Isles of Scilly 2012

The following were my thoughts when leaving the Isles of Scilly after visiting them in 2012.

The Isles of Scilly are a place of rare beauty. They lie about 30 miles off the tip of Cornwall, and consist of five inhabited islands and hundreds of other smaller islands and rocky outcrops.

They have a warmer and generally sunnier climate than the rest of the UK. The beaches are generally almost white, and there's hundreds of them.

But they have their problems. Being out in the Atlantic, the weather can be rough, with high winds a particular problem.

It was always the case that the boat and the aeroplanes were often cancelled because of the weather, and the helicopter from Penzance the only reliable way of reaching the islands.

But since the end of October 2012 the helicopter has stopped operating, and the boat doesn't run during the winter. Over Christmas 2012 (as happens many other times) planes could also not run, leaving real problems for anyone wanting to get to or from the islands

The islands depend on tourism as a mainstay of their economy. But also very important is that transport for island produce such as early season flowers will become unreliable, and islanders will have difficulty getting to the mainland for things they need such as specialist and emergency healthcare.

The Scottish government sees the importance of transport to and from its islands for the well being of the communities, but it seems that's not the case in England.

Since 2012 the number of small planes has increased and the islands have survived, though with lower visitor numbers after 2012. In May 2018 a smaller helicopter service started running, run by the Steamship Company, who also run the Scillonian boat and the Aeroplanes. They have actively campaigned against the re-introduction of helicopter services from Penzance.


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© Gordon Stokes, 1980-2018