Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Isles of Scilly

Tresco Abbey Gardens (source: ukriversguidebook)

The Isles of Scilly form an archipelago 278 miles off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula of Great Britain. There are 5 inhabited islands (population:2.200) and around 140 islets. Influenced by the North Atlantic Current the climate is almost subtropical. 


Scilly has been inhabited since the Stone Age. The islands have been visited by among others Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and even Viking king Olaf I of Norway. At certain low tides the sea becomes shallow enough for people to walk between some of the islands, and ancient field walls become visible below the high tide line. It is therefore likely that the islands used to be joined together into one island; rising sea levels flooded the central plain around 400–500 AD, forming the current islands.


The 'c' in Scilly is silent, so the pronunciation is the same as the word 'silly'. Therefore the Scillonians prefer the islands to be referred to as 'The Isles of Scilly' instead of 'The Scilly Islands'.

next episode: The Scilly's at war with the Dutch

10 comments:

  1. Well, silly or not it looks like a great holiday resort! I bet the Irish are jealous that their island isn't situated a few miles more to the south.

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  2. Rob, my wife and I spent our golden wedding anniversary on Tresco. It's a beautiful place to stay and a visit to the Abbey Gardens is a must. The helicopter service from Penzance to the Islands has been discontinued so I believe the only way to get there now is by boat.

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    1. How nice that you have spent your golden wedding anniversary over there! I would prefer a boat trip over a helicopter flight anyway.

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  3. I didn't know there were so many small islands there. It does look very tropical! I remember seeing on the news 'recently' about the helicopter service finishing.

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  4. Oh my what a most lovely place! I could see many stunning sketches coming out of a place like this. I that birds I hear too? Nearly, even if I must imagine it, as our spring is really behind here. One glorious weekend just over, and now can you believe they say more snow tonight and tomorrow!

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  5. The Scillies really are beautiful. We had a wonderful week there some years ago - arriving by helicopter.

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  6. Thanks for introducing me to the Isles of Scilly; it looks like a lovely place to visit. The idea of walking between islands during low tides sounds cool!

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  7. Marvellous crumbs of Britain in the Atlantic tablecloth :-)

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  8. Good post, I wasn't familiar with the archipelago. I see the language previously spoken there was Cornish.

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  9. Great place for bird watching. Some of the islands are bird sanctuaries.

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