The Isles of Scilly occupy an important strategic position near the entrance to the English Channel. From Tudor times in the 16th century the islands became an important harbour and base for naval seaborne operations. The harbour at Hugh Town emerged as the most important anchorage in the islands. To prevent it falling into enemy hands, fortifications were begun in 1551. The garrison was begun in 1593, extended during the English civil wars (1642-51) and rebuilt in the 1740s. It remained as a defended place until the end of the Second World War in 1945.
The Garrison overlooks the St Mary's harbour.
The seas around the Isles of Scilly are among the UK's busiest and most perilous stretches of water. There have been numerous shipwrecks from Bronze age cargoes to 20th century submarines. The western rocks are particularly treacherous. 1400 lives from Sir Clowdesley Shovell's fleet were lost in one night in 1707. In total there are over 772 recorded losses and 77 known wreck sites within 5km of St Mary's alone, many of which are of archeological, historical or artistic importance.
It was raining heavily now and I put on my waterproof trousers but it wasn't pleasant walking conditions.
Continuing my walk around the Garrison I came to the Morning Point Battery. Guns on Morning Point guarded the approach to Porthcressa Beach from St Mary's Sound from at least 1655. The battery that we can see today is from the 1740s built into an outcrop using stone from shallow quarries nearby. Later it had five nine pounder guns.
I had now walked around the remains of the garrison and was ready to return to Hugh Town to have a hot drink and something to eat.
Our World Tuesday