Adventure in the Scilly Isles
It all started with an article in the travel section of the Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten. The paper had discovered the beautiful Isles of Scilly southwest of Cornwall and ran a great feature. We then decided that the Scilly Isles would be the perfect choice for an extended weekend. The Scillonian – that traffics Penzance – St Mary’s – brought us and lots of bird watchers over to the Isles. The weather was beautiful, the scenery stunning with lots of rare birds and the waters were tranquil and clear. In addition people on the islands were enormously friendly. We stayed in Bryher and enjoyed great food as well as lovely walks across the island.
One day we took a trip over to the adjacent island Tresco to enjoy the white beaches and visit old monuments, but above all to see the Abbey Garden. The botanical garden had an extraordinary collection of plants from across the world. Altogether there are more than 4,000 different specimens in the garden. There was also the unique Valhalla Museum with a collection that contains some 30 figureheads from ancient shipwrecks that serve as a reminder of the seafaring past. Seeing the cliffs it is not difficult to imagine the dramatic circumstances under which many ships and lives have been lost on the rocky coasts of the Scilly Isles.
There are so many interesting historical facts about the Scilly Isles. The Vikings were here and the isles are mentioned by the Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson (Snorre Sturlasson 1179-1241). In more recent times it is worth noting how fond Prime Minister Harold Wilson was of the Scilly Isles. Harold Wilson is buried on the island of St Mary’s. We were told by locals that Wilson once had a cabinet meeting on the white beaches of the island of Samson and that ministers turned up in their suits. I am not sure whether it is true, but at least Wilson does seem to have held press conferences on the shores of Samson.
After three days of glorious summer weather going back to the mainland turned out to be a bit more complicated than expected. The plane that we were supposed to take to Land’s End got cancelled because of fog and there was no ferry that day. In the end a group of us decided to rent a vessel that could take us to Penzance. Fortunately the weather was beautiful during the two hour crossing on the Atlantic and part of the way we were surrounded by dolphins. It was a lovely break and maybe one day there will be an opportunity to go back.