Full English, Smoked Haddock, a Kipper…… it is not an easy choice at breakfast time. I choose the Full English and am not disappointed but already know what the following morning’s choice will be when I see Nick’s kipper which is proper.
It is low tide and the boatman tells us that the bar which connects St Agnes with Gugh will be exposed throughout the duration of our time on the island so we cross the sandy ridge and follow the coast round Gugh. The coastal granite structures are striking indeed and later in the week John will tell me that the tors on the Penninis Headland on St Mary’s are held to be some of the best examples of weathered granite outcrops in southwest England.
After our pasty and a pint we start our circuit of St Agnes, walking south a bit then turning west towards Higher Town. Before we reach the centre we take a track south which leads down to Wingletang Down and the coast at Horse Point. It is then a matter of following the coast right the way round to rejoin the Quay at Black Point
At every turn there are different vistas to enjoy and at Troy Town we find the famous maze. Many turf mazes in England were named Troy Town, or variations on that theme. It is presumed that this is because, in popular legend, the walls of the city of Troy were constructed in such a confusing and complex way that any enemy who entered them would be unable to find his way out. Continuing around the island we loop Periglis Cove with its short causeway to Burnt Island. There is a small water body with resident geese, with goslings, and walking round the track which skirts the pond I stumble and fall but thankfully no damage is done. It is then just a matter of walking around the sea wall at Porth Killier, site of former settlement by Bronze Age people who left, inter alia, large middens of limpet shells. I worked on these shells in 1998 which were excavated as part of a watching brief prior to the construction of the sea wall, and this is what I wrote as an introduction to my Report to Cornish Archaeological Unit based at Truro.
As part of ‘a well integrated land/sea subsistence economy’ (Bell 1984), Scillonians from the Bronze Age onwards were gathering food from the sea shore. Limpet shells, often in large quantities, are found on most settlement sites in Scilly from the prehistoric to the Post-Medieval period (Ratcliffe & Straker, 1996). Previously there have been 2 studies (from Scillonian middens) of limpet shells – which usually make up the bulk of any domestic midden – Halangy Down (Townsend 1967) and Samson (Mason 1984). Evidence from a site at Porth Killier suggests that heavy exploitation of marine resources took place in the Bronze Age (Ratcliffe & Straker 1996). During 1996 excavations at Porth Killier took place prior to construction of a sea wall. Within the prehistoric remains present a substantial shell midden was identified, from which samples were taken and have been analysed for the purposes of this report. Prior to these excavations carried out by Cornish Archaeological Unit, eight bulk samples were taken from six of the layers exposed at Porth Killier by Vanessa Straker in September 1989. The shells from these samples also form part of the marine mollusc analysis described in this report.
Back at the Inn and suitably refreshed we repair to the bar where we compare notes on our respective days with John and Jenny before supper. The following day Nick and I will plan to spend time on Bryher, possibly my favourite island of the group based on my visits to Scilly so far. Mike and Carolyn plan to visit Bryher in the morning and the Abbey Gardens in the afternoon.