St Mary’s and Tresco

Ashore for a walk, and lunch in a pub. Beautiful day, sun shining, children swimming on the golden beaches; what an extraordinary contrast with the day before.

Hugh Town, St Mary's
Hugh Town, St Mary’s

Went to the vicarage’s annual garden fete, a feast of nostalgia, with cakes, ice creams, books stalls, bric-a-brac, raffles, a Punch and Judy, an auction of meals in local restaurants (the bid prices ought to be a useful restaurant guide) and a treat in the shape of a band that recreated hits of the 1920s and 1930s.

The band at the vicarage garden fete
The band at the vicarage garden fete

The band was started after someone found a trunk full of sheet music from the period in an antique shop, and they have learnt to play it – not brilliantly, it has to be said, but well enough to create a delightful time warp that afternoon.

Motored gingerly across Tresco Flats, which dries at  low water, to New Grimsby Harbour, where almost all the buoys were taken. Found one free at the seaward end, near Cromwell’s Castle, and then nearly half a mile ashore for dinner at the New Inn. Great contrast with 15 years ago, the last time the weather allowed us to get into the Scillies while near. Much investment and a move up market from the pub I remember. Fits with other changes on Tresco, where a whole holiday village, also very upmarket, with its own restaurant, has been built by one of the beaches.

We walked over to Old Grimsby Harbour on the other side of the island, past many manicured holiday cottages, with cocktail party talk drifting from wine-sipping holiday makers partying in some of the gardens. (Another Rock?). Extraordinarily pretty, and flowers everywhere.

Old Grimsby Harbour
Old Grimsby Harbour

Made a mental note that Old Grimsby Harbour was an attractive alternative to New Grimsby if we ever came back this way, harbour being an exaggeration – a more accurate description of either would be anchorage.

Round Britain 2013 056
The view north from the mooring after sunset

Back to the boat to contemplate the sunset and then the penultimate Killing Series 1 – how out of date can you get.

Passage notes: There are two versions of how to cross to from Hugh Town to New Grimsby Harbour off Tresco in a keelboat, depending who you ask and what you read. When depths are marginal, there is a complicated double dog leg route shown, but most of the time there is a much  simplified version which has a single dog leg between two marks, when approaching Tresco Sound, without a subsequent detour. This was the route the Hugh Town Harbour master suggested. Details of pilotage are in the Cruising Association Almanac, Reeds and the Scillies pilot. Our old copy of the latter showed only the complicated route.


The harbour beach, Hugh Town
The harbour beach, Hugh Town
Tony strolls along the front
Tony strolls along the front

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