St.Agnes, apart from St.Mary's where we were staying, was the first "off-island" we ever visited. Even on a calm day, the half hour crossing can be a little choppy, but if you feast your eyes on the white lighthouse gleaming on top of the island, it's not too bad. And that comes from a self confessed non-sailor! First port of call (after the ladies!) is always the Turks Head. This is the most southerly hostelry in the British Isles. Sitting outside overlooking the tiny harbour, you can look back over the whole group of islands (inhabited ones), sipping hot chocolate from a Turk's Head Mug, which is yours to take away with you afterwards! A novel idea, but they sell hundreds that way! Across from the main island is the much smaller island of Gugh, reachable by land only when the tide is out. You can walk and climb round the whole of the Gugh in less than 2 hours at a steady pace, so it is well worth a visit if the tides are right. Do watch the time though, because if you ARE stranded on Gugh until next tide, there are no loos, no cafes, in fact, no inhabitants! As you begin to walk around St Agnes, it is worth branching left at the post office to go inland to the Punchbowl. This is a huge rock formation, which on one particularly hot day, provided us with the only shade on the island! From here, make your way down to Horse Point, the most southerly point in the whole of the British Isles. Herer we sat, without seeing another person, for more than 2 hours. All you can hear is the sound of the sea breaking over the rocks and the odd seagull screaming overhead. From Horse Point, begin to make your way round to the right.....it is far more rugged on this side of the island. But the view in my opinion is the best one from any of the islands. Rugged, sharp rocks and numerous tiny islands, all looking innocent on a calm day. But the number of shipwrecks that have taken place on these rocks has to be read abo
ut to be believed. Standing proud beyond all these rocks and islets, is the tall, distinct Bishop Rock Light house. It appears deceptively small from Agnes, but is tall and round enough for a helipad on top. It stands above the infamous Bishop Rock, responsible on it's own for numerous wrecks, and it's foundations go deep down into the rock. It is strong enough to have survived any weather thrown at it so far by the elements. Conveniently placed benches along this coast provide welcome rest stops, as this part of the island is the most demanding to negotiate, but it is worth doing rather than cutting inland, and a visit to the tiny church beneath the white lighthouse, nestling at the bottom of a steepish hill, is worth a visit. All the graveyards in Scilly bear witness to the rugged existance that the islanders have had in the past, and reading the tombstones can throw a lot of insight into their way of life before tourism took over. As with all circular tours, the final port of call is, yes, The Turk's Head! You can watch the Water Taxis's approaching from here, and hence not miss your return! And of course, a pint or another hot chocolate is always welcome at the end of an invigorating day!