Previously on 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. Met kookie guesthouse owner. Visited a burial chamber and ancient village. Visited another burial chamber, could have been the same one but wasn’t. Bought cheapest Dr. Pepper ever. Looked out into the sea. I think that was the tl;dr version and now for the final part of “I did a thing on some islands.”
After having possibly the greatest night’s sleep in ages, the first thing that went through my head was if I got this much sleep in the standard room, what would the luxury room sleep be like? Softly rocked to sleep by angels I would hope! I had completely missed breakfast but considering I would have had to pay nearly a tenner extra, it was a sacrifice I was willing to take.
With my map at the ready I was off. Instead of going north like the previous day I decided to Pet Shop Boys it and go west, following the coastal path around the southern and eastern parts of St. Mary’s. The first place I came to was Pelistry Bay with its almost white sand. Even though it was the height of the summer the beach was almost deserted apart from a family climbing over the rocks to Tolls Island and a lone tent which may or may not have been occupied, I wasn’t going to go up to it and find out. Not really up for possibly becoming the first murder victim on the Isles of Scilly since the 1970s! One cool thing I noticed before I left was I could just about see the coast of Cornwall on the horizon, it really brought home how isolated these islands were, nothing but air and sea separating the two bits of land.
With no sign posts pointing me in the right direction, I continued around following the meander lines and making sure the sea was on my left. The sandy beaches turned into stony beaches and finally no beaches, just drops into the sea. Not Beachy Head type cliffs but enough height that scares the shit out of me. I hate heights. Couple this with my lack of swimming skills means I don’t spend a lot of time by cliff edges. Luckily for me the path moved away before the height of the drop grew.
A stones-throw away (pun well-and-truly fucking intended) was yet another burial chamber, this time at Porth Hellick. Like the others at Bant’s Carn and Innisidgen, the chambers had narrow entrances and the rocks were grass-covered to blend into the surroundings. Unlike the other two it was much larger in size and part of a much larger cemetery although there are no remnants of the cemetery. When it was excavated just over a hundred years ago, no burials were found so it was likely that it was ransacked many years before. A question goes through my mind when reading about excavations and archaeology, when does it stop being grave robbing and start becoming archaeology?
Porth Hellick itself was stunning. A horseshoe-shaped bay with a single entrance between two rock formations was home to a handful of boats and dinghies. The tide was out at the time so I could have walked near enough to the entrance but as it was starting to piss down I thought against it… Yeah that was the reason, nothing to do with the fact I can’t swim if I ran into any difficulties of course! I managed a few more photos before the rain really started coming down but that was it, I had to head on non-stop to Hugh Town.
One of the weirdest parts of the pathway was when I came to the airport just outside Old Town. It has to be the only footpath in Britain that has traffic lights and warning siren as you have cross the end of the runway. You would like to think you would see or hear if a plane was taking off or landing but safety first eh?
I risked life and limb getting round to Hugh Town, crossing rocks and hopping over bits of land, before ending up at Old Town (you know, where I got lost on the first day). I knew exactly where I was now, coastal paths had turned into residential roads and it was just one road into town. When I got there I treated myself to lunch. Not a Co-op sandwich but good old-fashioned fish and chip in at one of the pubs there. It was a really nice bit of fish, I could tell it was cooked fresh and not bunged in the microwave to order. A bit pricey maybe (about £16 for fish, chips and a pint of Coke) but you get what you pay for!
The last place I looked at before heading back to the guest house was an unfinished fort called Harry’s Walls, named after Henry VIII. They began building it in 1551 to defend England from a potential attack from France or Spain which ultimately at the time never materialised. From the top you have panoramic views of the Hugh Town, its harbour and some of the other islands. There are a few bits of the fort still around including walls and foundations but as it was never finished, it was hard to tell bits had been removed, broken away or simply not there in the first place. There was still enough to spend a good half hour there though.
And that pretty much concluded my adventure on the Isles of Scilly. I spent a second and final night in that awesome room, and I can honestly say I never wanted to give it up. I would have happily chained myself to the bed, in a non-perverted way, and claimed squatters rights so I could stay here forever. Alas it didn’t happen and after checking out I made my way to the ferry following the road I should have taken on the first day. About a quarter of the way down, a car pulled up beside me and asked it I wanted a lift down to the town. The driver took pity on me and didn’t feel right seeing me struggling with my bag and suitcase. After accepting a lift from a stranger on the first day, I didn’t think twice this time. I think it just shows how awesome people are on the islands and not a one-off nice van driver.
A few hours later I was on the ferry and back to Penzance. Just like that my two night break was over…