Sailing the isles of Scily
Cornwall is one of the most picturesque regions in the United Kingdom. It is full of fishing villages, mountains, cliffs cut by knives which are characterized by beautiful nature and changing weather. What you would never imagine though, about 45 kilometers from the coast of Cornwall, you are going to find the tropics: that’s what awaits you in the Scily Islands, a very small set of islands and islets – they occupy just 16 square kilometers – that, being in the middle of the Gulf Stream, has temperatures well above what would be normal for its latitude.
A piece of heaven away from the rest of the country and with a certain exoticism compared to the usual landscapes, within a reach.
The islands belong to Great Britain, being the southernmost point of the country. At the administrative level they had historically belonged to the county of Cornwall, about 45 kilometers away, but today they have their own council, the Council of the Isles of Scily.
The archipelago has no more than 2,200 year-round residents, 80% of whom live on St Mary’s, one of the five inhabited islands. The other four are Tresco, St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes. This leaves a hundred other islands completely intact by any human presence. The beautiful beaches of Pendle and Appletree Bays on Tresco Island, or Par Beach on St Martin’s, are particularly worth visiting. Not to mention all these bays that are waiting to be conquered by the adventurer who lies in you!
At Scily, you will experience the carelessness and freedom of Robinson Crusoe on his desert island. You will feel the pleasure and tranquility of a stopover in nature, far from civilization. Away from the noise of the world, the destination is indeed a well-kept secret from tourists. Few visitors, and almost no cars either. Normally, there are almost no main roads where to roll. In Scily, for sure, you will not be bothered by the neighbors.
With its scattered islands, islets, and pinnacles in the Celtic Sea, the Scily are particularly suitable for a sailing cruise. Most of the islands are in a perimeter of only 14 km².
Each day, you will have the opportunity to explore a different corner of the archipelago. And to do this, there`s no need to wait on the platform for the next tripper boat: aboard your sailboat, and you can visit the islands at your leisure, without constraint or pressure. And as these islands do not lack anchorage, you will be able to multiply the points of view on the sand tongues and the jagged rocks of the littoral.
We have to admit it: coming to Scily without spending a day at sea, it’s a bit like going to London without taking a double-decker bus. Your trip will stay short in local flavor and color.
The most beautiful example of the rich maritime past of the islands is undoubtedly the frequent races of gigs. Do not be fooled by their false appearance of modest rowing boats. These small boats are real guardian angels. They once escorted the ships to the ports, to prevent them from falling into the surrounding reefs.
Get ready for amazing encounters during your Scily sailing cruise. Your route could cross that of dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, and even turtles!
Do not miss the seal colonies around St Martin’s. They`re not shy animals, and sometimes interrupt their nap to accompany bathers in their exploration!
The archipelago is also very suitable for bird watching. It is home to 75% of the world’s population of English Shearwaters ( Puffinus puffinus ). But if you like birds, there`s nothing better than to take a cruise around St Agnes. The surrounding islets, particularly Annet and the Western Rocks, are a paradise for birdwatchers.
Back on land, do not miss the wonderful Abbey Garden, south of Tresco Island. More than 20,000 exotic plants from 80 different countries grow in this subtropical botanical garden. In the nineteenth century, Augustus Smith, who was the owner of the islands, realized the specifics of the climate and began to plant on the island of Tresco exotic species from around the world in these gardens.
The Isles of Scily, due to its geographical position, offer an environment of great contrasts. Long beaches of fine white sand and crystal clear waters to the south, surrounded by quasi-tropical vegetation and rugged reefs to the north. The Atlantic climate in its more moderate version favors the conditions for the cultivation of the earth, being especially important in the islands the cultivation of flowers. Compared to the rest of England sunny days are plentiful, however in winter the gales are perhaps more frequent, so much that sometimes difficult access to the islands by sea. There`s a reason the archipelago is famous for the large number of naval accidents that have taken place on its shores throughout history.
But this does not seem to scare the hundreds of visitors who every year enjoy the tranquility of this area that offers the opportunity to perform numerous activities.
As you can see the Isles of Scily are well prepared to receive you and the incentives they offer are not few, so, what are you waiting for?