Camping on St Martin’s

This Isles of Scilly sketchbook was made whilst we are camping on the beautiful island of St Martin’s. St Martins, our favourite campsite on the Isles of Scilly.
Last week on the mainland the weather has been very poor, so we are hoping for better weather this week. So far we have been lucky! The crossing on the Scillonian was very calm and we saw a pod of Dolphins, Shearwaters, Gannets & Kittiwakes.
Arriving at St Mary’s, I rushed to the Co-op in Hugh Town to grab us some lunch, before the inter-island ferry left for St Martins.
We now have the tent up, dinner cooking away, looking at the view across ‘Crow Sound’ with the tide in. Early to bed tonight though, as we are all tired.

Featured sketch above:

‘Jack’s Ledge’ and the Eastern Isles

Watercolour ~ A4
It’s early in the morning and I’m on the campsite beach for some sketching. The sea over ‘Jack’s Ledge’ and on towards the Eastern Isles is like a mirror. The sun is out and life feels good, sitting quietly here with my paint set.

Little Bay

Watercolour ~ A4
Sketch of ‘Little Bay’ on St Martins, with the striped DayMark in the distance.

Tuesday 19th

Another sunny Scillies day, already hot and the day is just beginning. Nipped up to the island stores to get dinner (sweet & sour chicken tonight), then we set forth to explore the Island. There seems to be more traffic going up and down than there used to be. Even a few cars – came as a bit of a shock that!
We had our lunch and spent quite a while at ‘Little Bay’. Swimming, sketching, building dams and we also found two crabs, one quite large shore crab.
We then walked up and over to ‘Higher Town’. The ‘little fella’ was very disappointed to find that the Toy Shop we had been telling him about had closed down – ARG! As he had been saving up his pocket money to spend in it.

P & J had another swim from the campsite beach and we rounded off the day with a visit to the ‘Seven Stones‘.

View from the Pub

Pen ~ A5
The best pub view in England? I think so. Sat outside the ‘Seven Stones’ pub with a pint and sweeping views across Crow Sound, out towards Annet and the Western Rocks – what could be better?

Tean Sound and Tresco

Watercolour ~ A4

Wednesday 20th

We took a picnic down to the Lower Town beach & quay to wait for the wildlife watching boat trip around ‘Round Island’ and onto the ‘Eastern Isles’. On the boat trip, we saw a Peregrine Falcon (who lives on Round Island), Razorbills, Guillemots, Puffins, Gannets and two large groups of Grey Seals. Who just lazed on the rocks, looking at us looking at them. One large bull, who was laying upside down with all the blood rushing to his head, just yawned and flapped his flipper.
That night some rain has come in, so we are cooking under the awning/porch.

A grey overcast day

Thursday 21st

It was dry to start with, but by the time P and I had returned from buying supplies, it was raining. There is not so much to do on the island when it is raining…
We had a long cup of tea in the tent to see if it would stop. However, after a while, we donned our waterproofs. P and I set off to bag ‘White Island’. Which is connected to St Martins by a tidal causeway at low tide. While J & the ‘little fella’ went to spin out a coffee in the hotel cafe.
The rain eased for most of the walk, but it was pretty windy on White Island.
After we had re-grouped the rain had set in again, so another cup of tea was called for! For a laugh, I went for a swim in the sea to entertain everyone else. I had swum quite a way off the beach, so thought I would see how deep it was and stood up! The St Martins flats are not very deep. Whilst cooking dinner the sun came out again, so after we were able to go and play in the ‘fishing net den’ and run along the shore dodging the waves.

Lawence Bay

Friday 22nd

A windy day today, but warm with the sun out. I got up a bit earlier again to do more sketching. This seems to be the best time for me to have some quiet time to sit and sketch, at the moment. I walked a little further along the campsite beach. Stopping and looking across ‘Lawence Bay and Cruther’s Point’. Trying to shelter from the wind behind a large rock.
Watercolour and pen ~ A4

St Martins Bay

Watercolour & pen ~ A4
This pen & wash sketch is of J & the ‘little fella’ shrimping off the quay at St Martin’s Bay. A truly beautiful spot.

We walked around the coast in the sunshine to the beach at Higher Town Bay. Here we stopped for a picnic, dam building, shrimping from the New Quay and meeting new friends to play with. Later on, whilst the ‘little fella’ played on the beach, P & I went for a stroll up to the Day Mark and round the headland. Which I always enjoy, it reminds me of West Penwith but on a smaller scale.

Heading Home

Saturday 23rd
Grey but dry this morning, so we were up early to start to pack up the tent. (Went pretty well, with Uncle P keeping the ‘little fella entertained whilst we cracked on. Big thanks to Uncle P!) Finished in time to help another family who were struggling, with children crying, as they tried to pack up their tent, in time for the boat.
The crossing back on the Scillonion, was smooth with spits of rain. However, as we came past Mousehole, we could just make out Penzance in the grey, wet murk. It was absolutely​ throwing it down as we docked. The scramble for luggage on the quay, in the rain, was not helped by ‘Galowen Festival’ in the town with roads closed etc. Welcome back to the rainy mainland, weather here has not been so good, we were told.

Another great week again on the Isles of Scilly. It was fantastic to be back on St Martins, such a fantastic place!

Materials Used

All of these sketches were drawn or painted in a Daler-Rowney Red & Yellow Cartridge Pad. Often sketched out quickly first with a 6B pencil, before adding watercolour or pen. I use a Winsor & Newton travelling watercolour set, with two Round brushes, size 1 & 6. The pen I used is a Waterproof Fineliner.

© Copyright Nick Watton.
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