Island Hopping: St Mary’s, the other bit.

Today I walked up to the other other side of St Mary’s. You’ll never guess what I found! OK if you’ve been paying attention you can probably guess.

But first, another entrance grave.

From the English Heritage panel:

Innisidgen Upper Burial Chamber
There are as many as 80 prehistoric chambered tombs known on the Isles of Scilly, but this is one of the best preserved. They are generally of the form known as ‘entrance graves’, and date from the Neolithic or the early Bronze Age. The name ‘entrance grave’ may be misleading, since this type of prehistoric monument is unlikely to have been constructed solely for burial purposes. Such ‘graves’ could also have functioned as shrines or as a focus of ceremonies. . . . Although nothing has been found in this chamber, the walls revealed traces of rough clay mortar, suggesting that it was once plastered and possibly even decorated.

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Island Hopping: a day on Tresco

This is Tresco, the second largest island of Scilly. It’s about 3.5 km long so you can easily walk from the north to the south.

In the north you’ll find King Charles’ Castle, which is neither a castle nor built by, for or in the time of King Charles. It’s a 16th century fort, but it was occupied by Royalist Forces in the Civil War (a century later).

And this is Cromwell’s Castle (also not a castle), built by Parlimentarian forces after they took the island from the Royalists during the Civil War.

On a clear day you can certainly see the Isles of Scilly from here. Also on a rainy day, if slightly less then. The island to the rear is Bryher.

And that’s Tresco stretching out out before us. The southern tip looks a long way away.

Castle to Castle.

The main settled areas are in the middle of the island. To the south are the Abbey Gardens, the main attraction on the island.

Little plane!

In 1834, Augustus Smith left Hertfordshire and took up residence on the Isles of Scilly as Lord Proprietor and leaseholder of all the islands, choosing Tresco as his home… He selected a site adjacent to St Nicholas Priory – which had fallen into disrepair in the sixteenth century – to build his home. On a rocky outcrop above these ruins, Augustus Smith built his house, which he named Tresco Abbey. In addition to constructing the house, he started almost immediately creating a garden based around the priory ruins. In order to protect his early plantings from the winter gales, he built a series of walls around the garden. The garden then expanded across the south-facing hillside on a series of terraces carved from the granite subsoil.
Tresco Island


More here.

The unique Valhalla collection is situated within Tresco Abbey Garden and contains some 30 figureheads, as well as name boards and other decorative ships’ carvings from the days of sail. Over the years, many ships and lives have been lost on the rocky coasts of the Scillies and it is from shipwrecks – mostly of merchant vessels – that the collection was built up, starting in about 1840, by Augustus Smith of Tresco Abbey, ‘Lord Proprietor’ of the Islands. . . . [M]ost of the figureheads date from the middle and end of the 19th century and come from merchant sailing vessels or early steamships that were wrecked on the Isles of Scilly.
Tresco Island

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The Mine of Botallack

Yesterday the forecast was overcast in the morning with heavy rain starting around noon. I had my doubts about going all the way to the other coast to check out Botallack. Even if it wasn’t going to be raining in the morning, overcast and grey wasn’t going to be good for the photos I wanted to take. Maybe it could wait until the next day. Which seemed  a waste of my second last day here.

But “the other coast” is only 25 minutes away by bus, so I could go for a look and if necessary, come back!

It is rather cool to be sitting on a bus, doing a bit of reading, checking the map, then to look out and see these odd shaped ruins.

They don’t know when mining first started in this area. Maybe not long after people first looked at rocks and thought they could do something more useful than just banging them together, which lead to the Bronze Age. (Do you ever wonder how someone came up with the idea of melting stone to make weapons and other cool stuff? And did they call it melted stone at first?)

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St Michael’s Mount

This is the island you can see from Penzance. It’s about 5 miles around the coast and it’s a tidal island. (Yes, another.)

So it’s accessed by a causeway. I arrived early because I wanted to watch the causeway uncover. Which is really cool to watch.  You see it appearing ahead through the water, then the water pulls back and you can walk along. Then you stop and wait for more to appear.

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A Day Trip To Alnwick

So this is Alnwick (pronounced Annick), the county town of Northumberland (the administrative centre). It has two major tourist attractions: the castle and the garden.

Alnwick Castle has the feel of a theme park, without the park. It feelsl ike it’s set up to have a lot going on but it wasn’t going on.

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Holy Island

South of Berwick, just off the coast, is Holy Island, a tidal island with an interesting history. It can only be accessed when the tide is low enough to expose the causeway. So if you want to visit, it has to either be during this low tide time, or an overnight stay. Today, the low time ended about 1.35 pm, which meant at 1 pm everything started closing. As most places don’t open until 10 am, it’s not a long visiting period. Fortunately, I stayed overnight.

There are two main attractions on Holy Island. The Prior and (seen in the background here) and the castle that is not a castle.

There is also a good view of the castle that is a castle, but that’s on other other side of the water so we’ll ignore it.

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Berwick-upon-Tweed: defences

Berwick has walls and ramparts and gates and bits of castle. It’s all a bit complicated, but I’ll see if I can make sense of it.

The White Wall, with steps that originally ran up to the castle. (I think the front bit is a later addition for atillery.) Most of the castle remains were removed c.1850 to build the train station.

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Interlude: Berwick-upon-Tweed

I spent the day walking along ramparts and looking at walls. I want to share some photos on that but it requires some thinking first, so in the meantime, here’s some photos of Berwick.

Berwick-upon-Tweed is in Northumberland, on the Tweed River. The river forms part of border between Scotland and England, and Berwick is on the Scottish side of the river but in England.

It’s a town of winding streets

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Dramatic hillside castle anyone?

If you’re going to Dunnottar Castle by bus, you have a choice of ways to get there. There’s a bus stop on the main road just around from the entrance road or you can get off in the nearby town of Stonehaven and take the forty-minute walk around the cliffs. OK I’m joking.

Of course you’ll do the walk around the cliffs. It has the best views.

And random Greek temples on the hillside.

Now this is the best view. It is worth the climbing the hill and walking around the cliffs just to see this. Really.

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