Canada goose, Cornwall, Herring gull, Isles of Scilly, Land's End, Little egret, Minack Theatre, Mute swan, Newlyn, Penzance Helicopters, Scilly Isles, St Michael's Mount, The Old Quay House, Tresco, Tresco Abbey Gardens
Wednesday, 29th June. It promised to be a reasonably fine morning. As the sun came up, it caught the feathers of the birds as beautifully as the setting evening sun did.
But I couldn’t hang around, I had to be at Penzance Heliport by 9.30.
I had booked to go to St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly by helicopter in 2021, but that had been cancelled because of fog. A helicopter trip would have completed my trio of aerial ambitions. I had been in a glider in 2009 on an incredibly hot day,
and in a balloon exactly four years ago today (blog post here). So a helicopter trip would complete the trio, and Penzance to the Scillies would do nicely. This time, I had booked, with Penzance Helicopters, not to St Mary’s but to Tresco, because of the lovely Gardens there.
Our helicopter arrived and, having disgorged its incoming passengers, refuelled.
Still inside the building, we had a safety briefing. In due course we were directed to seats inside the aircraft. I was fortunate and had a window seat. (Given that there were 12 passengers in three rows, that was a 50/50 chance.)
We were off! But I had no camera. It was in my small backpack, which I had had to surrender to the hold. (It really was sardines inside the copter, and of course I was the only one wearing a mask – an FFP3 one.) But I had grabbed my phone, which took this outward series of pictures.
Penzance to Tresco is just 15 minutes, so the first of the 145 (five inhabited) Isles of Scilly soon came into sight.
I spent almost all of my time on the island in the Tresco Abbey Gardens, which will be the subject of my next post. (The weather much improved and I had a lovely time!)
I had to be back at the Heliport at 3.45 pm, one hour before take off. (It did seem to be an awful imbalance of time – a whole hour passed waiting for a 15-minute flight!) But half an hour before that I was (stuck) on the other side of the heliport, and saw the flight before arrive and take off. I did take a video of the latter, but had not reckoned on the enormous buffeting I would receive from the beast, which rendered the video useless.
After that hour, and another briefing, we were guided to the helicopter, and again I had a window seat.
I was able to recognise points of the island now as we flew away, the round lake I had not been able to get near, a larger one I should perhaps have headed for rather, and the bay I had visited, and of course the sheltered dark green mass of the Abbey Gardens.
We flew at 1000 feet/300 metres.
The captain helpfully pointed out that we were to pass the Minack Theatre – something I had not expected to see, and certainly not from this angle, for another two days.
Neither had I thought to see my car from above – the small one, fourth along,in the near row of eight vehicles.
And I was pleased see, as I happened to look up, St Michaels Mount. (Actually some miles away, but I zoomed in on it.)
Back at the ranch (The Old Quay House, Hayle), I caught up with the wildlife – that’s The Causeway behind.
I took a cup of tea out on the the patio, and was joined by a Herring gull. To cut a long story short, over fifteen minutes or so he came and went three times, and I suspected his motives.
A firm but not shouted ‘No’, such as I use on the cats when necessary, was sufficient to stop him breaking and entering. I think he must have found booty inside on previous occasions.
But the cheekiest was, he attempted to lift my mug up!
My verdict on the helicopter part of my trip to Tresco? Well, I’ve completed the trio of experiences, but this was all rather prosaic. Outstanding by far was the balloon, and the glider flight was wonderful. (If only it hadn’t been 30 degrees C. That, along with the fact that the pilot had to do a lot of circling to catch the thermals, meant that my tendency to travel sickness had kicked in.)
I’m fantasising about having a holiday in the Isles of Scilly. Should it come off, I shall go by boat, not least for environmental reasons.
My brother in law and his family have taken a holiday on Tresco for many years. They love it.
I can well understand why.
Your phone did you in good stead on the outward flight. What a cheeky Herring Gull!
And that was not the last I saw of him…
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Congratulations on taking to the air and completing your third aerial ambition. It looked terrifying to me of course – but a very quick flight. I enjoyed watching the video with my feet firmly on the ground.
He certainly was a cheeky herring gull – glad you managed to repel him.
He was amusing me. I could have shooed him away each time he returned, but chose rather to see what he was up to!
En version agrandie, on a l’impression d’être avec toi dans l’hélico, surtout pour les photos avec le portable. Vidéo très réussie également. Bravo pour cette 3e expérience !
Je vois que les goélands cornouaillais sont encore plus effrontés que les bretons ! Son numéro a l’air bien au point.
The Herring gull saga will be continued…
Olive Simpson said:
Well done you on the helicopter trip – and lovely to see the Isles from above. Don’t underestimate your phone camera – they are remarkably good. And I think your choice of hotel room really made the trip!
Thanks. For me, the main problem with a phone camera is no viewfinder. Yes, fabulous room!
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Hazel Priestley-Hobbs said:
I’m glad the helicopter trip worked out alright and the weather co-operated. Friends here had a ride booked and rescheduled four times before the conditions were considered suitable for safe flying. Great to see the Minack Theatre from above too.
Four times! I thought myself hard done by having it cancelled just once the year before.
Yes, seeing Minack from the air was an unexpected bonus to a trip that in the event felt rather humdrum.