Ask a Brit about the Isles of Scilly and you get (or at least we did), “I hear they are lovely but I’ve never been there”. We got this from about 25 people that we surveyed. Not once did we find anyone among our acquaintances that had actually been there but they all knew they were lovely. So either the Isles of Scilly (I was warned NOT to call them the Scilly Isles) have been doing a bang up job of promotion or they really are lovely.
Idiot that I can be, I’d been housebound for several months due to a bad knee and had surgery on July 15. Of course I was thinking that by Aug 6 I’d be fine and ready to go plus I really had to get out of the house. I was going bonkers just sitting and reading every day. My kindle bill on Amazon has been quite high. I knew that one of the major things to do on the various Isles was walking and hiking but I had also found on line that you could rent a golf cart to get around so I happily set up a trip and rented the cart in advance, found the BnB and got flights from Gatwick to Newquay and then the Skybus from Newquay to St
. Mary’s. Our BnB hosts advised us to get the travel insurance from Skybus as there are times when they cannot fly due to the weather., ummm, right.
We’re off in the morning. I’ve got my walking stick for my dodgy knee and have made arrangements with Flybe to scooter me down from the the terminal waiting area to the gate. I’ve done this once before and it’s a bit nervy as they never seem to take you down until the last minute when the departure signs are all flashing – Last Call.
Another lady was in the cart with me. She was flying home to Newquay. They told her she would have to walk down the stairs at the gate. She was barely able to do that. I could do it with a bit of gimping and going slow but she was struggling. Oddly, the wheelchair was able to go down an elevator BUT supposedly the elevator was out of the secure area so she would have had to go through security again! How strange and what an odd way to do it. So she struggled down the stairs and then got back in the wheelchair to wheel to the plane where they had a lift to get her to the plane. Seems like they could figure that out a bit better for people who can’t walk at all!
Usually we try to get an exit row but when you have asked for assistance, they aren’t gonna let you do that
. Yep, the ride to the gate was nice but believe me, I could throw out the window and climb out the door just as well as the next person so our seats weren’t the best but the ride from Gatwick to Newquay isn’t too long.
Newquay airport is small. You land, wait for your bags on the single belt, walk outside and down the sidewalk to go back into the departure area. This is also the only airport we’ve been in the U.K. where you have to pay a 5 pound fee to get into the departure area. Kids under 16 don’t need it and when we went to get ours, a woman had just accidentally purchased one for her under 16 child so we bought hers and got a second one for us. This woman looked like she really needed to save all her pounds when possible as she had on the oddest skirt that was ripped to shreds in various places. I know that jeans are considered fashionable when ripped at the knees and such but pretty sure her skirt wasn’t supposed to be. Maybe that’s just her traveling clothes in case of accident so she doesn’t lose anything nice.
Through security and into the departure lounge and we picked up a few snacks. Flybe has drinks and snacks on board but you must purchase them and the flight on Skybus is only 1/2 hour plus it’s a really small plane so no flight attendant
. Also, the luggage weight is only 15kg. very hard for us to fly with such a low limit – LOL. we’ve really gotten bad about taking so much crap with us everywhere.
Off to one side of the lounge is a sign which says “Skybus departure area for safety briefing” or something like that. We gathered over there and before too long, a Skybus employee came and put on the safety video which is like every safety video everywhere except telling you how small this plane is. Then we head out to the tarmac to load up and since I am stumping along with my walking stick we are almost the last people on board the plane and therefore unable to get through the aisle to a good seat up front. We end up sitting behind a rather large, covered, table type thing which gave us no where to put our small carry on bags nor our feet. I stretched mine out into the aisle.
The co pilot gets on board and tells the people in the last row how to open the door in an emergency and then closes and locks the door/stairs combo. he goes to the front of the plane and reminds us of the safety areas and then sits next to the pilot in the cockpit where there is no door between us and them
. lovely little plane.
We’re on the wrong side of the plane to see much of the coast but I’m thinking I’ll be able to get some good photos on the way back then because it’s 2 seats on our side and only one seat on the other side. So we have views of the ocean and not much else. But as I mentioned, it’s only 1/2 hour flight so we just relaxed and watched the ocean and the propellers and each other.
Landing on St. Mary’s island, doesn’t take long to get off the plane, wait for our bags, and hop into the bus. They have a regular crew of people running the shuttles from the airport into town to drop you at your hotel or BnB. They meet you right in the luggage area and have you sorted and ready to go before you’re quite sure what’s happening. They do it so much that it flows quite nicely. We’re in a van with two other couples who are all repeat visitors so we’re the “newbies” and he drove us through a couple of places to point out sites to us which the other people didn’t seem to mind. We’re the last to be dropped at our BnB. Each other couple made arrangements for pick up for the return to the airport so we did likewise when he dropped us at our BnB
Santa Maria Guest House looked to be a lovely place but as we drove there, we see that it is on a hill and it is up a long flight of stairs to get to the front door. Great. my knee is not happy now at all. The shuttle driver kindly carries my suitcase up to the front door as I am pulling myself up the handrail. We walk into the BnB and are greeted by our hostess who had gotten confused somehow that we were coming over by ship and had called me but because we were flying, I had my phone on flight mode and never got the call so she was a bit distressed but not at me since I’d sent her all the info and she just had forgotten. We go into the lounge to sign in and get information on the house and what to do and such. They point out places in Hugh Town and Old Town – we can see both from the front window – and I’m looking and thinking – dang, a lot of walking. Then we get our key to room #5 (didn’t get a sea view room because didn’t ask for it in time) and have to go up another long flight of stairs to get to the room. My hubby hauls up my suitcase for me this time.
After resting for awhile, we head into town to find a place for dinner and to look around. They’ve told us we should make dinner reservations most nights because it is holiday season. We find Kavorna, first place we hit, and make reservations for around 6 because I don’t want to walk around too much. We walk to the wharf/quay and see that the tide is out because half the boats in the harbor are grounded. Love the tides in these places. Lots of choices on different isles to visit and lots to do but most of it is walking. So we are probably going to do one thing a day and just rest and read the rest of the time. Not the best way to spend time on the Isles of Scilly but gonna have to do it that way.
One thing surprised us that there were more cars than we thought. For some reason, we had thought that there weren’t any cars except for the shuttle buses for the airports, some delivery people and some taxis. But people have and own cars there. Not many and as such the roads are quite narrow and most people walk in the streets but still, are plenty of cars. Guess I should have realized that when the Skybus site had a link to renting a car. We will manage without.
A nice dinner at Kavorna then stumping up the hill and up the double flight of stairs and our first afternoon in the lovely Isles of Scilly is at an end.