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ENGLAND                    DIARY 5   2016   

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From the southern England, I now head out to the Scilly Islands.

23/5 It is a sunny and calm day, perfect to a tour to the Scilly Islands. The ferry companies parking is only for one day visitors. The municipal just for 24 hours. The ferry office recommends me to park in the nearby Alexandra Street, which is a residential area.
I gather my most valuable items and a bit of cloths in my backpack, and store the rest in the two plastic boxes under the bed. Well, except the duvet and madras. Then it is just to cross my fingers, and hope it won't attract attention.
It is a rather old, small but well maintained ferry, and it seems to be half full at best.
I find a spot in the cafeteria, buy a mug of tea and start working on my computer. I could have done with some internet, but I guess the hotel will have. One of the tasks I have postponed, is to finding the "highlights of the photos". I find it hard to balance the documentation value with the actually good photos, and it will be more than 100 for the entire tour!
Just before we arrival at the first island, I get an egg sandwich, just to save time. Right at the pier, the boatmen for the Tresco Island boats are easily spotted, and I book the first I can. That leave me half a hour to explore Hugh Town and its surroundings.

It is slightly more modern, than the villages I saw yesterday, bit it sure know how to get use of the tourists. Despite the day started sunny and warm, it is slightly cloudy here. I stock some emergency rations; candy, and head for the garrison on the hill. Some on the houses on the way, have real small but interesting gardens. Especially the huge succulents look great. The fort-like structure on the top is now a hotel, but keep quite nicely.
I head back just as the boat is about to leave for the short tour to Tresco Island. As I am driven to the New Inn in the back of a tractor, the sun returns. I get a real nice room with a great view, but I rather be out there. To control the weather, I leave the sunglasses behind, but bring hat, glows and raincoat. And it works; the sun keep shining all day!

I head straight for the famous Tresco Abbey Garden. The narrow path leads me pass meadows with lakes and horses, through an old pine forest and pass the abbey. The abbey started gardening in the 12th century,  and Augustus Smith began to collect plants in 1834. Now, the garden have over 5000 species on the 17 hectares. Many with name tags, but all arranged to look pretty, not as a botanical collection. However, there are areas with Australia, Mexico, South African cliffs, California, New Zealand and the Canary Islands. In one corner, next to the non-open glasshouses, a collection of gallons figures are gathered.
A fine grit of pathways leads around on a huge slope, offering both great views to the plants, but also the coast. I talk with several of the gardeners, and they are only seven here. Well, the beds are not all cleaned, but it does look fantastic.
I do many loops around, finding new areas, angles and plants all the time. I'm told, they can experience frost occasional, but rarely that hard. If that does occur, they loos most succulents, but they return. They get around a meter of rain each year, a half time more than Denmark. Despite that, the succulents are thriving, avoiding the dormant period - just as I always claims.

When the garden closes, the sun have hours left, and I decide to take advantage of it, and explore the island. The first area is in big contrast to the garden. It contain mainly real low heather, and leads up to some huge boulders - and a dragonblood tree. In a mater of fact, here are an abundance of invasive plants. Well, the most areas, the heather seems to have for itself. The boulders are covered in long lichens, indicating mist and fog are a common event.
From the higher places, there is a great view to the nearby islands. Of the 140 in total, only four is inhabitanted. The few sandy beaches are perfect, but most is granite bedrock and boulders. The seaweed and kelp are exposed in low tide, and the water crystal clear.
The dunes are covered in African succulents in many places, while the older dunes have Rhododendrons. Some huge African bulbs are flowering blue, while the Asteraceaes are purple and abundant
I feel a bit dizzy, and recall the only liquid I have had all day, is a mug of tea on the ship this morning.
Never the less, I have to walk to the ruin on the top of some cliffs, just to see it. It is The Old Block House from 1550, part of an old fortress. From here, it is a short walk to Ruin Beach Café and a mug of tea. They are out of sandwiches, and I have to do with a brownie.

Refreshed, I head out on the northern third of the island. It is dominated by heather, and two castles on the western coast. King Charles's being the oldest, dating back to 1548. It is strangely clean of lichen, but offers a perfect view over the straight.
It is a rough coast, where only granite boulders and heather seem to thrive. Well, the Sea Thrift forms nice colonies in the more protected areas.
Down at the coastline, Cromwell's Castle from 1651 seem almost intact. It is, after all, meant to last. I do the walk to the top, where the dome is still intact.
From here, a narrow trail leads back to Grimsby. Some of the lifeboats crews are practising on the mirror-like water. Back at the New Inn, I start working, and then recall the bar close for meals before nine. I get a dissent vegetarian meal, and return to the room to work. I have partially seen the island, and I got 400 pictures to prove it! 
I might be spoiled by spending this much time in my car, but I do find it annoying, that the working table is not in reach of a powersocket. And especially, I really hate the live music from the bar after nine! All the campsites have been so quiet, the most  - or actually: the only sound have been the sinning birds. Here the rumble from the bar mixes with the music - just like home in the weekends. And I pay quite some for this room!

24/5 No surprise; I only sleep five and a half hour in my posh hotel room, despite here have been real quiet since before I finally went to bed. And no reason to hurry, the sun is hiding, and breakfast is only served after eight. Then I will  aim for the early ferry to St. Mary's - at ten, and start exploring.
After breakfast, I do an "inner circle" around the island and the heights. The sun is back in full strength, and it is a lovely day. One of the few and small fields have fresh hay, smelling so good. Here are thrushes, larks, seagulls and swallows. Once again, I almost feel bad, admiring all the invasive plants, which seem a bit odd in this, else so English landscape.

I just get back in time for the boat. We do a short stop at the minor Bryher Island, before we reach the St. Mary's. I try to get rite of my backpack, but a shelf in the unattended waiting room is not exactly what I wanted. Well, it is not that heavy anyway - just so valuable to me.
I find a map on a wall with all the islands, and get a snap-shoot of St. Mary's. The general layout is like the figure 8; two islands joined by a narrow land bridge,  where the only town; Hugh is. I will head around the small part before lunch, and then figure how much of the way bigger one I can accomplice.
The houses and the succulent dominated front gardens look so much more appealing in the sun, but I want to see the wild. Here are a large amount of invasive plants, many just in confined areas, but very dominant. The Australian Ivy have an entire hill to it self.
A set of narrow trails leads around the coastline, and I find a few, heading inland too. Endless walls line the small fields, huge granite cliffs dominate the coastline and a few beaches with white sand are found in small coves. The boulders are covered in lichen, and the vegetation in-between them seems so lush.
On one side of the peninsular, the heather have a stronghold. Blackberry sit strong on another area. I try to capture everything from a small caterpillar to the mighty cliffs and the deep-blue sea.

It was a significant longer walk than I had expected, but really nice. I find a sandwich and a pot of tea in the town Hugh, then head out to do a bit of the larger island. Strangely enough, I can't find my way out to it. Finally, I realises: I actually did the big one this morning. I only have the small one left. That explain it! On the way out of town, I come across a old glasshouse and some private plant sales.
The smaller island seems to be one, huge fortress from around 1700, but with plenty of nature around and flowering plants in the walls. The views are fantastic, the day perfect, and I enjoy every minute.
As I return to the town, I spot two classic cars: A Reliably Robin and a beaten-up Land Rover, MK I.
I still have quite some time before the ferry, but feel I have walked enough for one day. Tea on an outside cafe, and work inside afterwards. I do the dinner shopping on the way to the ferry, realising it will be rather late, before I reach the mainland.

It is getting cold already, waiting for the ferry, despite sun were still present. I fear the night! The ferry ride back to the mainland is as boring as the one out. Only excitement is; is the car all right? It is, and I head out to the countryside. I still have a few sights left in the southern Cornwall, and I take the first campsite I find. It is a little cosy place, which will explode like all the others, in a weeks time: Half-term in England: Everyone out to enjoy the holidays. Scary!
As it darkens after nine, the camp lawn and the fields next to it fills up with rabbits, and the blackbirds try to catch the last worms of the day. I sit in the car with blanket and socks, hoping for yet another sunny and calm day tomorrow.

25/5 Despite I sleep eleven hours, the sun refuses to get up before me - or after for that matter. I guess I was just so lucky on the Scilly Islands. I head out the the zigzaging coastal road between Zennor and St. Ives. Despite the lack of sun, it is a magnificent area, with so many motives.
Huge hills with hedges and walls, grazing cows and sheep, ancient farmhouses and barns, the deep blue sea and all the wild flowering plants. I try to walk some of the wild fields, but the blackberry make is difficult.
A lot of cows are gathered on tiny fields, but there are plenty of these fields around here. On some, the first cut of hay have been harvested. At one point, I have to pull over for a large herd of black and white cows and a huge, white bull.
I do a stop to do one of the numerous attempts to capture the hills, in what turns out to be an astonishing village. Or rather, four houses with the narrow road squeezing through. The sun comes in glimpses, and I have to work fast.

The next stop is at Carn Galver, a long stretch of the coastal line, stretching well inland. It use to be dominated by tin mines way back, now it is a heaven for the wildlife and plants. A bit further in land, tiny fields are circled with large stonewalls. I do a long walk down to the sea and up the coast. The sun are not really clear, and I start to freeze. Here are lichens, ferns and mosses along with skylarks, nightjars and coo-coos.
One of the old tin factories sit on the top, just the most persistent walls remains.
Soon after, before I get a chance to warm up, the Geevor Tin Mine turns up. At first, I pass it, but considering tin was the main reason for this area to be so rich in another than nature, I figure I better see it.
Tin mining started thousands of years ago, and this area was the richest in the known world. At first, the ore was found on the cliffs, then people start digging and finally, the ores have been followed through 90 shafts, with a total of 160 kilometres of tunnels. They actually lead 1600 metres out under the sea.
A self guided tour leads me pass the new electric lift as well as the old steam engine. A good museum tells about the minerals, a film about the work, and long paths leads through the huge factory which refined the ore to black tin powder. The mine closed down in the 1990'ties, and even then, it was a nasty and hard job.
I finish off with a guided tour through the original tunnel, and it is fare from as deep, as I had hoped. The temperature raises with one degree for each 100 meters deeps, and 2000 meters would have been nice by now.
I planned to finish the visit with a pot of tea, but some busses have just unloaded a big group of of elder people, and I rather get the warmth in the car.

I keep following the wining coastal road all the way to St. Ives, which was recommended by the receptionist at my last hotel. It is a rather large town, but real cosy. I park way up the hills, and walk downwards, figuring I'll at least find the harbour.
Pretty soon, I find my self in cobblestone narrow roads with old shops and a lot of English tourists. Here are so many shops selling cakes, pastry, fudges and alike. I only take photos, and end up in a tiny cafe with Cornish Cream Tea, and a brilliant view to the harbour.
I try a few of the shops for a winter coat, but they only have summer clothing up. People walk around in everything from flip-flops to fur, and I would prefer fur!
I still don't get their fascination of boats, when they don't have water enough to fill the harbour? On the way back to, what I hope is the place I left the car, I see the tiny back-gardens from above. Some have real interesting plants and layouts.

It is getting too late to reach the next site; Tintagle Castle, and I aim for the Gnome Camp. Good as the others, the cheapest and free and good internet. Actually only one pound more expensive than internet on other camps! I do a few large loops through the countryside on the way. I pass the tiny villages, the green fields and the typical Cornwall, which I either have captured - or given up by now.
As I pass a sign to the National Trust's Trerice, I have a blurry memory of, it is a small castle with a garden. The 1572 castle have closed for the day, but I get half a hour in the garden - and that is enough. Victorian, small and well kept. They even have a small greenhouse. The most remarkable is the sun and the temperature - way more to my liking. They had a cold morning, but the rest of the day have been great, I'm told. I get a blurry photo of one of the large fishing eagles I see, time and time again.
There are scary more campers on the campsite this time, and I guess the bank holyday; Monday and especially mid-terms, will make it explode. Hope they all head down south, as I'm heading north.
As it darkens, rabbits are teaming out from the bushes. They are so tiny, and look like young ones. Well, except one black, four times as big, looking like a dwarf-rabbit.

26/5 Another perfect morning, and I intend to get the most out of it. The ancient Tintagel Castle with its garden is only 45 kilometres away, but the narrow roads offers so many interesting motives, and here are even more flowers along the road.
When I a single time, and for a short distance, end on a bigger road, it offers an astonishing view over the fields, pass little villages to the sea. I have to stitch four photos together, and then it turns into a blue and a green line. I just sit and enjoy the view, listening to one of Scorpions quite songs (twice), perfectly suited.
Back on the narrow and twisting side-roads, I accidental get out at Trebarwith harbour village, in the end of a deep gorge. The sledge walls, the coastline and the little village make so many motives.

I finally reach the little town of Tintagel, and make a breath stop at the old post office. And it is surely old: 13th century for most parts. It does not look big from the outside, but is surprisingly spacious inside, with two floors.
From here, it is a short walk through the town and a long out to the remains of the castle and its garden. It is divided in two, one on the mainland, and one on the peninsula. Both parts have suffered quite some the last 700 years! It was build as a king's castle, and around it, up to 100 smaller huts filled to the cliffs.
Some steep steps leads out the the other half, and the sunny but windy semi-island. The garden is a bit disappointment. Exactly why the indeed think it has been a garden, remain unknown to me. It is simply a square area with a half meter wall around. Inside are the same flowering wild plants as outside. The view from and to the cliffs are, on the other hand; fantastic. The locals tell King Arthur was borne here, and digging around actually reveals way older structures.

While I head on to Arlington Court and its garden, I leave Cornwall, and the last photos from here are in this slideshow. I have found a costal route, and it seems like the hills are even bigger in Dorset, and so are the fields. Beech become more common, but the minor roads are just as winding, narrow and interesting. The huge river I crosses might be Torridge, and then I reach Arlington. The main house is just a big, grey cubic, but inside are some amassing ship models, made from bone. They were original made from the prisoners of the war with Napoleon, but the share number make me thing the tradition have continued.
Along with the ship-model collection, a huge gathering of snuff-boxes and sea-shells are keep in glass-mountres. So are a impressing collection of real colourful birds and butterflies. Well, when eleven generations have collected the same objects, they do gather quite some! The interior seems Victorian, and so does some of the garden, although it is surprisingly small. One square with Victorian strictness and a glasshouse, a walled kitchen garden and a narrow path along a gorge with "the wilderness".
I end up at the stables, which have an excusive collection of old carriages. The oldest is the impressive Speaker's carriage from 1690, on loan from London. 50 other carriages from the 19th century are well restored and with full stories. I find it amassing how much, both mechanics, but also terms and names, that have remained to modern vehicles. Here is even several wheel-locks.

From here, the tour leave Devon, and head into Barnaby's Somerset and end in Exmoor National Park. This huge park actually have many roads and several villages within it, along with a lot of farmland. I do a breath stop in Exford, to photo the old bridge and Inn. Here, a sign to a farm campsite lours me in. A lovely site, right next to a river, geese, dogs, horses, sheep, a huge bull and a few people.

It is time to start on the next page, exploring Somerset and Wiltshire.


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