Boot Up for Walk Scilly 2017

Posted on Jan 19th 2017

Tickets are now on sale for Walk Scilly 2017, the archipelago's popular walking festival with seven days of themed walks led by expert guides, taking place from 1st to 7th April.

Now in its 11th year, Walk Scilly has grown to offer 29 walks, more than ever before, including new walks and old favourites such as wildlife discovery tours, food foraging forays, top-to-toe rambles across all five inhabited islands, and a Mediterranean stroll through Tresco Abbey Garden.

Scilly is a walker’s paradise and Walk Scilly is the very best way of exploring the islands’ spectacular scenery, wildlife and heritage.

New for this year is a rare visit to the tiny uninhabited island of Nornour led by local archaeologist Dr. Katharine Sawyer, as part of a boat trip around the Eastern Isles with seabirder and photographer Joe Pender. Katharine will be telling walkers of the island’s long period of habitation during the Bronze and Iron Ages, and the hut circles that were uncovered in the early 1960s, revealing numerous Roman finds, such as more than 300 brooches from the 1st to 3rd centuries, thought to be offerings of respect to a local cult.

There’s another chance to unearth the history of two more of Scilly’s uninhabited islands. Investigate post-medieval ruins, Bronze Age burial chambers and stone rows on Samson, uninhabited since the mid-1800s, and the two main archaeological sites on St. Helen’s – the early medieval hermitage and 18th century Pest House, an isolation hospital for plague cases. 

This year, you can also get spooked on a ghost walk through Hugh Town up to the Star Castle hotel on St. Mary’s, built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The walk ends at the hotel’s Dungeon Bar, where 400 years ago some of the most notorious prisoners in the country were incarcerated.

Join the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust’s Nikki Banfield to discover fascinating facts about things that wash up on our shores, such as nurdles, sea beans, lego, hazelnuts and Smartie lids, and learn how we can make our seas and beaches safer not only for our wildlife but also ourselves.

Take a tour with owner Tim Hicks of Troytown Farm, a family dairy farm on St. Agnes that makes more than 30 flavours of ice cream from a small herd of Jersey cows that graze by the Atlantic. Walk to the iconic red-and-white Daymark on St. Martin’s and along the backbone of the island with flower farmer Zoe Julian. Scour the white sands of St. Martin’s with jewellery designer Fay Page, looking out for cowrie shells and other treasures that have inspired her designs over the years. Then head to Fay’s studio to see some traditional casting. Explore too the seven peaks of Bryher with artist, fireman and gig coxswain Chris Potterton, immerse yourself in Scilly’s rich maritime history with shipwreck expert Richard Larn OBE, or enjoy wildlife adventures across the islands with local ornithologist Will Wagstaff.

David Jackson, Executive Director of the Islands' Partnership which is responsible for organising the event, says: ‘We’re delighted to be kicking off our 2017 season of events with Walk Scilly. The festival goes from strength to strength each year and I’m especially excited about the new walks we’re introducing. A big thanks goes to the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and all our local guides – many of whom are islanders whose families have lived on the archipelago for generations.”

The festival’s evening programme will include a welcome party at The Mermaid Inn on St. Mary’s, with some impromptu shanty singing! There will also be sunset drinks and canapes at Juliet’s Garden Restaurant and Bar, an evening at the Isles of Scilly Museum, an acoustic folk night at the Bishop & Wolf, and as the festival finale, a candlelit performance by Duo Prospero, the islands’ own violin and woodwind duo, at Old Town Church.

Anyone sailing or flying to Scilly between 30th March and 10th April inclusive can take advantage of a 10% travel discount with Isles of Scilly Travel. Phone the booking line on 01736 334220 and quote WLK17.

Tickets for each walk are limited so book now! Phone 01720 424036 or email events@visitislesofscilly.com. You can read the full Walk Scilly programme here.