Visitors wanting to get away from the stress of mainland life find themselves surrounded by clear water and clean air straight off the vast sweep of the Atlantic. On a cloudless night the stars are bright in the purity of the unpolluted sky. The paths that wind around the deeply indented coastline provide a succession of light-filled views, from the curving white sand bar between St. Agnes and Gugh, to the great weathered granite carns on the Wingletang downs to the south.
St. Agnes changes constantly with the seasons. From November to March many islanders are involved in flower farming - harvesting early narcissus in the frost-free climate - while the rest of the year is taken up with cultivation, fishing, the sale of bulbs, flowers and craft products, and catering for guests. In the summer holidays the guest houses, campsite, and self-catering cottages fill up with families looking forward to long sunny days on the beach, boating, exploring other islandsand eating outside the pub, or in Covean garden cafe. Friday night is "gig night" when visitors and locals can take a trip on the Spirit of St. Agnes to watch the islands six oared pilot gig, Shah, race against St. Marys and other off island gigs, followed by a hot chocolate and brandy in the Turks Head.
Many visitors, however, find Scilly at its most peaceful and lovely in the low season months: in Springtime, when the island emerges freshly scrubbed from the winter gales - cushions of sea thrift flowering along the shore and every hedge alive with wild flowers; or in the Autumn, which often sees rare birds pausing on the island during their long migrations.
People of all ages love this island. It's safe, clean, and very beautiful. But it's not artificially perfect, and it centres around a working community. So it will rain sometimes; visitors may overhear the occasional sound of a band playing inthe Island Hall; they might even get stuck behind a somewhat eccentric collection of vehicles collecting the days freight deliveries from the launch. But whatever time of year you visit, you can always find a rock to sit on where you're entirely alone, and where you can hear nothing but the sound of birds and the wind and the waves.
Adrian Pearce The Bulb Shop 423002 for flowers, bulbs, souvenirs, crafts.
The Post Office Stores 422364 for groceries, wines and spirits, gifts.
Scillyshop.com. The internet store selling scillonian merchandise based on St Agnes.