Previously on Politically Incorrect Travel Man…
Pissed off at happy people. Ferry should have been built in the stone age. Didn’t get sick on said ferry. Got lost. Asked for directions. Didn’t get raped by van driver or gear stick. I think that brings everyone up to speed and now for the exciting second part of “I did a thing on some islands.”
The guesthouse was the poshest place I had ever stayed at, I mean I felt under-dressed just looking at the building. The owner was very nice but very kookie German lady and I didn’t once make a Fawlty Towers reference or joke in front of her. Nope. No. No siree. In my head though I was John Cleese complete with head bandage and silly walk. After the pleasantries and checking in, she took my suitcase off me (did I mention in my previous blog that it was one of those big fuck-off ones!) and off we went. She mentioned along the way that I was only in the standard room and my toilet and bathroom was separate across the hall. I hadn’t paid too much for the room so I was expecting a box room with a put-you-up bed and a toilet where I had to stand at the right angle so I didn’t piss in my eye. What I got was double bed, sofa and armchair set, oak furniture and a view of the water feature out front plus a bathroom and toilet in a room almost as big as the main room. No TV in the room unfortunately and piss-poor mobile reception in the building but strong enough free WiFi to stream Netflix and an obscene amount of pornography.
Best. Room. Ever.
After getting changed I headed out to explore some of the ruins and scenery that the 6ish sq km island had to offer. The owner gave me a map of the island which, after the two days, was well used. It pointed out all the places of interest, places to eat and drink and most importantly for the first day, the burial chambers. Luckily for me it was virtually a straight run past the radio and television mast (which provides the basic Digital TV to the islands) to Bant’s Carn Burial Chamber and the ancient village at Halangy Down. Even I couldn’t get lost.
Bant’s Carn comprises of an 8m diameter tomb and a 5m by 1.5m chamber made by rocks, covered in soil and grass to blend in with the downs. You couldn’t really go in as the entrance was really narrow, only Verne Troyer and anyone who has played an Ewok in Star Wars could just about squeeze in. Not to say there was anything to look at, it was sealed at one end and the walls were plain rocks. What made it cool was the fact that it was Neolithic in age, so at 4000-years-old it was well old! English Heritage, who looks after the majority of the historical stuff on the islands, erected (no sniggering) information boards at all the sites. I was surprised to learn that the village was inhabited until pretty much the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, and, other than some pottery which had to be from what is now southern France, the islanders had no knowledge or concern on what was going on in the mainland.
There are 11 inter-connected houses on the site, one of which was larger than all the rest at a modest 27m by 14.5m – must have been someone well important. You can make out where doorways and walls stood and make out rough layouts but don’t expect to see a full four roomed house with hot and cold running gruel. There were however lots of things to attempt to make arty photos and I think I succeeded. No matter where you stood you could take a decent shot of the village, chamber or some of the other islands that lie to the north. I wasn’t alone though as at least a dozen others had the same idea, luckily as the whole site was pretty big nobody really got in anybody’s way.
I had now exhausted the area so I moved along the north coast and followed the coastal path to the next burial chambers at Innisidgen. The path itself went from gravel, to grass, back to gravel, to a road and back to grass. You would need some good walking shoes to do most walks here, flip-flops will be ruined. The burial chambers were a lot like Bant’s Carn, similar size and structure, I would even go as far as say they were identical but I’m sure some anorak would correct me. Again you couldn’t go inside but as these were a lot more secluded, a bit of woodland shrouds the area, you could spend more time examining the outside and take more in-depth photos.
After spending a bit of time there I followed the path to the main road, which I use very loosely (it’s as wide as a residential road and has less road markings), and took myself to the main town at Hugh Town. I needed to get some much-needed supplies of Dr. Pepper, crisps and maybe some chocolate to treat myself so a visit to the supermarket was in order. THE supermarket. As in the ONLY supermarket on the whole of the Isles of Scilly. To say the Co-op has the monopoly is an understatement. It was unsurprisingly very busy with the locals and other holidaymakers, queues snaking around the aisles. The islands get one supply ferry in the evening and a few bits-and-pieces by plane, which not only makes things dearer it also means most of the time the Sunday papers aren’t available until the Monday. I can say with confidence though for all the shopping quaintness and idioms, at the time of visiting it was the cheapest place in Britain for Dr. Pepper! I was as happy as a pig in shit!
Before heading back to the guesthouse, I finished things off by sitting on a bench at Porthcressa Beach watching the World go by. My shoulders sunk back, breathed a satisfied breath and drink in hand, I looked out towards the south seeing nothing beyond the horizon. One thing kept going through my mind throughout…
“I could get used to this”
Part Three coming up!