It’s been some six years since I had the pleasure to visit NorderNey, the always photogenic region held and designed by Jacky Macpherson, my last visit having been in 2017 (see: A return to NorderNey in Second Life). One reason for this is that it has actually been closed for a while – I’m not sure precisely how long – and Jacky has been spending some of her time on other projects, including designing regions for others, including Vally Lavender (see: Time at Valium Creek in Second Life, from 2020) and VUK Store (see: A visit to VUK in Second Life, from 2019), as well as her own (see: A Nutmeg Getaway in Second Life, again from 2020).
So when Shawn Shakespeare informed me Jacky was back with a “Nord”-related build, I decided to leap over and take a look recently and at a time when I really should have been a-bed! NordShore, a Homestead region design, may not be a direct continuation of NorderNey, but it does have that titular link, and there is a styling about it that does bring to mind past iterations of NorderNey. It is also a build carrying a soft echo of Gateway – Nutmeg, linked to above, although it remains entirely unique to itself.
For inspiration with this design, Jacky turned to the oft gentle, oft rugged county of Cornwall, England; a place that can be both a holidaymaker and tourist magnet and also a place of unspoiled, remote-seeming beauty. It is these latter aspects of Cornwall Jacky has used to fire her imagination, sprinkling her ideas with little Tuscan touches; and while she specifically mentions Cornwall’s coastline as her point of inspiration, elements of the build – to me – also carry hints of the county’s moorlands.
Presented as a low island with a rugged, rocky shoreline for the most part, rising from the surrounding sea and caught under a summer’s sky entirely in keeping with those often see around Britain’s coast, it is not hard to think of NordShore as being a little place sitting just off the shoreline of south-west England; far enough away from mainland to offer a sense of escape, yet close enough to make living here less of a hardship than in might otherwise be the case.
Along its grassy back, the island is home to a lighthouse, a small cottage and a barn. It’s possible – if not likely – the cottage may have once been the home of a lighthouse keeper, being separated from it by a short track as the lighthouse stands on a small headland at the south-eastern tip of the island. However, it doesn’t appear as if the cottage has been maintained in its original role, instead having the feel of a place now given over to being a home for those caring for the island’s horses and sheep, perhaps as a result of the lighthouse being converted for automated operation at some point.
Whatever the reason, the cottage is a cosy place which appears to have been extended and refaced – or perhaps entirely rebuilt – to give it a distinctly Tuscan look and feel. Inside, a wood-burning stove offer warmth in winter, the armchairs before it sitting with a game of backgammon between them – although the cat occupying one of the chairs doesn’t appear to be too interested in it. A large, comfortable sofa sits across the room, guarding the doors leading to the kitchen where another kitty appears determined to get some milk – possibly more than it bargained for, if not careful!
A track runs from the east side of the cottage, past steps running down to a little cove, and then onwards to a working barn built in the same style as the cottage. Behind and slightly above the barn the back of the island is matted with tough wild grass, bursts of wild flowers and shrubs, here and there punched through by rocky outcrops. It is here, with the fenced enclosure for sheep, the further dusty tracks and the smattering of trees, that I found myself thinking of parts of Bodmin Moor than anywhere along Cornwall’s coast.
Which is not to say the northern end of the island looks out-of-place or different to the southern half. Far from it; this is a setting that flows together as a singular whole; but it does speak to Jacky’s power to fire the imaginations of visitors to see things that are both in keeping with her vision but which carry it in, perhaps, other directions.
With sheep and horses grazing and gulls wheeling in the sky whilst cormorants sit on the rocky shore and eyeing the rolling tide for any fish carried too close to land and thus making for a quick, swooping snack, the island also features other visitors to Cornwall’s shores: seals. These appear to have laid claim to the northern end of the island’s shore, perhaps feeling it offers seclusion and safely from unwanted approaches thanks to the surrounding rocks.
A single path slips gently down between said rocks to reach one of their basking grounds, a route which means they have more than ample time to slip into the sea should their peace be disturbed. Not that they need be disturbed: those seeking a dip in the sea can do so via both the east and west sides of the island, each of which is marked by rough beaches that slide easily into the waters before them, and which can be easily reached by following the local trails as the cross the island’s back.
Finished with a gentle soundscape and – needless to say – lots of opportunities for photography, NordShore is a delight to visit.
- NordShore (Echo Mountain, rated Moderate)