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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
It is a rough coast, where only granite boulders and heather seem to
thrive. Well, the Sea Thrift forms nice colonies in the more
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
and then figure how much of the way bigger one I can
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
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
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
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.
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.
Another perfect morning,
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
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),
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
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
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
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
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
From here, the tour leave Devon, and head into Barnaby's
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.