Back on the Isles of Scilly

We stepped off the Scillonian back onto St Mary’s and the beautiful Isles of Scilly. It’s just such a special place, you seem to immediately slip back into a relaxed Scillies way of life. It was lovely and sunny, but there was a nippy breeze blowing. We got quite cold waiting for ‘Voyager of St Martins’ to take us across the Sound to St Martin’s. (Extra clothes were packed in our rucksacks – which were in Scillonian’s hold!)

Featured sketch above:

St Agnes Downs

Pen sketch showing the strangely shaped stone on St Agnes Downs with the islands prominent disused lighthouse in the background. A4 in length.

St Martins

Watercolour sketch of Round Island
Watercolour sketch of Round Island with its lighthouse from Plumb Island, a tidal island attached to St Martins.
However once we had arrived at St Martin’s Campsite, which is sheltered from many winds, we quickly erected our new commodious tent and settled in.

Off in search of supplies, we found the bakery to be excellent! Then we strolled on for a little explore north of Higher Town before returning back along the beach.
Back to the tent to cook tea (soup/stew thing), afterwards, we went down to the beach to watch the sunset. The beach is just the other side of the hedge of the campsite. We rounded things off with a pint in the ‘Seven Stones‘ pub, just along the road.

Watercolour sketch of Crow Sound from St Martin's.
Watercolour sketch looking across Crow Sound and Broad Ledge to St Mary’s beyond. A4

Another lovely sunny day and we packed a rucksack to explore St Martins properly. We did a circumnavigation of the island. We had our lunch on the lovely beach of ‘Little Bay’, before continuing on. Everywhere seems to have a perfect view – great for sketching! Rounding off the day with our meal in the Seven Stones (Chicken Supreme & Fishcakes).

Watercolour sketch along the beach at Neck of the Pool on St Martins.
I was up early for a little sketching, this one showing a couple out walking along the beach at ‘Neck of the Pool’, just below the campsite. A4

Archaeological remains

Today we are heading into the hinterland of St Martins, looking for archaeological remains. A hut circle on Top Rock Hill, a chambered cairn and kelp pit on the tidal White Island. We also had our packed lunch on White Island and not knowing the tide times, we had to keep on eye on what the sea was doing!

Pencil head of a Prehistoric Statue Head on St Martins.
Pencil sketch is of the broken head of a Prehistoric statue ~ A5.

Later, on Chapel Downs, after much hunting, we found the head of a pagan statue. Which was smaller than I expected, making it much harder to track down.

Returned to the tent for dinner (Tuna surprise), before sitting on the beach in the evening sun.

St Agnes

Pencil sketch of the St Agnes lighthouse again.
We caught the boat over to St Agnes – which was a ‘new’ island for us and more remote and exposed in the island group. However, as usual on Scilly it is an absolutely lovely place.
As we strolled along, we scrutinized the campsite. (Rather exposed to the westerly winds – only small tents pitched on it.) Poked our noses into St Warna’s Well – looking for bent pins, which have been found there in the past.
Lunch on the beach, which was a bit too hot and had us covering up bits of skin that were burning!
The island’s lighthouse has been converted into accommodation and no longer has a light. St Agnes lighthouse was the second lighthouse station to be built by Trinity House in 1680. It stands 74′ above the ground and 138′ above sea level. The light was originally a coal brazier and then Argand Lamps (see my Les Casquets Stamps for illustrations of these.)
With the building of the Bishop Rock Lighthouse in 1858 and Peninnis Lighthouse on St Mary’s in 1911, the St Agnes lighthouse was decommissioned. However, the Old Lighthouse is still maintained as a Daymark for shipping.
After walking across the Downs we crossed over the sand bar to the island of Gugh (pronounced Goo). Which is joined to St Agnes by a sand bar. Here’s a pencil sketch of ‘The Old Man of Gugh’ a prehistoric standing stone on Gugh.


And so, it was back to St Martins and to start packing up the tent, ready for our return journey. The Isles of Scilly are simply such a special place – we shall be back…
Check out my other sketching trips to the beautiful Isles of Scilly:

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