Over the sea to the Islands of Scilly

J and I were dropped off at Penzance quay, ready to catch the Scillonian over to the beautiful Isles of Scilly. As we headed out, just off Newlyn/Mousehole we had a wonderful sight of basking sharks. About ten of them were swimming into Mounts Bay. It’s lovely sailing past this stretch of the Cornish coast, I never tire of it. The crossing was quiet and flat, much to J’s relief, as she can get quite seasick.
Arriving at the Isles of Scilly it started raining and stayed like that for the rest of the day. So putting up our tent at St Martin’s Campsite wasn’t much fun! Finished the day with a beer in the Seven Stones (the pub with the best view in Britain – but not so good today.) Good to be back though and here’s to better weather!

I have with me a watercolour sketch pad with a heavyweight of paper in it. My usual Winsor & Newton travelling watercolour set, 6B pencil, pens and one or two brushes.

Featured sketch above:

Great Ganilly

A4 ~ Watercolour
Sketch of the island Great Ganilly from English Island Point.

Islands loom out of the mist

Watercolour ~ A4
Crossing over to St Martin’s through the fog. I sketched a pencil outline on the boat and added the watercolour washes later that day. While it was still fresh in my mind.

Watercolour sketch of Islands and Rocks loom from the fog and rain off St Martins.

Campsite Beach

Pen & Watercolour ~ A4

A day of lightning, thunder, rain and shopping sales! With a thundery forecast, we decided to catch the boat over to St Mary’s for my annual shopping expedition. (I generally avoid shopping in towns etc. However, the pleasant shops in Hugh Town seem to put me in a better frame of mind.) There was a Foredeck sale in the Town Hall and the Islanders were out in force, to grab themselves a bargain. It turned out to be more of a ‘jumble sale’ with decent quality clobber.

Lunch was in the ‘Blue’ restaurant, with lightning and stair rods of rain lashing down outside.
In the afternoon it cleared up a bit, so managed to get some sketching done.

Neck of the Poll

Pen and watercolour wash ~ A4
This sketch is walking back along the beach (which at dusk is alive with sandhoppers). Looking towards Tresco out across the ‘Neck of the Poll’.

Watercolour sunset looking out across 'the neck of the poll' from St Martin's.
Headed over to the Sevenstones pub, ready for some dinner and a pint. We sat outside admiring the view, whilst being mugged for chips by the local sparrows!

St Martin’s

We woke early today to a dry, but overcast morning. We spent the morning walking around St Martins to re-acquaint ourselves with it. Keeping to the wider paths as it was very wet and dewy. We returned back via the Post Office (where we procured supplies) for an early lunch. Strolled down to the quay to catch a wildlife-watching boat trip. We were lucky to see all sorts of beasties. Including two pods of Dolphins, a Sunfish, lots of Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots, Terns, an Egret, and the usual Gulls, Shags and Cormorants!
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on the beach and in the tent.

Chimney Rocks

Watercolour sketch of Chimney Rocks.
A4 ~ Watercolour & Pen
Today’s​ sketch is of the ‘Chimney Rocks’ out in the sound with a flock of Shags swirling in, following a shoal of fish?

A slower start this morning from us, weather brighter, but still a little overcast. Eventually,​ starting out for a walk around Chapel Downs. Stopping on the way at the Post Office, Gallery and little Gift Shop. Paddled along Higher Town Beach, before having our packed lunch near Brandy Point.

The Isle of Samson

Watercolour sketch of Samson's North Hill
A4 ~ watercolour
The view looking north from South Hill on the abandoned island of Samson. Sat sketching here with a large flock of Black-Backed Gulls all wheeling around us.
We caught ‘Voyager’, St Martins’ inter-island ferry, over to join the seventy-odd children who were out for their annual ‘Samson Picnic’. Which had me thinking that the abandoned island wouldn’t feel quite so abandoned as you might think! However, everything worked out fine, as the kids all stayed on the beach at Bar Point. They were all very well behaved and seemed to be enjoying themselves. Leaving us to explore the Island.
Pen and watercolour sketch of a Samson Ruined House
A4 ~ Pen & Watercolour Wash.
Abandoned Samson Cottage

Samson is an interesting island now home to sea birds. We could not explore the North Hill area as it is now a nature reserve for nesting Terns. Before it was abandoned, the island’s population​ had built their cottages on the lowland between the two hills. However, South Hill had a team of archaeologists, from Cardiff University​, working on the abandoned cottages. Which was interesting to see and I’m sure we were able to see much more of these abandoned homes because of all their digging and clearing.
The island was inhabited until 1855. When the Lord Proprietor Augustus Smith had the remaining people removed from the island. He thought that the population were suffering from severe deprivation, particularly due to a diet of limpets and potatoes. He also wanted to build a Deerpark on the island.
At this point, there were only two families left on the island.

Mooring Rock

Watercolour sketch of a Mooring Rock on St Martin's.

Mooring Rock

A4 ~ Watercolour and pen sketch
I love this lump of granite being used as a ‘mooring rock’, with its many ropes, on St Martin’s Quay beach.

Strolling around St Martins

A nice sunny start which slowly became more overcast and blowy as the day went on. We walked up to Higher Town for victuals and down to the Old Quay for lunch.
Spending the day strolling and sketching around St Martins, before returning to the tent for tea. In the evening the wind got up, the rain came down, tent pegs were hammered down harder and extra guy ropes went out.

Watercolour sketch of the hotel quay beach
A4 ~ Watercolour
The hotel quay beach on St Martins.
Watercolour sketch of Guther’s Island, in Crow Sound.

Guther’s Island

Watercolour ~ A4
Looking out to Guther’s Island in Crow Sound, from St Martin’s, peaceful, Old Quay.

Round Island Lighthouse

Pen & wash sketch ~ A4 (in length)
Tean Sound & Round Island with its lighthouse. Round Island Lighthouse marks the Isles of Scilly’s northerly point. Built in 1887.

Watercolour sketch - Paddling in Little Bay

Paddling in Little Bay

Watercolour sketch ~ A4.
The day started off not so good (or rather windy and overcast). So had decided, with the low tide, to go over to White Island. Which had lots of sea birds wheeling around in the wind.
We then had a cup of tea sat on the lee side of the island. Sheltered down in the rocks overlooking the waves breaking in on a little rocky cove.
We then headed to ‘Little Bay’ which was sheltered from the wind. At that point, the sky cleared and the sun came out.
Pen and watercolour sketch looking out of a Cafe Window


Pen & watercolour wash ~ A4
Sitting in the ‘Blue’ cafe. Looking out of the window, waiting for the Scillonian to take us home.

Striking Camp

It was a mad dash to strike camp – having left things far, far too late!! ARG!!
Gear, tent and assorted things were thrown into bags willy-nilly. With Tim and his tractor & trailer ready to take us down to the quay. I was still stuffing things into bags on the quay as the boat came in to pick us up.
Note to self ~ more time needed next time!

Waiting for the Scillonian, we spent an interesting couple of hours looking around the Museum and a cup of tea in the ‘Blue’ restaurant. The crossing back was very smooth on a calm sea, with the fog horn going a lot of the way!

Pen and watercolour sketch of a Large Stone with flowers
Pen and wash sketch ~ A5
This large stone with flowers growing around it, caught my eye as we sat waiting for the Scillonian.
Check out my other sketching trips to the beautiful Isles of Scilly:

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