Prior to leaving Scotland we made a decision that we would not allow ourselves to have any actual destination in our minds, and by that thought process we could simply enjoy the journey and meander at our leisure. That way, when we found places we really liked, we would simply stay, relax and savour for as long as we wanted. Well the Isles of Scilly fall squarely into this category, as we have simply fallen in love with these delightful islands.
Our first few days were spent at anchor in Porth Cressa taking the dinghy ashore, and enjoying walking the coastal paths around St Marys. This shot is of the anchorage in Porth Cressa, and you can see a Cruise Ship over in St Marys Pool.
Here is a clearer shot of the Cruise Ship
It is so peaceful on this island, and every corner one turns there is a different vista to enjoy. For a bit of a giggle we even hired a golf buggy for a day to go around St Marys. This was a lot of fun, and also pretty safe as there is very little traffic on the roads.
We visited most of the places of interest, including the spot where Admiral Cloudsley Shovell was washed ashore after his fleet was wrecked on the rocks off the Scilly Isles, causing some 2000 men to lose their lives. Those who remember their school history lessons, will recall that this tragedy led to the Government of the day putting up a sum of £30k for anyone who could come up with a timepiece that would work accurately at sea. If this could be done, longitude could be then calculated and an accurate position obtained, thus avoiding such terrible loss of life ever happening again.
This is why John Harrison spent his adult life coming up with various models until he invented the timepiece ( ultimately he had to fight the Government for his reward) which resolved the whole issue of longitude. Those who remember the TV series “Only Fools and Horses” will recall that Del Boy came across one of these watches and it finally made him and Rodney millionaires……….
We then moved the boat around into St Marys Pool/Hugh Town Harbour for two main reasons. One being that the wind direction was changing (and increasing in strength) and also because the whole place was filling up with people coming over for the World Championship Pilot Gig Rowing Championships. Neither of us had seen these kind of boats before, and only knew about the event from an entry in the Channel Pilot Book. We could never have imagined just how popular this event was, nor indeed the sheer number of people this brings to the islands. Hugh Town and the rest of St Marys cannot accommodate everyone, so the other islands hotels and B&B’s are also full, with the campsites across the islands also being busy. We were chatting about this to the Harbour Master who said that this event alone brings in around £10 million pounds annually to the local economy of the islands. Quite incredible!
We took a spectator boat out to watch the men’s longline heat where, believe it or not, there were 125 of these 22ft gigs lined up for the start. Each gig has six rowers and a cox. The support boats were full of family and friends all encouraging their respective teams, and this created quite an atmosphere, and it was great for us being part of the fun and excitement.
In this photo you can see the “Mathew” anchored out in the bay.
With all the visitors mooring buoys being full we were reluctant to move off and visit the other islands on Sun Dog, as in doing so we would have either lost the mooring, or to keep it we would have had to leave our dinghy attached to it, which in turn would have meant we couldn’t get ashore on the islands. This kind of defeated the object therefore we decided to leave the boat on the mooring and book a trip on a local boat called Calypso. This skipper offered a trip to three island on one day and gave us a bit of local history en route. We were dropped off, and had sufficient time on St Agnes, Tresco and Bryer to explore and get a feel for each of the islands, which in our opinion all have a different atmosphere. Our favourite island out of those we visited was St Agnes. However lots of people say that St Martins in delightful.
On Tresco it looks like someone has either lost their anchor – or are they simply making sure it is well bedded in?
The gardens at Tresco are well worth a visit, as is the old ships figureheads etc located at the Valhalla Collection situated in a corner of these beautiful gardens.
With us spending all this time enjoying the Isles of Scilly we missed our ideal weather window to head over to Brittany. Now we have the forecast indicating strong winds increasing from the east and veering to the south. This would not be good for the Brittany coast and it would also make it a bumpy ride to the south coast of England. So here we wait until we get the right “weather window” to allow us to move on – ideally to L’Aber Wrach in France.