As everybody knows full well, I am utterly, 100% in-love with my home county of Cornwall. So much so, that it’s possibly a little unhealthy, weird and yes – I am one of those odd proud Celtic types that signs my nationality as Cornish on important documents and rejoiced when we were given our own minority status. Yep. I know – I’m lame. Now, you will be shocked that I don’t know all of the words to ‘Trelawny’, I have Devonshire friends and I adore cultural diversity (Not all the stereotypes of Cornish people are true!) but what is even more shocking, is that in the twenty four years that I have enjoyed living in this tiny county at the very bottom of the British isle, I have never once hopped over to the weeny archipelago that’s just off our coast!
My entire life, I’ve had a fascination with Islands. George quite rightly pointed out the other day that if you looked at it from another angle I have a fascination with ‘hard to get to places’. This is true – I always make it my mission to get onto the most out of reach sandbar, the mermaid rock furthest away from the shore and the most private cove that you should probably take out a life insurance plan before descending the cliff to reach.
When I was younger, it was really cheap to visit Scilly (the archipelago off the coast of Cornwall). You could pop over on the boat for the day for £15 return. Dad always offered that we go for the day but for some crazy reason, little me was all “Nah, lets go to Flambards instead”. I could have kicked six year old Sarah right in the pants. As time went by, it got more expensive So the last few years, as I’ve began to really take it upon myself to spend as much of my time as possible appreciating the amazing things around me I’ve been desperate to visit Scilly and after many failed attempts to arrange a camping trip with friends there, imagine how delighted I was when Dad offered that we spend the day together and take the island hopper plane over to Scilly for my birthday treat!
We took the island hopper from Lands End airport. It’s the smallest plane I’ve ever been in and probably my favourite. I felt like I was going to explode with happy feels as we took off and I saw stormy Cornwall vanish behind me and the world below was replaced with a churning sea, patterned with bucking white horses and sea birds.
The journey only took fifteen minutes! The mist began to clear and the islands appeared before us and I felt so excited it made me giddy. Finally I was going to tread foot on these little islands so close to home.
We landed on St.Mary’s which is the main and biggest island. It has a few shops, a small main-street, a surgery and school but we headed straight to the harbour to purchase a ticket. Scilly runs on a Boatmen’s association where the boatmen work together rather than compete. There is a blackboard with all the times that you can get a water taxi to the other islands and even a puffin spotting trip! (Which I wish we had time for)
These beautiful painted Seashells on the harbour wall on Tresco island! Aren’t they glorious?
I found a house called Sea Flower! How lovely 🙂 anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that my user name is @Saltyseaflower ^.^ I had to take a picture!
One thing that was remarkable about Tresco is the flora. The island had a really tropical feel because it was absolutely covered in vibrant flowers that I had never seen before, let alone in Cornwall. Hard to believe this little place was only 15 miles away from Landsend!
I just can’t describe to you how beautiful Tresco was. Not even these pictures do it justice. There is something truly magical about the atmosphere on these islands. On one hand, the quaint fisherman’s cottages and seaside feel was extremely similar to what we have in mainland Cornwall but the ocean here was clearer, the roads smaller than some of our country back lanes and there were exotic flowers coming out of every nook and cranny. The seagulls here actually fished for their food and seemed much less aggressive than the ones we’re used to!
How great would it be to snorkel here? those waters are so clear and pretty!
The day started off cold, misty and windy but by the afternoon it cleared up and the sun shone!
There were more bumblebee’s here than I had ever seen before! it must have been because of all these flowers
These look like weeny bananas! How cute would it be to see a group of miniature monkeys swinging around the plants?
We found a beautiful grotto made of seashells of incredible colours. I couldn’t get enough of how creative this little construction was… all those beautiful seashells and mosaic. Even the floor was something special.
The Abbey gardens were fairly pricey, as is food on the islands. I would recommend bringing a picnic, but then again the islands absolutely rely on the tourism industry with many locals working several jobs to support the high cost of living on their home islands. We didn’t eat at any restaurants – we had pasties for lunch from a local butcher shop on St. Mary’s that was delicious. The only ‘chain’ grocery shop that we came across was a co-op on St. Mary’s
At 2pm the last boat left Tresco from the other side of the island. After exploring the island and having a paddle in the turquoise waters it was time to meet the boat back to the main island. Time had gone all too quickly and with the air finally warmer, I didn’t want to leave.
Back on St.Mary’s, we grabbed a bite to eat and walked over to Porthcressa beach where it’s a little quieter. It was still much busier than tranquil Tresco but there were a few pubs and shops to have a nosey around if you like shopping for gifts or fancied a pint. There were many holiday cottages with little model boats in the windows like I have back at home and I felt immersed the quiet, seaside life that I love so much,
On the boat on the way home, a local islander explained to me that a freight boat battles its way across the rough sea every week with supplies for the islanders. It’s a rough job for weathered and tough folk who can handle wild seas. It was truly wonderful chatting to an islander and comparing mainland way of life to island way of life. Even though I’ve always considered Scilly a part of Cornwall, it’s incredible to learn how our ways of life differ so much. A day just wasn’t enough time and I wanted to explore the other islands, but irregardless Dad and I had a brilliant time and the experience I took away was so valuable. I will definitely be coming back for camping and exploring the other islands including the deserted ones like Samson and maybe… just maybe if I’m really lucky… I’ll get to go on a puffin safari.
We journeyed home by boat which after the fifteen minute flight felt like a lot longer. Some of the local island kids were heading to the mainland for a school camping weekend and were really excited. We got chatting and they told me about their farms and life on the islands. They even spotted some dolphins but I was too slow and missed them. As we approached Cornwall, we spotted beaches and caves that I recognised like Mousehole (Pr Mowzel), Lamorna and even the Minnack theatre! How bizarre it was to see villages and coast I’ve known my entire life from the sea. It gave me an entirely new perspective on the land and coast.
I would highly recommend Scilly for a day trip for anyone visiting Cornwall on holiday. It’s an incredible experience, even for a local like me it was something really special. I will definitely be making it my business to spend much more time on this archipelago, particularly when I finish my degree! I will be back for camping and puffins… and who knows, perhaps I’ll get really lucky and be able to photograph a wedding on these islands! A girl can dream
ps. Well done for getting through ALL of those photographs! 😀