Steve Anderson

The Scillies tour (the Kelping process)

Page 3 of 6

May 2011

I decided after 5 days or so of wandering round the island, to visit Bryher. It was not that I was bored with Aggy as we affectionately refer to the island, on every circumnavigation I would spot something new, or meet someone interesting or see a rock from a different state of the tide, but time was pressing on and there were other islands to see.


Bryher has a subtly different atmosphere to St Agnes, because of the spring tides we were landed on a small sandy beach on the south western corner of the island and this gave our landfall a somewhat uninhabited feel about it as there was no sign of any life at all. After a short clockwise stroll passing through a couple of small but lovely meadows decorated with all of the available spring flowers the island had to offer, I meandered past the Hell bay hotel, Bryher’s very smart accommodation, complete with heated open air pool, a mini golf course and an art themed interior decorated with sculptures and paintings from artists with a local connection, including Barbara Hepworth (the only one I recognised). The island is by comparison to St Agnes pretty quiet, and after a good walk round ended up in the one and only pub, the Fraggle rock. Am I the only one that though Fraggle rock was a children’s TV program? I had a fine locally fettled pasty for lunch and a pint of Doombar to wash it all down with, then another just to make sure. The landlord was looking after a very noisy gosling in the bar when I arrived, a situation which seemed to be quite unremarkable to him and the other customer, a local who worked at the boat yard, and who, judging by his colourful attire had worked through the thick end of the anti fouling season, he resembled someone who had had a face to face row with Jackson Pollock during a fully inspired daubing session. I walked back round with the painted worker, and on admiring the Gladiolus Byzantinus (wild Gladioli) I was rather tersely told that they were “whistling Jacks, although the English probably had some sort of other daft name for them”. “Wow” I thought, a Bryher nationalist, you don’t get many of them to the English pound! While we had been on Bryher I had spotted a couple walking from Tresco to Bryher, which I think was only possible because of the low spring tides we were experiencing.

After all that excitement and a whole different island to take on board I returned to the campsite for a mug of coffee, my stove could boil a kettle in a nano second, about the only benefit of this type of stove it would appear, and a quiet read and nap before descending on the Turks for some supper and entertainment, I had a very fine steak and a good if rather extended chat with Rob the landlord and a couple of hardy locals, during which time my bar tending skills were put to the test, before meandering back the mile or so to the campsite and a good sleep in preparation for a reasonably early start at the quay to reset Julian’s pots the next day, with Geoff my fellow potter, and one of Julian's house guests.

Still no lobsters! 12 mackerel, 10 pollock and 2 fine sand eels, the sand eels here are huge and can be eaten, indeed the chef at the Turks did eat one and declared it to be robust, but to put this in context he also ate a raw Pollock’s eye, so while his food was superb, I found some of his personal experimentation somewhat questionable.

I was invited by Geoff and Rose his wife to join them for supper to sample some of the crab and mackerel we had caught, served with lovely local potatoes and vegetables and helped down with a light white wine it was all very delicious. All of these excellent fresh local ingredients really make dining in the Scillies a great experience, and the Turks head in particular utilises as much fresh local produce as possible.

The next day I had decided to visit St Martin’s, if for no other reason to take a look at the campsite and decide if I had made an error of judgment placing all of my gull’s eggs in one basket labelled Aggy.

Start every day with a smile and get it over with. (W.C.Fields)