The Falkland Islands, an archipelago composed of a large number of islands, are situated in the South Atlantic between latitudes 51º and 53´ south and longitudes 57º and 62´ west. In relation to South America they lie approximately 280 miles (450 km) north east of Tierra del Fuego and about 373 miles (600 km) due east of Patagonia. South Georgia lies about 900 miles (1450 km) to the east and the nearest point of the Antarctic Peninsula is approximately 745 miles (1200 km) away.
In its entirety, the archipelago covers a distance of around 160 miles (257 km) from west to east and approximately 85 miles (136 km) from north to south. The total land area is over 4700 square miles (12000km2). Much of this land mass is made up of two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland which are separated by the Falkland Sound. The total coastline is calculated to be roughly 7100 km.
Generally speaking the entire Falkland coastline is broken into many different sections all having their own characteristics. However, it could be said that some four areas present coastal landscapes with very distinct features. For example, the West Falkland coastlines generally have more formidable terrain, while the coastlines of East Falkland are typically low-lying with wide, sandy bays and rocky beaches stretching into the sea.
For this issue, four designs are used to illustrate the typical features of the windswept coastline on the east and west of the archipelago.
The 30p value shows Surf Bay, situated near Stanley, and represents the many sweeping sandy bays found on the east side of East Falkland. These beaches of crystal white sand can extend from a few hundred meters to half a mile or more in length.
The 75p value shows the formidable cliffs of New Island. New Island is situated on the SW corner of the Falkland archipelago and the furthest point west of the Islands. It is renowned for its dramatic west side cliffs shown here in this design. One of the earliest descriptions written of the islands’ coastline was by Captain Macy of the Brig Aurora when she anchored at New Island on the 29 October 1820:
“Viewed many of the wonders of nature in the perpendicular cliffs which bound the seaboard sides of this island. The whole content of the outer shore is composed of rocks arranged in regular strata, intersected by perpendicular seams which give the whole the appearance of an artificial structure”
The £1 stamp shows Steeple Jason Island, a typical coastal scene in the NW of the archipelago. Here, several islands form the Jason Island group, a chain of formidable islands where the majority are topped with impressive peaks giving this one the name of “Steeple”. Geologically this particular group are formed from a large underwater ridge which stretches some thirty miles from the extreme point of the NW corner of the main island of West Falkland, to the furthest point of the archipelago. Where the “chain” is broken to form these islands, an up-welling is created to form impressive tide rips which result in some of the roughest waters in the Islands.
The £1.20p stamp illustrates Deaths Head and Grave Cove, a typical scene on the northern point of West Falkland. Here the landscape is dominated by impressive dome shaped cliffs. It is not known if there is any connection with the naming of Deaths Head and the small cove of Grave Cove which lies in the shelter of the former, but here there are some six graves. Evident by the way they are laid in the same fashion and position, it is probable that this was the result of a boating accident in the waters off Deaths Head.
Text by Ian StrangeTechnical details:Designer: Ian StrangePhotographs: Georgina Strange & Ian J. Strange of Design In NaturePrinter: Cartor Security PrintingProcess: Lithography Perforation: 13 per 2cmsStamp size: 52 x 29.24mmSheet Layout: 50 (2 x 25)Release date: 12 July 2012Production Co-ordination: Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd