The weather has taken a turn on Scilly. The weather was predicted to be so bad yesterday (Weds 15th) that the Scillonian III crossing from Penzance was cancelled. Judging by the info in the tourist information office courtesy of Windfinder it wasn’t surprising. Strong gusting winds and high seas. Not a place for a small, shallow drafted passenger ferry.
The British weather has always been unpredictable and this has sent many holidaymakers to Europe and beyond where sunshine is guaranteed. So why would you holiday in the UK? It’s often cheaper to take a package deal to Costa Wherever and with guaranteed sun it seems like a logical decision. Well maybe for some.. certainly not for me. My passport expired in 1999 and since then I have had absolutely no need of one. As a police officer I’m often approached and asked if I will sign passport applications. I have to refuse, not because as a police officer I can’t do this but because I don’t physically hold a passport. I’m a cheap option the doctor charges!
In the UK we are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places. The rolling Yorkshire dales, the majestic Welsh mountains, remote and isolated Scottish wildernesses, the pure beauty of the Lake district and, to me, the magnificent Isles of Scilly. I’ve been to all these places and love them all for many different reasons. As a child I was taken to Scotland for many family holidays. It rained. Then it rained some more and then just to make you feel better it rained a bit more. After many grey misty and rainy days one comes to question why you are there. What a miserable place. I can remember crossing the “Bridge over the Atlantic” onto the isle of Seil. I was somewhat disappointed. The bridge didn’t exactly fit wit the image I had built up in my head. You could barely see the other side of the bridge. We drove to the visitor centre. I wandered around a largish store full of typical tourist junk listening to a music loop of “Beautiful Island” that was enough to drive you to suicide. I went out, got back in the car and did what teenagers do best.. sulked. The following day we took a Caledonian MacBrayne from Kennacraig on the Kintyre peninsula to Islay. The clouds cleared, the rain stopped and the sun shone. The islands of Jura and Islay were quite literally breathtaking. I suddenly realised why my parents had dragged us up there. It might rain but when the sun comes out… wow!
As many of you will know I’ve been on the Isles of Scilly for nearly two weeks. This is my third time here and we as a family are completely in love with the place. We cannot imagine going anywhere else. For the first 10 days the weather has been absolutely glorious. A few little rains showers have blown through but gone just as quickly as they arrived leaving the wonderful sunshine behind. The islands have been showcased at their best. We have enjoyed everything the islands have to offer. Then things changed. Yesterday the winds hit around 40knots and were gusting to around 50knots. The waves were huge and when it rained it came in sideways. This was not a day to go venturing off to the smaller islands so we stayed put on St Mary’s. Whilst my teenage self would have been annoyed and fed up with poor weather and nothing to do, my adult self revelled in the opportunity to see natures raw power. We kitted ourselves up with our waterproof coats and headed out to the coast. The waves were spectacular crashing up against the rocks with huge force and a real “thump” each time one struck home. The wind at times was so strong you had to lean forward to walk into it. Had it stopped instantly you would have fallen over. I talked with children about the ships that were out there on the water and the dangers the rocks presented to them. We used he Marine Traffic App (thank you @scillyboatman) and looked at how many ships were on the water even in these conditions. We talked about the force of nature and how we need to harness these natural forces to create clean/green power. We walked all the way around Peninnis into Old Town and then took the road back to Dibble and Grub for hot drinks and fresh fruit smoothies. The kids loved it and were exhilarated, as I was, by the sheer wonder of a walk where we could see natural power in action.
Our holiday is now sadly drawing to a close. Weather permitting we sail home on Saturday. We have enjoyed the sunshine, we have enjoyed the lashing rain and howling winds of the last two days. We have enjoyed the boat trips and we have enjoyed walking around the islands exploring. We have eaten well, drank well and been looked after. I even got to meet up with @scillysergeant and have a few beers. What more could you ask for? The wind will blow us home on Saturday. We’ll be slightly sad but better for the experience and know that when the time comes the wind will blow us back again. Until next time….