Satellite image of Ushant in 2003
|• Mayor (2020–2026)||Denis Palluel|
|15.58 km2 (6.02 sq mi)|
|• Density||54/km2 (140/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||0–61 m (0–200 ft) |
(avg. 30 m or 98 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
Ushant (//; Breton: Eusa, pronounced [ˈøsa]; French: Ouessant, pronounced [wɛsɑ̃]) is a French island at the south-western end of the English Channel which marks the westernmost point of metropolitan France. It belongs to Brittany and, in medieval terms, Léon. In lower tiers of government, it is a commune in the Finistère department. It is the only place in Brittany, save for Brittany itself, with a separate name in English.
Neighboring islets include Keller Island (Île de Keller) and Kadoran (Île Cadoran) to the north. The 200-meter (660 ft) channel between Ushant and Keller is called the Toull C'heller.
Ushant marks a southern limit of the Celtic Sea and the southern end to the western English Channel, the northern end being the Isles of Scilly, southwest of Land's End in Cornwall, England. Per definitions of the International Hydrographic Organization the island lies outside the English Channel and is in the Celtic Sea.
The island is a rocky landmass at most 8 km (5.0 mi) by 3 km (1.9 mi), covering 15 km2 (5.8 sq mi).
"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 'tis thirty-five leagues."
Several naval battles have been fought near Ushant between the British and French navies.
Per a repetitive old Breton proverb, "Qui voit Molène voit sa peine / Qui voit Ouessant voit son sang / Qui voit Sein voit sa fin / Qui voit Groix voit sa croix." ("Who sees Molène sees his pains (or penalty) / who sees Ushant sees his blood / who sees Sein sees his end / who sees Groix sees his cross"). This proverb underlines local points being often deadly to navigate. These have many rocks and after or before the turn of the tides more than ten-knot tide streams.
The sole village on the island is that of Lambaol (Lampaul).
The island's usually resident population is less than 1⁄3 of that recorded in 1901 and 1931 (and five censuses between these years).
|Climate data for Ushant (1981–2010 averages, extremes 1995–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.1
|Average high °C (°F)||10.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||8.3
|Average low °C (°F)||6.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−2.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||91.2
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||15.5||11.7||11.8||11.1||9.1||8.1||8.5||8.9||9.0||13.2||16.7||15.5||139.1|
|Average snowy days||1.2||1.6||0.4||0.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||0.9||4.3|
|Source: Meteo France|
The Creac'h lighthouse (Phare du Creach) is reputedly the most powerful in Europe. French: Ouessant is the French system name for Plymouth in the British system of the Shipping Forecast.
Cultural ties to Scotland
In 2007, Ushant hosted a Scottish book festival and subsequently created their own tartan registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans; and in August 2010, the islanders were reported to be seeking to establish cultural links with a Scottish island. Rob Gibson, Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Highlands and Islands welcomed the suggestion.
Ushant is connected to the French mainland by air and sea. Passenger ferries of the Penn Ar Bed company operate from Brest and Le Conquet year-round, and also from Camaret in summer, stopping at the island of Molène en route. The airline Finistair operates flights on Cessna 208 planes from Brest Bretagne Airport.
Ouessant sheep form a rare breed, originating here. These are northern European short-tailed sheep, ubiquitous in northern Europe up to Roman times, but which now survives only in a few places. Apart from Ushant, these are in remote islands and mountains of Britain and Scandinavia and some places around the Baltic Sea. It is one of the smallest breeds of domestic sheep. It is usually black or dark brown (a few are white), and it is now kept elsewhere in the world as a heritage breed.
The isolation of the island has helped the conservation of the Apis mellifera mellifera dark bee, unaffected by pollution, pesticides and Varroa parasites. In the rest of France it has been substituted by Apis mellifera ligustica. As a side effect, the Bee louse, Braula coeca, that has elsewhere perished by the anti-Varroa treatments, can still be found among them. The association Conservatoire de l'Abeille Noire Bretonne tries to develop this bee race intending to reintroduce it in Western France.
Literary and musical references
It figures in Le Sang de la sirène (The Blood of the Siren, 1901) by Anatole Le Braz.
It is mentioned in the sea shanty "Spanish Ladies".
Rudyard Kipling mentions it in his poem Anchor Song.
Charles Tournemire's Symphony No. 2, completed in 1909, was inspired by and named for the island.
The 1910 novel Das Meer by German author Bernhard Kellermann takes place here. Features such as Phare du Creach and Port du Stiff are highly defined. The main character stays at the la Villa des tempêtes, in ruins today.
The secret of the seas (Le Secret des Eaux: Ouessant), is a 1923 novel by André Savignon set here.
"Lord Ushant" is the title given the heir to the Duchy of Tintagel (Cornwall) in Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers (1938).
A ship from here is mentioned in the WWII Brest destruction commemorative ode Barbara by French poet Jacques Prévert.
Überfahrt. Eine Liebesgeschichte by East German, Anna Seghers is a 1971 novella. The end nighing of a crossing from Brazil to East Germany a character quotes 'Whoever sees Ushant sees their blood'. The work has an official translation.
Ushant appears over and over in works of Patrick O'Brian as to the whereabouts and course of ships in his book series.
Mystery book Act of Mercy by Peter Tremayne is set in 666 A.D. here and elsewhere.
Father Truitard, a character in Bruce Chatwin's The Viceroy of Ouidah, spent "years communing with the waves and petrels on the island of Ushant".
Yann Tiersen made the album Eusa in 2016. Every track is named after places here.
The island awards annual literary prizes to worldwide writers.
- Battle of Ushant (disambiguation)
- Communes of the Finistère department
- Parc naturel régional d'Armorique
- List of the works of Charles Cottet depicting scenes of Brittany
- "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
- "Definition of 'Ushant'". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- C. Michael Hogan. 2011. Celtic Sea. eds. P.saundry & C.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the /environment. Washington DC.
- "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition + corrections" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1971. pp. 42 [corrections to page 13]. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
- Cordingly, David (2003). The Billy Ruffian. New York: Bloomsbury. pp. 256–7.
- Slaughter, John Robert (8 November 2009). Omaha Beach and Beyond: The Long March of Sergeant Bob Slaughter. Zenith Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 9780760337349.
- "Ouessant–Stiff (29)" (PDF). Fiche Climatologique: Statistiques 1981–2010 et records (in French). Meteo France. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
- "French island of Ouessant adopts local tartan". BBC News. 10 August 2010.
- "Islanders Seek Scots Friends". The Herald. Glasgow. 16 August 2010.
- "Bateau vers les iles Ouessant, Molène et Sein - Penn Ar Bed". pennarbed.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- "Bienvenue sur www.finistair.fr - Compagnie Finist'air". finistair.fr (in French). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- Alle, Gérard; Le Moigne, Jean-Louis (2011). Abeille et miel en Bretagne (in French). Coop Breizh. ISBN 9782843465222.
- Martin, Jean-Pierr. "Braula cœca" (in French).
- Dominique Raizon (4 April 2012). "L'Abeille Noire d'Ouessant est en pleine forme" (in French). Radio France Internationale. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- "L'abeille noire réintègre le continent". espace-sciences.org (in French). Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- White-Jacket, chapter 84
- "September 3, 1938". Orwell Diaries 1938-1942. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- 'Crossing: A Love Story' by Anna Seghers, translated by Douglas Irving (USA: Diálogos Books, 2016), p. 154
- "Жизнь моряка (fb2)". rus.ec (in Russian). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- Bloom, Dan (13 May 2015). "Translation of eco-fantasy book wins French island prize". Taipei Times. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ouessant.|
- (in French) Ushant communal council website
- (in French) Cultural Heritage
- Article at AllRefer Encyclopedia, based on The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia
- Traditional, "Spanish Ladies", credited to Iron Men & Wooden Ships, by Frank Shay
- Ile d'Ouessant - Photo gallery
- Storm Island – article about the island by William Langewiesche in the December 2001 issue of The Atlantic
- Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). 1911. .