Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Monday, 11 November 2019

St Mary's Isles Of Scilly

The weather was not looking good for today so I decided to stay on St Mary's island and have a look at the garrison which has an array of defensive buildings and ruins.

The entrance to the garrison
This is an aerial photo of the Garrison showing Hugh Town with the harbour on one side and Porthcressa beach on the other.

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.

This is the powder magazine

In the Second World War, only St Mary's was defended, by 500 infantry and an artillery troop with two anti-aircraft guns. A squadron of Hurricane fighter aircraft was based on the island, and fast motor launches of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force carried out rescue missions from the harbour, for pilots who had been shot down. German aircraft made several attacks especially on the radar station at Peninnis Head but no invasion was attempted.








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.

 When I visited Tresco island there were a number of ship's figureheads on display in the gardens that had been recovered from shipwrecks. Here are just a few:






















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.




As I am walking back  I have a good view of Porthcressa beach which is on the other side of Hugh Town.
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Thursday, 7 November 2019

Bryher, Isles of Scilly

This is Bryher, the smallest of the inhabited  Scilly islands. Less than 100 people live here. It is an island of contrasts. One side faces the might of the Atlantic waves whilst the other side has calm sandy beaches. It is only one and a half miles long but is zig-zagged with paths so feels bigger.






Dotted around the island are these little stalls selling a variety of fresh produce. The items are all clearly priced and you leave the money in the honesty box.


As you can imagine there are not many places to eat  on the island. This is Fraggle Rock Bar which was closed when I ambled past. I had been warned that, as it was late in the season, places would probably be closed so I had brought some food and drink with me.















I could have spent all day just watching these waves crashing onto the rocks. Perfect lunch stop.









No sign of those waves on the other side of the island.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Tresco

The Isles of Scilly off the SW coast of England is the UK's largest archipelago. There are about 140 islands, most of them just rocky outcrops providing a haven for wildlife and sea birds. Five of the islands are inhabited and as long as the weather is OK you can visit them by boat from the island I'm staying on, St Mary's. The B and B where I was staying received a daily timetable showing which islands would be accessible by boat that day with the times of outgoing and return sailings.  All things on the islands were reliant on weather and tides. As the weather was looking good I took the boat to the island of Tresco.

Tresco is a small family run island. In 1834 the Duchy of Cornwall leased the islands to Augustus Smith, a Hertfordshire squire. He successfully brought prosperity to the islands. He built his home Tresco Abbey alongside an old priory and also created a world class garden with plants from around the world. The Tresco abbey garden is internationally known for its sub tropical flora and fauna and a place I was keen to visit. Today Robert Dorrien Smith and his wife Lucy run the business as the Tresco Estate. There is a community of about 150 people permanently living on the island.




The islands are small enough to walk around in a few hours. This is my first visit to the Isles of Scilly and I couldn't believe how beautiful the beaches are with their white sands and turquoise sea.









I stopped at this beachside cafe for lunch which was absolutely delicious. Should have taken a photo but had eaten it before I thought of taking a photo!

However, this was the view from my table.


After lunch I carried on walking around the island.




I left the coast here and walked inland to the Tresco Abbey Gardens


The Abbey entrance.


This small decorative bridge takes you into the gardens. So follow me as I walk around.

Red squirrels. I only see grey ones where I live.




A shell decorated summer house.



























































There were numerous pheasants strolling through the undergrowth.






I returned to the pier in time to catch the last boat back to St Mary's. Time to say goodbye to Tresco with its fabulous beaches and beautiful garden. I wonder what the other islands have to offer.