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Seasonal area

August 2014

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We leave the British mainland for this month to visit somewhere more or less due south of Plockton (a very few miles further west perhaps) - the delightful location of Hugh Town, on the island of St Mary's - both the largest town and the largest landmass in the Scilly Isles.

The town is located on the isthmus which joins the main body of the island, from which this picture was taken, to the large roundish body of rock on which a garrison was built after the Spanish Armada. The garrison's main defence being the fact that it is located on an island surrounded by relatively shallow channels with no beaches, it was decided to skimp slightly on the perimeter walls. They are more of the "ha-ha" variety than actual walls and rarely stand more than six feet high round the outside. (Inside the tops are mostly level with the general terrain, allowing a bit for battlements.)

St Mary's is a delightfully small place, all perfectly scaled down from the rest of Cornwall (even the church tower is especially diminuitive). The walk around the garrison, from gateway back to the gateway with a spot of dawdling and a lunch stop, takes about 90 minutes. Hugh Town is even smaller and can be satisfactorily explored in an hour. While the north coast to the south coast of Cornwall between, say, St Ives and Penzance makes for a pleasant afternoon stroll, the walk from the beach on one side of Hugh Town to that on the other side takes about five minutes. The rest of the island makes for a pleasant landscape to wander vaguely into, with the slight precaution that as the view all round is much the same (bits of island sticking out of blue sea) there is much the same potential for the true Incompetent to get lost and miss the daily ferry back to Penzance. Visitors coming by ferry are reassured that the return crossing is notoriously much nicer than the outward one.

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Last modified 25/07/2014

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