling all the way around an island, a continent, or the entire planet Earth.- Global circumnavigation :...

s of the globe is between Ushant and Lizard Point
Lizard Point, Cornwall
Lizard Point in Cornwall is at the southern tip of the Lizard Peninsula. It is situated half-a-mile south of Lizard village in the civil parish of Landewednack and approximately 11 miles southeast of Helston....

.

Population


There is only one significant community on the island, the village of Lambaol/Lampaul.

Events


In August 2010 the islanders were reported to be seeking to establish cultural links with a Scottish island. In 2007 Ushant hosted a Scottish book festival and subsequently created their own tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

. Rob Gibson
Rob Gibson
Rob Gibson MSP is a Scottish politician. A member of the Scottish National Party , he was elected to the Scottish Parliament to represent Caithness, Sutherland and Ross in the 2011 election....

, an MSP
Member of the Scottish Parliament
Member of the Scottish Parliament is the title given to any one of the 129 individuals elected to serve in the Scottish Parliament.-Methods of Election:MSPs are elected in one of two ways:...

 for the Highlands and Islands
Highlands and Islands (Scottish Parliament electoral region)
The Highlands and Islands is one of the eight electoral regions of the Scottish Parliament which were created in 1999. Eight of the parliament's first past the post constituencies are sub-divisions of the region and it elects seven of the 56 additional-member Members of the Scottish Parliament .The...

 welcomed the opportunity.

Transport


Ushant is connected to the French mainland by both air and sea. Passenger ferries of the Penn Ar Bed
Penn-ar-Bed (company)
Penn-ar-Bed is a French shipping company providing a ferry service between Finistère and the islands of Ushant, Molène and Sein every day of the year, under a public service contract to the Conseil général du Finistère. It is named after Penn-ar-Bed, the Breton name for Finistère...

 company operate from Brest
Brest, France
Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

 and Le Conquet
Le Conquet
Le Conquet is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.-Geography:Le Conquet is a fishing port in the northwest of Brittany...

 year-round, and also from Camaret
Camaret-sur-Mer
Camaret-sur-Mer is a commune in the Finistère department in northwestern France, located at the end of Crozon peninsula.-Sights:Camaret-sur-Mer is home to the Tour Vauban or Tour dorée , a historic fortification guarding the harbor and built in 1669-94...

 in summer, stopping at the island of Molène
Molène
Molène is an island off the west coast of Brittany and one of the Ponant Islands, the largest of an archipelago of some twenty islands. Administratively, it is a commune of the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France....

 en route. The airline Finistair operates flights on Cessna 208
Cessna 208
The Cessna 208 Caravan is a single turboprop engine, fixed-gear short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft built in the United States by Cessna. The airplane typically seats nine passengers, with a single person crew, although with a FAR Part 23 waiver, it can seat up to fourteen passengers...

 planes from Brest Bretagne Airport
Brest Bretagne Airport
Brest Bretagne Airport , formerly known as Brest Guipavas Airport, is an airport serving the French city of Brest. It is located in the commune of Guipavas and 10.2km northeast of Brest, within the département of Finistère....

.

Literary references


Ushant is also the title of the autobiography of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 poet and novelist Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
Conrad Potter Aiken was an American novelist and poet, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography.-Early years:...

, published in 1952.

Ushant is mentioned in George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

's diaries, in passing.

Ushant is also a character briefly appearing in Herman Melville
Herman Melville
Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumous novella Billy Budd....

's White-Jacket
White-Jacket
White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War, usually referred to as White-Jacket, is an 1850 novel by Herman Melville first published in England on January 23 by Richard Bentley and in the U.S...

. Ushant is highly admired for his beard. See chapter 84 of the book for further information.

Ushant is mentioned repeatedly in the works of Patrick O'Brian in reference to the maritime activities and position of various ships and characters in the series.

Ushant appears occasionally as a landfall in C. S. Forester
C. S. Forester
Cecil Scott "C.S." Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith , an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of naval warfare. His most notable works were the 11-book Horatio Hornblower series, depicting a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic era, and The African Queen...

's novels about Horatio Hornblower
Horatio Hornblower
Horatio Hornblower is a fictional Royal Navy officer who is the protagonist of a series of novels by C. S. Forester. He was later the subject of films and television programs.The original Hornblower tales began with the 1937 novel The Happy Return Horatio Hornblower is a fictional Royal Navy...

.

Ushant is one of the locales in the mystery "Act of Mercy" by Peter Tremayne. The book is set in 666 A.D.

Ushant is mentioned in Dmitry Lukhmanov's narrative 20 000 miles under sail.

A ship from Ushant (Ouessant in French) is mentioned in the poem "Barbara" by French poet Jacques Prévert
Jacques Prévert
Jacques Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter. His poems became and remain very popular in the French-speaking world, particularly in schools. Some of the movies he wrote are extremely well regarded, with Les Enfants du Paradis considered one of the greatest films of all time.-Life and...

.

External links

Ushant communal council website Cultural Heritage