Scintillating Scillies

Scintillating Scillies

The Isles of Scilly – 13th – 18th June 2011

I’ve been to many parts of the world, including the Pacific, Far East,
Australasia, South Africa and Europe. Nowhere have I seen islands as
remote, as interesting or as beautiful as the Scillies. It makes me want
to urge everyone to go there.

The archipelago is accessed by a well-organized fleet of small boats.
There is the history, wonderful walks and wild-life reserves, quite
remarkable vegetation, and birdlife. The mild climate allowed the
Victorian collectors to establish plants from all round the world. Every
hedgerow is a delight. On the other hand the Atlantic weather means the
sea is cold and even in June we needed wind protection. This, the
remoteness of the islands, limited (but good) accommodation, keep
visitor numbers down and make a visit to the islands a very special
experience.

I found the history particularly interesting: archaeology from remote
times, Tudor defences against the Dutch and Spanish, through civil war
battlements, to pill boxes from WW2.

In addition to the wonderful gardens on Tresco there are amazing empty,
azure beaches, and history. I remember, in particular, the remains of a
Blockhouse built in 1548-50, to protect Tresco’s main port of Old
Grimsby from sea-born invaders.  It was also used as a base to attack
passing ships. War was declared with the Dutch, and in 1986 it was
realized that no peace treaty had ever been signed. Local councillors
met with the Dutch ambassador and signed a peace treaty, but later, it
was said that the councillors didn’t have authority to sign such a
thing. So the Scillies may be still at war with the Dutch!

Historical remains are well preserved and documented. For example,
during the civil war (1642-51) the Scillies were royalist.  Robert
Blake, a parliamentary admiral, was sent in 1651 to take the Scillies. A
first landing at Old Grimsby on Tresco failed, but a second was
successful (15 men killed). That was the last battle in the civil war.

The Rambler’s Worldwide holiday came with a good hotel and an excellent guide: we walked not only on the main island, St Mary’s, but also on St. Martins and Tresco.
I’m so glad I went!