The Isles of Scilly (IOS) are located just southwest of Land’s End in Cornwall, England. There are more than 80 small islands, with only five of them inhabited, the longest one just two miles long. The temperatures wouldn’t drop below 10 degree C in winter which explains the existence of the palm trees.
We expected just a couple of cliffs and herds of sheep there, plus an anchorage to rest after the eight day crossing from the Azores. To our great surprise, we found stunning nature with white sandy beaches, few folks, a rich variety of gastronomy, and a healthy touch of exclusivity. For the first time in our lives, we thought that this could be our place for a holiday cottage. Did I we feel Scilly or the age?
The old town buildings of Hugh Town on the island of St. Mary are made of grey, heavy granite blocks. Having no particular painting, they must have looked the same for hundreds of years. That smelled a bit like eternity. Lovely! Same for the great harbor wall: Big at every extent and solid by all means, it would withstand every blow and wave.
At the time of our visit, there were flowers all over the place and we greatly enjoyed hiking and biking. The locals were very inviting and asked where where we came from. We told our story several times. An Atlantic crossing didn’t surprise them too much. People understood what we were doing and we found ourselves amongst seafarers.
During the Church service, we experienced not only British humor, but again strong ties to the sea. Also the songs took up the dangers of being out at sea. The local’s fishing past and dozens of cargo and passenger ships wrecked on the countless rocks may explain this.
Some friends from the UK recommended to visit the other islands named St Martin, Tresco and Bryher. To get there from St. Mary, we had the options either to sail around the group of islands to arrive from the other side at any time, or to take the direct line shortcuts. The shortcuts included sailing across land, obviously at high tide when the land was flooded with three or four meters of water.
Latter one becomes daily business once one has done it a couple of times. It was however the first time for me to navigate on areas which fall dry at low tide. So I wanted to be on the safe side and checked more than three times at when to leave and which route to take, in order not to run aground on a sand bank or even rocks. Soon I liked the game with the elements and enjoyed We arrived on the Scillies on the longest day of the year. The plan was to stay for a few nights only. Once again, the few nights turned into two weeks, firstly because we loved the place, and secondly because the winds were unfavorable for sailing into the English Channel. Finally, we found a suitable wind window and travelled to Dover, nonstop in 50 hours. This is where we say ‘Good bye for now!’, before heading for the continent.
For more Scilly pictures, check the landing page on the blog. The pictures change randomly as the sailing boat logo is clicked.