Our short week in Scilly is drawing to a close. I’ve not rated St Mary’s very highly during past visits. It is the largest and most populated of the islands with an urban centre attached to the harbour at Hugh Town. It lacks the wild rugged ambiance of the other islands. At the time of our visit the island is getting ready for an invasion of folk who will be coming
for the annual gig-racing festival. Something like 150 gigs have been transported to St Mary’s in the preceding weeks and stored in fields prior to being brought down to Town Beach by Hugh Town from where the boats will be rowed to their starting buoys for the race back. Around 4000 people mill around Hugh Town and its pubs during the weekend. We are due to leave on the Friday when the event kicks off with the veteran’s race in the evening. But on the day we are on St Mary’s there are gigs and crews very much in evidence and we get a flavour of what is to come.
Our mission of the day is to walk round the Peninnis headland. We make a circuit of The Garrison and across the top of Porthcressa Beach to approach the headland. Around the cliff top there are some very fine examples of granite tors and rocking stones. We complete our circuit with a wander round the cemetery attached to St Mary’s Church in Old Town, final resting place of the late Harold Wilson. We cross over the island to regain Hugh Town where our senses of smell draw us to a pasty shop and afterwards we have a hour or so before we are due to take our boat back to Tresco. I find my way into a show selling sailing clothing and treat myself to a couple of things that I will enjoy taking to Fefe and Francois’ boat for our Mediterranean experience with them in June.