Carcass Island lies to the northwest of the Falklands archipelago and is one of the most picturesque outer-lying islands. The island takes its name from HMS Carcass, which, along with HMS Jason, established Port Egmont on Saunders Island in 1766–67.
On Carcass Island there are large sand bays, a tidal rock point to the north-west and cliffs and slopes along the north-eastern coast. There are several fresh water ponds which are important for wildfowl. The highest point is Mount Byng, 213 meters or 700ft. Careful management has retained an island rich in wildlife with songbirds, penguins and a diverse plant life that includes areas of mature tussac grass. Today the island is owned and managed by Rob and Lorraine McGill who have lived on the island for 40 years.
During more than a century of habitation this island has had only three owners, all environmentally conscious, and an absence of cats and rats, making the luxuriant, well established hedges and trees an attractive home to many small birds such as the Cobb’s wren, Black-chinned siskins, Long-tailed Meadowlark and Falklands thrush. The sandy beaches, rolling hills and low cliffs are superb platforms from which to view the multitude of sea and shore birds that either breed or feed on and around this island. These include Gentoo and Magellanic penguin, Yellow-billed pintail and Flightless steamer ducks, Magellanic oystercatchers, the rare Striated caracara, Red-backed hawk and Ruddy-headed geese. A growing colony of Southern elephant seals can be found at the far north west point of the island. Both the north and south of the island provide great hiking opportunities, taking in interesting flora, long white sand beaches (some good beachcombing), penguin colonies, and sheltered dunes which make great picnic spots. One hundred and seven different plants have been identified including the uncommon yellow orchid, the rare endemic hairy daisy and whitlow grass.
The care and freedom from predation has left Carcass with a slightly different ambiance to anywhere else in the Falklands which is immediately evident and which really needs to be experienced rather than described. As there are no guided excursions on the island you will have plenty of time to explore this very special island completely at your own leisure.
The walk to north west point of the island is approximately 6km from the settlement so a full-day walk round-trip. Alternatively you can be driven one-way and then walk back. Shedder Pond commonly has a variety of waterfowl with many Magellanic penguins also in this vicinity. Groups of elephant seals can be found on the beaches at the northern end of the island. Cheeky Striated caracaras congregate amongst the elephant seals. At this remote point on the island you are clearly a long way from anywhere with only the Jason islands between you and the vast South Atlantic ocean. The return to the settlement is via North Bluff and Hawks Nest Valley. If you are feeling particularly fit, a hike up Mount Byng will give you spectacular views on a fine day.
The walk to Leopard beach at the southern end of the island is 3km from the settlement. This spectacular beach is 1km long and fringed with tussac grass. This area is home to large colonies of both Magellanic and Gentoo penguins. On Leopard beach it is possible to see the occasional Southern sea lion although they do not actually breed on Carcass Island.
• Converted farm house • 6 rooms (2 double, 3 twin, 1 triple)
• All ensuite
• Full board accommodation only (packed lunches are provided on request)
• Lounge with honesty bar. Sun room.
The menu at Carcass Island often includes the following fresh items sourced locally:-
• Beef and lamb
• Milk, cream and butter
• Hen eggs
• Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers
Carcass Island offer a drop off and collection service included in their tariffs. The owners are as flexible as possible with the service which must fit in with other duties on the island including meeting the aircraft or attending to cruise ship visits. When visitors prefer just to go out for a short period to take some photographs and don’t wish to walk back to the farmhouse, the owners will wait for the guest so they can be driven back.
• Available, free of charge, is a self-drive option to anyone with some off road experience.
• Full-day tour to West Point Island by boat.