Isles of Scilly


09/03/2012 by Carl Reynolds

At special request for Lone Swimmer. Some pictures of the Isles of Scilly. I went there with Swimtrek back in August 2008. I’d always dreamt of going to the Scillies, but had never made the commitment. The attraction was amplified by the opportunity to join up the major islands and do my first long(ish) swims in the open ocean. I particularly remember the last day – a 3km swim from St Mary’s to St Agnes with a big swell. It seemed like a few metres, but was probably more like one.

If I was to go swimming there again I think I’d self organise with some friends; and here’s how –

1. Contact local fishing charter boats and find out what they know about currents, tides and get outs. Check the boat has a platform, steps on and cover. Then negotiate a day rate.

2. Find a self catering cottage – probably on the main island of St Mary’s. For the very practical reason that there are more shops, pubs and so on. But remember accommodation is limited on the isles and they are very popular in the high season.

3. Make sure we’ve all got the same colour hats and are prepared to rotate sitting on the boat – someone has to for safety’s sake.

4. Agree looping to keep us all as a pod – or go with people who are all of a similar speed.

5. Work out a series of swims, so that you can adapt to the conditions. Get the OS Explorer map 101 (1:25000 scale).

6. Get the ferry from Penzance, as it’s cheaper and the chopper is often cancelled due to fog. Don’t sit downstairs on the ferry, unless you like the smell of puke.


4 thoughts on “Isles of Scilly

  1. LoneSwimmer says:

    Fantastic, and thanks for posting it. Sometimes when I’m out in Tramore Bay, I think, all I have to do is turn left and head 150 miles or so (complete guess) and I’ll be out there. It’s a place I’d love to visit and swim. I’ve a friend who sails to there every year, I keep hoping I can crew for her. I remember reading an article about a Swimtrek tour out, and all they kept complaining about was the cold and the swell. Bloody neophytes.

  2. Dan Graham says:

    Hello there,

    A couple of years ago, I went up and swam Corryvreckan on a “self-organised” trip – using pretty much the methodology you’ve highlighted.

    I think there was twelve of us in total. It was great, camping on the shoreline, the boat captains were cool… easy to do, and very very cheap compared to the cost of the organised holidays (except for ours!)

    The key to success if finding a willing boat captain. Hope you can work it out, we might be interested in accompanying you.

    • Dan – it was more a how to for others. I did it for the Outer Hebrides – joining islands up around Barra.

      • Dan Graham says:

        I thought about the other paragraph, but neglected to actually type it!

        Yes – it’s a great “how to”, and in actual fact, as you have outlined, organising trips like this are pretty straight forward…. the key to success is finding a willing boat captain.

        The fingers aren’t working quite as quickly as the brain is today.

        Great blog. Best wishes, Dan.

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