Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Flying into Tresco

The Isles of Scilly are only 20 miles from Lands End, but the 20 minute helicopter flight seems like a trip to another country and another time. A few seconds after take off from the bustling town of Penzance, the big supermarkets and sidings of the railway terminus shrink below as you circle Mounts Bay and leave St Michaels Mount behind. Hugging the coast at first you fly over Newlyn Harbour, crammed with trawlers, it's Cornwall's busiest fishing port. The catches landed here are whisked off to Europe's top restaurants. Turning onshore the Sikorsky 61 passes over the patchwork of small fields of the Penwith peninsula with the chimneys of the abandoned tin mines visible far off as the north coast comes into view. Then before you know it, the rugged cliffs and tawdry tourist trap of Lands End are below and you are out over the Atlantic Ocean. For anyone more used to flying high in airliners the waves look awfully close and the sight of the Longships lighthouse with its tiny helipad doesn't offer any comfort to the nervous flyer so it's a relief when low grey shapes appear on the horizon. Land Ho!
As you get nearer the sea haze clears and you can start to pick out features, the red and white striped daymark on St Martins, shaped like a giant artillery shell and the strip shaped bulb field with their high windbreak hedges. It certainly doesn't look like part of England below, the long beaches of sparkling white sand and clear blue water could be the South Seas or Carribean. This impression increases as the helicopter comes into land at the airfield and you see the palm trees of Tresco's famous Abbey Gardens.Touchdown, and you instinctively (though needlessly) duck your head below the swooshing rotor as you walk to the large wooden shed that serves as the airport terminal. Welcome to Tresco!

To see my stock aerial photos of the helicopter flight to Tresco click HERE

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