Landlord sought for secluded island pub – but you must accept odd conditions

If you fancy running a pub but also quite like solitude, then we have the perfect job for you.

Barrow borough council has begun one of the UK’s most unusual local government recruitment processes by trying to find someone to run the secluded Ship Inn on Piel Island, off the coast near Barrow-in-Furness.

There's a few 'odd' conditions you'll have to accept if you get the job though.

One of these being the willingness to mark your appointment by sitting on a throne and having beer poured over your head.

That's because whoever is in charge of the pub is crowned “King of Piel” in a ceremony involving a rusty sabre which concludes with buckets of booze being poured over their head.

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Any punter who unwittingly sits on the throne has to buy drinks for everyone too.

If that sounds alright, then you may as well read on!

The council is looking for someone with experience of running a pub and a love of isolation.

Also the job will be on a 10-year lease, in time for the season starting in April.

If you get the job, you'll get to watch the majestic seals and birds in the area as well as enjoy stunning sunsets.

Downsides however, are the uncertain weather and the long hours.

A report to councillors describes Piel Island as a unique place but “any operator needs to appreciate the constraints offered by power, weather, access and its location within an area of site of special scientific interest”.

Along with running the pub the successful applicant will also need to manage and maintain the island itself.

John Murphy has been leading walks to the island for nearly 40 years and says whoever gets the job will need to be “massively dedicated”.

“You can’t just nip across to Tesco for a loaf of bread when you’re on Piel Island,” he told The Guardian.

“You’ll need to have dedication and a strong passion for isolation and peace and quiet. It takes a special personality.”

Piel Island is situated half a mile off the Furness peninsula. It is reachable by a ferry which runs from April to September or on a guided walk across the sands.

As well as the pub, the island also contains a castle, looked after by English Heritage, which was built in the early 1300s by the monks of Furness Abbey in order to deter Scottish raiders.

Many people like to go to the island for birthday parties or for a few drinks before camping overnight.

“Even if you’re p***ed out of your head the views from Piel are pretty amazing,” said Murphy.

“I must have slept on every blade of grass on that island, drunk or sober, and I just love it.”

Murphy admits he would love to do the job himself, but says he is too old at 73.

He has handed the job of leading walks to the island to the younger Ben Pinder, but he still intends to be on Piel telling its stories.

“I absolutely adore Piel Island, I adore its isolation. I also love the fact that Barrow still is an industrial town and yet we have this gorgeous, isolated island within spitting distance," he said.

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