Phil: If you’ve read Kate vs the Navy, you’ll know that the action takes place on an island called Fillern Holm, which can be found in the Bristol Channel, not far from Weston-Super-Mare.
It is of course, completely fictitious. Loosely based on Cockatoo Island in the far more exotic Sydney harbour, we made it up as there isn’t really anywhere suitable to hide an old navy base in the UK, and if we can’t go to Australia, then neither can the characters in our books!
Anyway, I was down in Weston a few days ago and found myself staring out to sea, or at least where the sea should be. On the horizon was a lump, dimly visible through the mist.
Could this be Fillern Holm? Does it exist after all?
Sadly not, it’s actually Steep Holm, according to the map. An uninhabited lump of rock. It was fortified in the 1860s though, and these defences were updated in WWII including the building of a barracks. All this means that it could just be a suitable stand-in for Fillern Holm in any future film or TV adaptions.
Talking of settings for drama, perhaps there is another candidate at Weston. Just off the coast is Birnbeck Pier.
More dereliction, but this time with some buildings. No missing battleships though. Perhaps those will just have to stay in our imagination.