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The Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly lie 28 miles south west of Cornwall. The surrounding sea is crystal clear, but fairly cold as the Gulf Stream passes either side of the islands. The climate is mild with very little frost or snow but the seas can be treacherous in winter.

St Marys from the air Old Town
Porth Hellick, St Mary's. Old Town from Tolman Head

Rushy Bay Western Rocks
Rushy Bay, Bryher Western Rocks from St Agnes

St Agnes sandbar Porthcressa
St Agnes sandbar from Gugh Porthcressa beach, St Mary's

Rushy Bay Eastern Isles
Landing on Rushy Bay, Bryher at low tide. A shag parliament on the Eastern Isles

seal in Rushy Bay sunset
A seal in Hell Bay off Bryher Sunset over Samson

360<SUP>o</SUP> panorama
360° panorama from the uninhabited island of Teän.
Click on the small image for a larger view.

The five largest islands are inhabited. St Mary's is the largest, with a resident population of about 1,600. Tresco has about 170, St Martins about 120, St Agnes about 80 and Bryher about 75 residents. Nearly all consumer goods first arrive on St Mary's by sea with transfer to the off islands as necessary. This means that the cost of living is very high, as is the price of property, but the way of life is relaxed and virtually crime free, even at the hight of the tourist season when visitors can more than double the population.

statue Nags Head
Statue on Tresco of the Dorrien-Smith children, symbolic of the freedom on the islands. The Nags Head, a natural 'statue' on St Agnes

Each off island has its own church, pub, shop/post office and primary school (Bryher children now go across to Tresco) plus a couple of cafés. There are no cars on the off islands, just a few tractors and buggies. St Mary's has enough shops to meet the islanders needs, but no chain stores or fast food outlets though there is a good fish & chip shop and several cafés plus resteraunts. Also two banks and a machine, a police force of two and a secondary school. 16+ children go to boarding schools on the mainland. There is also a modern health centre and hospital with a new ambulance boat to serve the off islands though any seriously ill patient is transferred by helicopter to the mainland.

Bell Rock Hotel cottage on Bryher Harold Wilson
We stayed at the Bell Rock Hotel in 2004 the most southerly hotel in England. Cottage at the end of the road, Bryher. Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson is buried at St Mary's, Old Town

Lack of preditors make the garden birds less shy.
sparrow blackbird chaffinch thrush
Sparrows outside Old Town café Blackbird on Tresco Chaffinch in Abbey Gardens Tresco Song Thrush in Carreg Dhu garden, St Mary's

Flowers are everywhere on the islands and the mild climate enables exotic and semi tropical plants to thrive, though we have successfully grown some agapanthus in our garden in Allhallows
narcissus agapanthus belladonna
Yellow narcissus in spring Blue agapanthus in summer Pink belladonnas in autumn

protea solanum strelitzia
Protea in Tresco Abbey gardens Solanum on St Martins Strelitzia in Carrig Dhu gardens, St Marys

raindrops heather and birdsfoot trefoil elms on the Garrison
Pine trees on St Marys after the rain. Carpet of birdsfoot trefoil and heather, Salakee Down, St Marys. Elm trees on the Garrison. No Dutch Elm disease here.

from the air
Porth Hellick, St Mary's with St Martins in the far distance. From the helecopter going home.

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