The Isles of Scilly August 2010

Selected photographs of our holiday are here.

Saturday, 21 August 2010
7.15 Left home.
10.20 Arrived at  Tyntesfield. Had a coffee and sauntered over to the house. We were the first to enter the house at 11.00. An absolutely fascinating place. I really approve of it being opened during the conservation/restoration process. Visited the chapel and the walled garden as well as the house. Did not take a camera with me. We decided that we would like to go back in a few year’s time.
1.00 Lunch and then on to Fingle Glen Hotel.

Sunday, 22 August 2010
A very tasty breakfast at 7.40. We had the dining room to ourselves and a pleasant sunny view across the golf course and the pond.
9.00 Left the hotel and went to visit Alan and Rita at Holywell Bay. Caught up with their news and had some delicious coffee and cake. The weather whilst we were there was interesting. It was just cloud with hardly any visibility when we arrived but as we chatted it changed to crystal clear views and a brilliant blue sky.
1.15 Left there and drove around the coast road. Stopped at St Just (St Ives was so full all the car parks seemed to be full)
3.15 Arrived at The Queens Hotel at Penzance and had a walk along the promenade. Dinner in the hotel.

Monday, 23 August 2010
10.30 Met up ready for the taxi at 10.45. Jolly taxi driver working to a script. Heliport quite busy in that the small building was crowded. Tedious repetition for employees, practised ‘dead’ time for the regulars and eager, possibly anxious, wait for the newbies. Watched some pilot training whilst we waited which made it look easy.
12.15 Flight left – a first helicopter flight for each of us. The tilting bit at the start was a little disconcerting but my main surprise was that it seemed to go so slowly. It was certainly the best way to see The Isles of Scilly for the first time and the weather was really bright and sunny. Taxi from the airport and another jolly chap working to a script. But, on reflection, in doing so they actually added to the enjoyment of the holiday. The apartment was brilliant. Right on the beach, bright, clean, well and tastefully furnished.


The first view we had from the apartment window.

2.30 A walk round the Garrison maps in hand getting our bearings. Weather still brilliant. C champing at the bit for a swim. Back to the apartment for C to change and me to collect a rucksack, then back up to Morning Point for Chris to swim the bay. H&B to the café/bar for a drink whilst I carried C’s shoes etc. to meet them. Pimms and white wine all round whilst looking at the fabulous bay in good weather. What more could you ask for?
7.45ish Off to the very nearby Atlantic Hotel which was also packed. Dinner in a noisy environment. Food was fine though and the wine was excellent.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010
7.30 Walked up to the Start Castle Hotel and just beyond. Returned for breakfast and by 9.30 we were walking along the quay looking for the boat ‘Blue Hunter’ on which we were to travel to Tresco. The boat arrived promptly and just over twelve of us took the short journey to the Carn Near Quay. The walk along the concrete road was about half a mile to the Tresco Abbey Gardens – which the leaflet points out is one of the foremost botanical gardens of the world. Walked around the gardens for just over an hour and then stopped for coffee. Chatted to two people who had come over on the same boat (Steve and Pat) and it turned out that they came from Chesterfield and Pat had attended the same school as Hannah. After coffee Chris went off westwards to swim to Bryher and Samson and we went eastwards along the Penzance Road to the bay.


The view from Rushy Point

We then walked along the soft white sand to Dolphin Town where we had a look at St. Matthew’s Church. Just inside the vestibule were notices asking for holidaying organists to play and announcing the names of holidaying vicars who would lead the services and where they usually ministered. Walked on through Dolphin Town – about four houses – down to New Grimsby Quay where there is a pub called The New Inn. Decided to stop for lunch. Walked from there almost to Cromwell’s Castle. Stopped on a rocky headland and watched events around us. People pottering in boats and a few walking the coast path.  People enjoying doing pointless things for the sake of it.
3.30 Returned to the quayside to meet up with C and hear of his swimming adventures. ‘Blue Hunter’ turned up spot on time and fitted in the constant flow of boats arriving and departing. C had a conversation with the boatman (Paul) and it turned out that he also ran the Kavorna Café and some holiday accommodation. On return to Hugh Town we checked the menu and booked a table at the café for 7.45. Then off to Porth Cassa for cocktails. The sun was still warm. Shower and change of clothes and then off to Kavorna. The food was excellent.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010
6.50 Tea and then a walk up past the Star Castle Hotel and down the track that leads to the fortifications. It was pouring with rain although warm except when we were down the other side of the hill. The boatman had told C the day before that The Scillonian would not be running because of the weather and that not many, if any, of the trip boats would be going out. Returned and changed into shorts.
Breakfast and coffee and then spent the morning watching the weather in the harbour. There were men wandering about in yellow waterproofs doing jobs. One of the trip boats was brought right in on the high tide and moored so that as the water went out the man could walk round and inspect the hull. He seemed to be spraying it.
Walked round the town and then sat at the window of the apartment watching. Just before 1.00 C appeared in the water having swum from a headland three bays away. Lunch at 1.30.

2.45 C&H went out and we also left and walked through Porth Mellon and around the bays past Juliet’s Place and up to the golf course, near to where C had left his shoes and jacket. The weather was overcast and hot. It was apparent that walking was the day’s activity as most others had been cancelled. Returned to the apartment at 4.00 and expected The Scillonian in at 4.30 but it did not arrive until nearer 7.30. Around 8.00pm we wandered down to The Mermaid, the main room of which was packed, where we went downstairs to eat. An engrossing day even though we had done very little. Maybe that’s what holidays should be like.

Thursday, 26 August 2010
8.00 Walked round to the quay to check which boats were going where and then walked up past the Star Castle and down towards the battlements.
10.45 Set off to walk around the island. First pause at Peninnis Head, from there to Old Town (12.10) where we stopped for coffee.


People enjoying doing pointless things for the sake of it.

Onwards past the airport where the path crosses the end of the runway. Stopped at Porth Hellick Point. Then on to Pelistry Bay where we went inland to Carn Vean for super crab/prawn sandwiches.

3.30ish back down to the beach and the rain that was predicted for 4.00 started just a little early. Another slight pause – photo at Innisidgen and then round Bar Point from where we saw The Scillonian taking a different route back to the main land. Another pause for photos and reflection at Halangy Down Settlement. C changed at Carn Morval Battery and entered the water somewhere between there and Taylor’s Island to swim back to Hugh Town beach. We continued walking past Juliet’s Pantry through Porthloo and Porth Mellon and back to the apartment arriving at 6.05. H had read that a walk around the island was five miles but we all think we did more than that. My legs said seven miles.

Chris arrived soon after us and it was drinks and nibbles time – a reward for walking for seven hours. Baths, showers, changes of clothes and off to The Atlantic Hotel, supposedly for curry night but it turned out to be quiz night instead. But, as we had a table near the window we stayed.

Friday, 27 August 2010
8.00 Walk over to Colonel Boscowan’s Battery and then back along the quay to read the noticeboards of the boatmen. However, although a number of the boards had not been posted it did not look as though we would be able to visit St Agnes and Bryher which is what we wanted to do. Callypso 2 was doing the two plus Tresco but that is not what we wanted.
10.00 Off to buy tickets and stand in a long queue. We obtained tickets for St Agnes and there were so many people they put on an extra boat. It was Osprey, a much bigger and more substantial boat than Surprise, the first one to go. Arrived on St Agnes at about 10.50 and decided to walk around Gugh first. Paused at The Old Man of Gugh and Dropnose Point.


The Old Man of Gugh

Chris swam most of the length of The Cove and met us on the sand bar. Lunch in The Turk’s Head of pasties and white wine and then a stroll along the road to Troy Town Farm and round to Periglis, Porth Coose and The Big Pool where we spent a couple of hours reading and laying in the sun. First time in years!
3.45 Wandered back to The Quay. Osprey arrived at 4.35 and we departed St Agnes at 4.45. The weather had held fair and sunny – and distinctly hot at times – all day. Back to Hugh Town just after 5.00.


The view from the Quay on St. Agnes

Saturday, 28 August 2010
Short walk to the Star Castle.
10.45 Off to book Kavorna and then on to pick up the boat at 11. Slow journey out to the islands and then one of the best views of seals ever. Route of the boat: through the Great English Island Neck by Norn, along Great Ganilly where there was a posing seal on a rock near East Porth and bobbing a bit in the tidal flow out and around Hanjague. Then southwards to Mouls where he took the boat between two rocks very close together and one of the rocks was covered in seals. From there past Little and Great Innisvouls and round to West Porth of Great Ganilly where the group of girls we saw land at Porth Conger on St Agnes had moored their boat and were snorkelling with the seals. Paul mentioned to the girls that there was a report of a dolphin about. One man on the boat counted forty seals on the rocks here. From there we turned back and around Ragged Island and Arthur Head past Little Gannick and along the west coast of St Martin’s to the Hotel Quay at Lower Town at 12.30.

Once landed we had coffee in the hotel garden and then walked along the narrow road past The Seven Stones Inn and footpaths to Higher Town where we stopped at the bakery to buy pasties and cakes. Onwards across the cricket pitch and through the dunes to Higher Town Bay where we sat and ate our lunch.
After lunch C went off for his swim, H read her book, B and I watched the cricket match. At 3.30 B and I walked along the road to Middle Town to the Island Reading Room where we turned northwards and walked past Frenchman’s Graves to Great and Little Bay. There was one person on the beach, at Little Bay, a child digging a hole in the sand. That seems to sum up one aspect of this holiday: innocence, trust, safety, respect, politeness. Is there one word that covers all of those concepts? Having seen and photographed the beach, voted the most spectacular in the UK, we returned along the road and called in at the Church of St Martin.


High Town Bay on St. Martin's.

We arrived at New Quay at 4.20. 4.50 Boat arrived and we returned to Hugh Town.
7.50 Off to Kavorna for a meal.

Sunday, 29 August 2010
8.00 Walked to Boscowan’s Fort again and photographed the plaque. Even during the early morning walk things seemed quieter, including the weather. We were hot on our way back.
9.00ish Breakfast. We had decided to spend the day locally but I checked the TIC to see what was on. Church, various Island visits, walks with RSPB and the Wildlife Trust and the celebration of 180 years of gigs on Porth Mellon Beach. After breakfast B and I went to Porth Mellon Beach and read about the gigs. We were there just after 11 and the party wasn’t due to start until 12. B booked us in to The Boathouse for dinner at 8.00. We then walked on to Juliet’s Pantry where we had coffee (11.30) and sat and enjoyed the view. After that we had a slow stroll back to the apartment where we met C. They had walked around the town and then in the opposite direction. Then off to the garrison to sit and read in the sun and then from there we went back to Porth Mellon Beach where the Gig boat celebrations were. The music was not to our taste and we didn’t want anything to eat from the barbeque. So we set off in the direction of Porth Cassa but I chose to walk past the church and the hospital and then round Old Town. From there we really enjoyed walking the coast path. We were back doing something we love. Chatted to a local lady on Porth Cassa Beach – she was clutching a wild flower book, looked very fit and outdoorsy so I imagined that she led the wildlife walks available on the islands.
8.00 A good meal at The Boathouse and we were there in time to catch the sunset.

Monday, 30 August 2010
8.000 Walk on to The Garrison.
9.20 Breakfast at the Kavorna café. C&H to The Garrison for a walk, B to the sports shop, I sat on the quayside and watched the people and the boats.
10.25 The taxi arrived and we left to collect other people, by 10.40 we were checked in. Had a coffee outside in the brilliant sunshine to watch the planes. One family arrived in a taxi with rucksacks and camping gear and promptly loaded it in to their own private aircraft. Don’t judge books by covers!  Some people love camping.

11.20 The flight left a little early and was brilliant – quite settled to this kind of helicopter travel now – lots of opportunity to photograph the islands.
Dropped luggage off at The Queens Hotel. Then we all walked the 3 miles to St Michael’s Mount. It was packed with Bank Holidaymakers.


The view from St. Michael’s Mount.

The walk back was much more enjoyable. There were fewer people, the sun was low in the sky and created wonderful colours across the water. There was a group of riders on horseback who rode into the water until the horses were up to their necks.

7.30 Out to look at restaurants. From the large selection we chose an Indian to have something completely different. Enjoyed the meal and it seemed wholesome enough.
It had been a brilliant holiday and I understand the expression that few people visit The Isles of Scilly twice: you either go once or lots of times and I know I would like to go again, particularly to St. Martin’s.