The ‘Scilly season’ started late, and nervously, this year but that makes the dazzling white beaches all the more alluring
Of all the striking scenes that the Isles of Scilly offer – from beaches that look too tropical to be in Britain to wild boulder-strewn headlands and the magical Abbey Gardens – the one that lodged in my mind was Bishop Rock lighthouse. Writers and painters the world over have been drawn to the dramatic potential of lighthouses, but Bishop Rock is special. It watches over one of the most treacherous stretches of British coast, four miles from the nearest inhabited island, and was finally completed, on its tiny mound of rock, in 1858, after a previous attempt was swept away. (It was further strengthened in 1887.) On nearby rocky Rosevear lie the ruins of a cottage where the workers who built it lived, rowing out to the site with giant blocks of granite that had been cut and rounded on St Mary’s quay. Incredibly, no lives were lost in its construction.