Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Little Islander

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!

I spent time humming and harring about whether to split this post into two or three as it is going to be extremely photo heavy. The thing is, I run this blog to categorise my explores in their entirety for myself and my family and it seemed strange to divide the day up into parts. This is a photo documentary. 

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)

We took the boat to Tresco as we fancied a bit of island hopping. We only had the day to spend there and because of tides the last boat back to the main island tends to always be quite early. It was such a great decision, as St Mary's tends to be on the busier side but Dad and I prefer the quiet, slower paced smaller island vibes. Plus, on the half hour sea taxi over to Tresco, we got to pass the other islands and really feel immersed by the island atmosphere. 

These beautiful painted Seashells on the harbour wall on Tresco island! Aren't they glorious?

sea glass 

On the islands, I'd imagine it would be much more useful to have a boat than a car!

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!

The island was full of these sneaky little paths that led off to an empty, white sandy beach. It was absolute paradise. So many peaceful, hidden sands scattered around everywhere. I could have spent the entire day frolicking in the crystal clear waters but we had to make our way on foot across the island to the Abbey gardens before the last boat departed from the slipway at the other end of Tresco. 

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!

What was truly remarkable, was how isolated I felt. The mainland really isn't far away (2 and a half hours by ferry, 15 minutes by wee plane) but I felt like I was far away in the middle of the ocean. Things like the internet and pop culture seemed so unimportant and unnecessary, nobody was in a hurry.  The accent here is slightly different to ours, similar but definitely with its own twang but I was so happy to be here in a place that combined three things I love: islands, the sea & the quaint charm of Cornwall. 

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

Rush hour on the isles of Scilly 

The other end of Tresco

We made our way to the Abbey gardens. Dad really wanted to see them and we wondered around and I stopped to snap some of the weirdest and most wonderful varieties of plants. 

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,

 Obviously a great name for a pub

A nifty deli/cafe at Scilly 

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.

 St.Mary's the main island 

Gulls soaring alongside our boat 

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! :D



  1. Gorgeous photos and such a wonderful story! It sounds like you had an amazing adventure <3

    hellomissjordan.com xx

  2. What a beautiful post! I'm bowled over with how you managed to capture how pretty and serene everything was.

    Tilly | www.tillykay.com

  3. Stunning photos! Scilly looks incredibly beautiful. Magical, even. I really want to visit Cornwall, and I think if I'm ever there for longer than a few days, I'll definitely take the chance and visit Scilly.

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

  4. Absolutely gorgeous photos, I am so glad you loved Scilly. I have spent a lot of time there over the years as I have family who are islanders.It's really an idyllic place and I love anytime I get to spend there. I actually stayed for a few months and worked when I left school and before college it's definitely a different place when you are there full time. Like life is a completely different pace.
    I love how well you captured the beauty of island life.
    If you head back for camping you should go to Bryher it's the island my aunt and uncle live on and where my cousin's grew up although they are both now on St Mary's with their respective families!

    1. You're dreadfully lucky! :D Our next door neighbour's family are from Scilly and he recommends Bryher too! :D I've got a few friends from Truro college who were boarders from the islands but I always took for granted how really different it is over there ^.^
      I'm glad you like the photographs! :D I am mightily grateful to the islanders for their hospitality and sharing it with the tourists ^.^ As a Cornwall dweller, I understand full well the double edged sword of tourism :P

      I wish I could find work there for a while! :D I am envious I must say ^.^


  5. I'm so excited by these photos and your commentary!!! I have always wanted to go there and now I really want to! Beautiful!!!x

  6. This looks like the best day out and your photos are beautiful!! If I ever get the chance I would definitely visit this island <3 Gisforgingers xx

  7. I totally understand why you're so proud of Cornwall! I've travelled to Cornwall a few years ago and while I have visited many other beautiful places since that trip is still my absolute favorite! There's just something about Cornwall that really touched my soul and I am so glad that I found your blog and get to take part in your Cornish adventures! :) And I would love to visit the Isles of Scilly one day - and I definitely know I will be visiting Cornwall again! :)

  8. I think my comment got eaten - so sorry if this comes through twice!

    I have been dying to visit the Scilly isles for years and your post has made me that much more determined! I have some holiday coming up next week and am now frantically researching. All I have to do now is persuade Connor...I'll just show him your lovely post! :P

    1. Ahhhh it's amazing! You must do it! But if you can - pop over to one of the tiny islands! If Conor won't come... I'll always be up for a trip! :D I hope the photos persuade him though :P It's so wonderful over there! It's like Cornwall but all islandy and warmer! :D Thankyou for all your wonderful comments - I am finding them all over the place :p It's like a treasure hunt ^.^ I also get to relive past adventures :D xxx

    2. We decided to compromise and save up with the intention of doing it as a romantic mini-break next year when Robin is a little less dependant on me during nights. :D

      But if you fancy a mini photography adventure with me, we can totally do that! I have all of next week booked off and aside from one or two days I am essentially free for the whole week. Let me know~

      Yes...I am slowly but surely making my way through your lovely blog. I can't get over how gorgeous your photos are! You know, I have a secret - my camera confuses me. It is only recently that I have really endeavoured to learn how to use it properly. I used to shoot on auto! ON AUTO. Now that I have started playing with manual settings I can't figure out how I ever managed on auto!

      Erm, sorry for the ramble.

    3. Oh, you know, I'm thinking of taking a bus to Trelissick this Saturday. Connor is working and Robin will be with his childminder so I could certainly use some good company if it tickles your fancy and you're free. :)

    4. Yes! that sounds amazing! I LOVE TRELISSICK! :D and have a car so I'm happy to drive us ^_^ Even better... I've got a couple of National Trust passes (perks of my previous job) to get us in for free! :D woo! I'll check my diary and figure out what day's I'm free ^.^

  9. My friend Alex and I have been planning an eerie foggy shoot at the Merry Maidens standing stones nr Landsend for a folktale photography shoot based on the legends of the stone maidens if you're up for it ^_^ I'm more than happy to drive :) if we've got a good, stormy/foggy afternoon next week that could be a fun photography adventure! :D

    1. YES YES AND YES. To both comments! I could take some 'behind the scenes' shots for you. I'll FB message you my phone number and free days when I get home from my night shift (yes, I'm naughty. But it's so dead!).

  10. Oh my goodness this looks like the best day trip ever! I need to visit these Islands. I am currently wracking my brains like when can I fit in a trip to cornwall haha its so pretty seriously so beautiful and your photo's as always are amazing!


  11. yay this sounds like dream-trip! <3 i would die for one day like this <3 the photos are so amazing ! i can barely feel the atmosphere <3


  12. Would you believe I've lived in or near Penzance all my life and have never been there? It's practically across the road! I must put it on my bucket list (not very adventurous, ey?!)


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