Angie and Mark Underwood
An audience with the Bishop
One of our favourite trips in Scilly is on one of the St Mary's Boatman's Association boats on a trip to visit the Bishop Rock Lighthouse.
The Lighthouse stands on a rock ledge about 4 miles west of St Agnes. The first lighthouse was built in 1847 but before completion the whole structure was swept away in a storm in 1850. A new Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1858 and further strengthened in 1887 after the first structure cracked. In essence the strengthening consisted of a second building being built around the first and the height being extended by 12m.
The Lighthouse faces the full force of the Atlantic and so trips only run when the weather is suitable and sea state calm.
The boatmen are full of knowledge. The trip starts with a run past Annet with a good chance to see Puffins (April until late July), Guillemots, Razorbills and other sea birds as you head through the Western Isles. There is always a chance to see other wildlife with plenty of Atlantic Grey Seals and the possibility of Porpoises, Dolphins and Sunfish to name a few.
As the trip continues through the Western Rocks, sites and tales of interest are pointed out with mention of a few of the many shipwrecks. The trip passes Rosevear, a small island used as a basecamp by the workers building the Lighthouse. Parts of their cottages can still be seen.
The highlight is reaching the Bishop for a close up view.
Return is via St Agnes where you can get off the boat and spend the afternoon.
If your on Scilly and they are running the trip, do it. Don't wait, if the weather changes they might not run it again during your visit.