Friday, 10 April 2015

I is for Isles of Scilly …



Twenty-eight miles south-west of Land’s End the last outcrops of granite form a rugged archipelago of five inhabited islands and more than a hundred others.


 
The Isles of Scilly
Their occupation in prehistoric times is evidenced by a bewildering number of remains: settlements, field boundaries, standing stones, chambered tombs and a few promontory forts from the Iron Age (1200 BC to 1 BC).




c/o Duchy of Cornwall Cottages -
aerial view of St Mary's


Beautiful islands, uncrowded beaches, a mild climate, seals to watch, birds to twitch at … all making this an unrivalled setting with its variety of sea and migrant life.




Strabo's map of Western Europe
(64 BC - 24 AD):  Strabo was the
Greek Geographer, Philospher and Historian


I hadn’t realised quite how much history is here ... there are 239 scheduled monuments, meaning there’s a greater density of historical sites on the Scillies than anywhere else in the British Isles.




Traces of human life stretch back at least 3,000 years, when the islands were one large land mass that was home to nomadic hunter gatherers.



Bronze Age Scilly Islands -
c/o Megalithic Britain
It appears that the Phoenicians (1550BC to 300BC), who had an enterprising maritime trading culture, came as far round as Britain and the Scilly Isles, and used the island (as it was then) as a staging post for the tin found in Cornwall.  A description in Roman times describes Scilly as “Scillonia Insula” in the singular … rising sea levels around 400 AD – 500 AD flooded the central plain forming the current islands: there is evidence to be found of this.


Lyonnesse, the mythical lost land, referred to in Arthurian literature midway between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly … may well be here … in Penzance Bay is the remnants of a lost forest … our lands alter through time.


The Hundreds of Cornwall -
administrative divisions in the
early 19th C.  The large bay facing
the Scillies is Penance Bay

Moving to today’s era – tourism is now the economic driving force – the Scilly Isles offer so much ... beautiful beaches, rugged coastlines, coastal walks with sensational views.




Tresco Abbey Garden
Under G for Gardens I have mentioned Tresco and its Abbey Garden … a sheltered haven where many plants from around the world flourish.  The Scillies are known for their scented narcissi and pinks, and fields of cream and golden daffodils … a thriving market for cut flowers exists on the mainland.  Yet the windswept coastal landscapes are cloaked in heather and flowering gorse …


Heather, Gorse and Sea Pinks -
the national flower of the Scillies


… as you would expect the Scillies have been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whose primary purpose is to conserve.   There are also two Sites of Special Scientific Interest: the Moors Nature Trails inhabited by a range of aquatic plant and animal species.




Plenty of fresh fish and shellfish are available to purchase and cook at your cottage, or to rest up and enjoy a delicious seafood catch from a chef’s kitchen.


Gig racing
Tourism is now the main income earner for the islanders … and diversification has been key ... harvesting herbs for essential oils, keeping small herds for local consumption, etc



There's an annual Gig Racing Competition

Then there’s the highly competitive sport of rowing in pilot gigs … carrying on the traditions of the past, when pilots would guide larger vessels through the perilous waters.



Time has shaped these Isles … giving them the rich diversity of life on offer today … there is also evidence of inundation by the tsunami caused from the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.


  
That is I for the Isles of Scilly, a paradise of island refuges on the edge of England – a journey to another world ... from Aspects of British Cornish …



Here is an interesting site which I used for some of the ideas in the post: Visit Isles of Scilly

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


43 comments:

Carole Anne Carr said...

Such a beautiful collection of islands, think I saw my first agapanthus - if that is the name of the flower, growing there. Such a vibrant blue and the delicate white purity.

Rhonda Albom said...

I have never heard of the Scilly Islands before today. So rich in history and beautiful. Thanks for introducing me to something completely new. (BTW - great minds think alike, my I is also islands, just different ones)

Manzanita said...

If I visited the Isles of Scilly I would like to see the annual gig Racing competition and follow the harvest for essential oils.

Out on the prairie said...

What a lovely area , I want to go there.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Lyonnesse begs to be written about, doesn't it?

The Isles of Scilly sound amazing--lovely to look at with great seafood and rowing, too!

Sophie Duncan said...

I never knew that the Scilly Isles flooded so recently, geologically speaking.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Jo said...

How very interesting Hilary. I had no idea about the islands, especially about the history and how far back it goes. Went to the Channel Islands but never the Scillies. Incredible that there was once a main island which later was inundated. Also incredible that the Phoenicians used the island and obtained tin in Cornwall. I didn't know Cornish tin mining went that far back ether. I guess many Cornish people are in fact descended from them.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I had no idea the Scilly Isles were so rich in history - I would love to go there.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I'd love to visit one day. It sounds like a fantastic place to explore.

Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

Bob Scotney said...

One of my favourite places.
I'd recommend anyone to read "Emperor Smith. The Man Who Built Scilly" by Sam Llewellyn. It contains amazing photos, drawings and paintings as well as the history of the Islands.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Another place I would love to visit: Isles of Scilly.

Thanks for introducing me to food and places, I will never get to experience.

River Fairchild said...

What a hidden (to me anyway) gem! I never knew the Scillies existed. Gorgeous pictures and rich with information as always. You do things right, Hilary!

Chrys Fey said...

The Scilly Islands look and sound fascinating. I wish I could go there too.

Julie Flanders said...

I would love to journey to this world.

Isn't it amazing to think of the Phoenicians traveling so far and ending up on these islands? History is so fascinating.

suesconsideredtrifles said...

Lots of interesting information here, especially the map showing how the land has changed. There are a few disappeared islands around our shores. Sue

Liza said...

Thank you for taking me to a place I have never been, or heard of! Lovely!

Bish Denham said...

I'd love to spend a whole summer exploring the islands, visiting the historical sites, the beaches and gardens. Interesting that even the Phoenicians found their way to them.

cleemckenzie said...

I've had this on my list to see for some time now. You've reminded me that I'd better get to it. Thanks!

Paula Kaye said...

I would love to visit the islands.

Susan Scott said...

We had some London visitors pop in en route to the airport late this afternoon and he asked when were we coming to visit them and go with them to Shropshire where they have a country home. I said I was thinking of Cornwall, even if on my own in September. Husband and he nearly choked. I'll figure this out somehow .. and include the Scilly Islands. I really really want to .. thanks Hilary for this lovely post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Carole Anne – you did see your first agapanthus … I just didn’t put a photo up! They do grow there … and we had masses in South Africa – they are lovely …

@ Rhonda – I’ll be over to see your islands … well how wonderful I’ve introduced you to something you’d never heard of … they had more history than I realised!!

@ Manzanita – that Gig Racing competition is I imagine pretty hairy scary … lots of white water and bulging muscles! The herbal fields sound fascinating too ..

@ OOTP – I haven’t been .. one day I shall get over: these posts are really tempting me ..

@ Elizabeth – yes, I agree Lyonnesse does beg to be written about .. I wonder if anyone has done it – can’t believe it’s not been written about. This post really introduced me to the Scilly Isles and now I’d love to go …

@ Sophie – I was surprised about the flooding by rising seas 1500 years ago .. but then our Sussex coast has changed dramatically over the centuries.

@ Jo – I too was on a learning curve here. I also haven’t been to the Channel Islands … and then the sea incursion leaving only these islands we see today. The Phoenician connection is incredible … tin was very soft … so could easily be used in the early metal working days. I’m not sure about the Cornish being descended from the Phoenicians .. perhaps …

@ Natasha – the Abbey Gardens are amazing and fascinating to find out more about, let alone the rest of the history. And see Bob Scotney’s book recommendation – just below your comment. I hope you get across to see them sometime.

@ Annalisa – they do look a great choice of islands to visit and stay in … one day we’ll get there …

@ Bob – thanks for the book recommendation – just ordered. And I know it’s one of your favourite places … and I’ve noted what you said about the Abbey Gardens – they look amazing.


***
Please note the book Bob mentions ...
***

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa – I’m sorry you won’t be getting over to see us – but it’s lovely to know you’re enjoying all the suggestions I mention …

@ River – it is a hidden gem to me too … So pleased the post satisfies .. and thank you so much for the comment …

@ Chrys – perhaps one day you can get over to the UK and see some of our country and the Scillies …

@ Julie – it’s here waiting for a visit … and I know to think the Phoenicians travelled so far searching out new lands, and trading …

@ Sue – Yes, I was so pleased that photo was there … and yes we do have lots of lost islands … and changing coastline …

@ Liza – pleasure to meet you … and I’m so glad you enjoyed the post …

@ Bish – a whole summer might be a little long – but perhaps you could .. especially if you chose a year with excellent weather! But you’re right … there is an awful lot here …

@ Lee – well that’s good I used my I post for the Scilly Isles … they will be here a while yet …

@ Paula – they do entice don’t they …

@ Susan – how very funny … and I’m learning about Shropshire at the moment – it is stunning up there too. That will be great – looking forward to seeing you then …

Cheers everyone – it’s amazing how much interest this post has generated ... and wouldn’t it be wonderful to visit – I must too … thanks so much for all your comments … Hilary

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Very beautiful place. And what a treasure of history. I would love to visit there.

Margie said...

I so enjoyed this post!
Maybe someday I might get ti visit there, one never knows and I have the
'traveling bug' LOL
Thanks for the wonderful tour of the Isles of Scilly ...

Wishing you a lovely weekend ...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Beautiful pictures. And uncrowded beaches - I like that. I'll have to put that on my list to see next time I visit England and Scotland.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Our lands (and islands) alter through time..so true! I had no idea one could go further south than Land's End. Adding that to my ever-lengthening bucket list..thanks for that.

Ciao,
Nila.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Nice introduction to the area. So many places to visit around the world. I wish I had started traveling when I was younger :-)

Mark Clough said...

Sadly I've never made it to the Scillies which do look beautiful. Someone once described them to me as "several thousand drunks clinging to a rock". I'm sure that's unfair.

M. J. Joachim said...

I'm quite a fan of islands, Hilary. Though I've never been to Europe, I have visited Hawaii and some Asian Islands, mainly near the Philippines. Also growing up along the Pacific Coast, there were a few islands to visit and explore. This is a lovely post, and I can almost feel the tropical breeze and smell the sunscreen on the beaches as I read it.

Jeffrey Scott said...

This is a great sounding place. I definitely want to visit sometime now.

Lisa said...

What an amazing history. I had no idea. I would love to visit there one day. Thank you for the introduction. I especially liked the part about how during Roman times it was one isle, and that since the great plain has flooded creating more islands.
Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Courtney Turner said...

Looks like a beautiful place. I finished reading Thucydides and Sicily is the site of a major battle where the Athenians got smooshed. They were too greedy and land hungry and tried to overtake this island and add it to their empire.
Maui Jungalow

Maria said...

Very informative - I had no idea! Thank you for sharing that with us.

Pearson Report said...

I learned a new word… promontory. And, I learned about some amazing islands, with fascinating history.

Thank you Hilary, for such a great I post. On to J!

Sent with smiles, Jenny, Pearson Report
2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador
@PearsonReport

Truedessa said...

I wanted to say it was so nice to see your blog mentioned at Alex's place. That picture of heather and flowering gorse is lovely. I have decided to write a poem about the mud goddess. So, glad I came for another visit.

Jean Davis said...

What beautiful islands! Crazy to think of how much the land changes over time.

loverofwords said...

The Islands look beautiful and unspoiled. I did click on the reference and saw all the photos. There is so much to learn about the UK and especially how different Cornwall is from the rest.

Nick Wilford said...

They sound magical and still unspoiled even with the increased tourism. I've always fancied visiting them. Interesting about the Phoenicians setting up shop there.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan – it is gorgeous and yes our history is full of so much …

@ Margie – so pleased you enjoyed the post .. and Scotland will be a great place to visit this year – enjoy that ..

@ Alex – yes, uncrowded beaches are the thing – that’s good you’ll think about visiting Cornwall or the Scilly Isles on your next visit over ..

@ Nila – the coasts are always changing – but this really shows those changes and not really that long ago. The Scillies are more west than south … I hope you can tick them off your bucket list sometime …

@ Cynical Sailor – good to meet you … and yes I think many of us would have loved to have travelled earlier in our lives ..

@ Mark – well your Greek isles more than make up for it! I’ve never heard that expression before … what a fun thought – well may be not! And I’m sure it is very unfair ..

@ MJ – you’ve been fortunate enough to go west … one day I might get to Hawaii, and to see Asia … I’ve been to Vancouver Island .. but really need to come over for a longer visit and see some more of the west coast … thanks so much for your comment ..

@ Jeffrey – that’s good to know my post is encouraging you to visit ..

@ Lisa – I hadn’t really realised about all the history – but I’ve ordered the book Bob Scotney suggested in his comment. I gather you can walk between some of the islands at low tide .. but need a boat to get back later on!

@ Courtney – how interesting reading about Thucydides and Sicily: I knew nothing about Thucydides – he definitely seems someone we should know more about … how fascinating … thanks for telling me … I’ve just ordered a book about him …

@ Maria – good to see you .. and so pleased you enjoyed your visit

@ Jenny – well that’s good ... promontory – it’s such a good name for a ‘sticking out headland’!! The Scillies are a beautiful set of islands in the middle of the seas … and yes on to J for Jenny …

@ Trudessa – thanks re the note about Alex’ mentioning my blog – he’s so good at acknowledging many of us. I love that picture of the windswept land showing the low growing heather and gorse. That’s good the mud goddess inspired you …

@ Jean – they are beautiful to look at .. and yes our lands are always changing … we seem to forget!

@ Nat – so pleased you took advantage of the link and looked through all the other photos. Cornwall is a world apart from the rest of the UK in so many ways …

@ Nick – they do look magical and unspoilt don’t they … a great deal of planning care and conservation will go into looking after them. The Phoenician link is extraordinary to think about …

Cheers to you all – thanks so much for visiting and giving me new ideas to think about … Hilary

Sara C. Snider said...

Sounds like a fantastic place rich in history. Would love to visit someday. Thanks for the little tour. :D

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara - glad you enjoyed the tour around some of the islands - I too want to get over at some stage ... we never went - cheers Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

I know I'm running late...
what a delightful group of islands... so much history! Amazing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Michelle - no worries .. I'm now running late in answering your comment - and yes and since I wrote this post ... I've found out more about the Scilly Islands ... but lots of history - it is incredible ... cheers and thanks so much for the visit -Hilary