, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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,

Poitiers Airport – I was living just minutes away at the time

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.

As I recall it, we really were at this angle early on. I think we were banking.
The horrible defacement that is Land’s End

Penzance to Tresco is just 15 minutes, so the first of the 145 (five inhabited) Isles of Scilly soon came into sight.

Its heliport
First impressions of Tresco at 10.30: cold, windy, and spitting with rain
Within ten minutes, the copter was off again. Basically it’s just an aerial bus service.

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.

They check that you have fastened your four-point seat belt properly

Lift off.

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!

The gang’s out again
The swan is still babysitting the young shelduck

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.