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Living and Birding on Scilly. (1 Viewer)

chowchilla

Well-known member
I don't mind admitting that I love the Isles of Scilly more than I can say. Despite the title, it isn't just about birds either--the Islands offer so much more.

Now, of course taking a holiday there, whether it be for birding, or other purposes, is a world away from actually living there. The islands are remote, expensive for daily living, have insane house prices, and may lack certain amenities one takes for granted on the mainland. The compensations however, range from the peace and serenity of the islands (outside the tourist season, at least), the lack of crime, the beauty and of course the natural history of the islands.

In my advancing years (I'm 56 today) I want to slow down and destress. I can easily say that Scilly is by far and away my favourite place in the UK. I'm under no illusions however about the logistical challenges of moving there.

Has anyone made the move to Scilly? What were your individual experiences?
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Anecdotal from a friend who moved to Scilly rather than my own experience, but one consideration might be the goldfish bowl effect. On a small island with a small population everybody knows everybody else's business intimately, some people find that unsettling at the least.

Cheers

John
 

chowchilla

Well-known member
Anecdotal from a friend who moved to Scilly rather than my own experience, but one consideration might be the goldfish bowl effect. On a small island with a small population everybody knows everybody else's business intimately, some people find that unsettling at the least.

Cheers

John
Indeed. And I'm acutely aware of this. In fact, I'd say it's the biggest downside of living in such an environment. If anything put me off entirely, it would be this--other factors not withstanding.
 

Mike C

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
England
Anecdotal from a friend who moved to Scilly rather than my own experience, but one consideration might be the goldfish bowl effect. On a small island with a small population everybody knows everybody else's business intimately, some people find that unsettling at the least.

Cheers

John

This was going to be my comment too.
One old chum who has just left to resume life on the mainland told me it was a difficult place to live, unless you had sufficient funds to be able to get away every few months.
I imagine that it’s great when the prevailing weather suits your mood or there are migrants everywhere.
But when you are hunkered down in a period of foul weather and the Gry Maritha and Scillonian III are stuck in Penzance harbour and no fresh food in the Co-op - it’s probably remarkably grim.

one sad description of Scilly I heard is "two thousand alcoholics stuck on a rock" and the old joke "the most confusing day on Scilly is Father’s Day"
 

chowchilla

Well-known member
Sounds like I definitely need to experience it, then. I wasn't sure if I wanted to move there, but now I definitely do!

In other words, I need to find out for myself whether it's a good move or not, and at the end of the day, if it doesn't work out, I can confidently predict that a move to the mainland will be slightly easier than a move between the UK and Aus (or the return), which is proving to be a ****ing nightmare.

Forgot to mention that I have flourished during the Covid pandemic and can honestly say it has been one of the happiest, most productive times in my life. I've written two books and am close to being able to pitch to agents. During periods of extreme wet here in Cairns, I have hunkered down for weeks on end and written. I don't need or want visitors and do best in semi-isolation with my laptop, some good books and solitary walks. At my stage in life, I have little interest in anything else, and just want a successful writing career, which I can at least hope for.
 

Mike C

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
England
Sounds like I definitely need to experience it, then. I wasn't sure if I wanted to move there, but now I definitely do!

In other words, I need to find out for myself whether it's a good move or not, and at the end of the day, if it doesn't work out, I can confidently predict that a move to the mainland will be slightly easier than a move between the UK and Aus (or the return), which is proving to be a ****ing nightmare.

I guess you could start by looking for a long term rental property and experience life on Scilly first hand.
There are often quite a few part-time jobs on offer, if you need to keep active or need a few extra quid

Good Luck
I'm there for two weeks in May and three weeks in October - see you at the biggy !
 

chowchilla

Well-known member
I guess you could start by looking for a long term rental property and experience life on Scilly first hand.

Good Luck
I'm there for two weeks in May and three weeks in October - see you at the biggy !
Too easy. Yeah, I may find Scilly a horrendous reality check, but the isolation is what appeals to me. I've done a lot of travelling in my life, seen a ton of amazing things, and met a ton of amazing people. Now, I just want it all to go away, as simpler things matter to me more than ever.

I also know Scilly regulars who never grow bored of the place. It most definitely isn't for everyone, and a lot of people 'get a life' by leaving. I'll see if I'm one of those, or whether it turns out to be the right move.
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
Hj Chow - good to see you posting again.

I can recommend it as a fabulous place - ideal for writing - plenty of places to hunker down and get on with it. My family history in the islands goes way back - possibly to some distant past relatives who lived on Samson! My great grandfather is buried in Old Town Churchyard, and I am still in touch with a second cousin who lives in Cornwall. My brother and I tried to persuade our father to buy a property there in the 1970's but although his mother was a native to the islands and he still enjoyed going there, he shied away from it. I vividly remember fabulous holidays there in the 1950's staying with our Great Aunt.

However, not sure I could cope with it full time. My brother once spent a whole winter on Bryher writing his dissertation for a Masters degree. He said it was a bit bleak in December/January.
 

chowchilla

Well-known member
Hj Chow - good to see you posting again.

I can recommend it as a fabulous place - ideal for writing - plenty of places to hunker down and get on with it. My family history in the islands goes way back - possibly to some distant past relatives who lived on Samson! My great grandfather is buried in Old Town Churchyard, and I am still in touch with a second cousin who lives in Cornwall. My brother and I tried to persuade our father to buy a property there in the 1970's but although his mother was a native to the islands and he still enjoyed going there, he shied away from it. I vividly remember fabulous holidays there in the 1950's staying with our Great Aunt.

However, not sure I could cope with it full time. My brother once spent a whole winter on Bryher writing his dissertation for a Masters degree. He said it was a bit bleak in December/January.
Funnily enough my only visit there was in winter, and that's what really attracted me to the place. It was mild, but rough enough for trips to the other islands to be nearly impossible--though I was able to get to St Agnes.

Writing is a very lonely/solitary career, depending on your perspective. You'd better get used to your own company because it typically involves long periods of solitude and quiet with just you, your laptop and your own thoughts and imagination. That suits me perfectly, and is why I flourished during Covid lockdowns. I got my best writing done when everyone just left me alone. When I got stuck on aspects of plot or execution, I'd do a circuit to the Esplanade and back, taking about twenty minutes (I'm only 2 blocks from the 'Nade) and often fix the problem by thinking it out on the move. Plus, of course I might see a few good birds on my circuit!

Fascinating that you have connections to the islands!
 

chowchilla

Well-known member
So I got a permanent full-time job on Scilly.

I had an overnight interview online. I now have the not entirely insurmountable task of finding somewhere to live there. May even end up renting a room off someone for a few months. I'll be living out of a suitcase for at least four months anyway whilst my stuff chugs across the world on a container ship.

But yeah, I'm moving to Scilly!

I've been thinking of posting a regular Scilly Birding Diary, here-assuming someone isn't already doing one?
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
So I got a permanent full-time job on Scilly.

I had an overnight interview online. I now have the not entirely insurmountable task of finding somewhere to live there. May even end up renting a room off someone for a few months. I'll be living out of a suitcase for at least four months anyway whilst my stuff chugs across the world on a container ship.

But yeah, I'm moving to Scilly!

I've been thinking of posting a regular Scilly Birding Diary, here-assuming someone isn't already doing one?
Good luck with your brave adventure. Magical Isles, I miss them.
 
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dantheman

Bah humbug
So I got a permanent full-time job on Scilly.

I had an overnight interview online. I now have the not entirely insurmountable task of finding somewhere to live there. May even end up renting a room off someone for a few months. I'll be living out of a suitcase for at least four months anyway whilst my stuff chugs across the world on a container ship.

But yeah, I'm moving to Scilly!

I've been thinking of posting a regular Scilly Birding Diary, here-assuming someone isn't already doing one?
There's always the hides at Lower Moors ;-) And Old Town Church (apparently).

My partner nearly got a position on Scillies a few years back (for a couple), but not quite. Would have been worth it perhaps. And I'm sure a blog/birding day would be well received on here.

Don't think the isolation would be any problem if you enjoy the outside and the sea ... nice one.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Supporter
There's always the hides at Lower Moors ;-) And Old Town Church (apparently).

My partner nearly got a position on Scillies a few years back (for a couple), but not quite. Would have been worth it perhaps. And I'm sure a blog/birding day would be well received on here.

Don't think the isolation would be any problem if you enjoy the outside and the sea ... nice one.
Birds, landscapes, sea, pub.

Sounds like a great combination to me.
 

chowchilla

Well-known member
There's always the hides at Lower Moors ;-) And Old Town Church (apparently).

My partner nearly got a position on Scillies a few years back (for a couple), but not quite. Would have been worth it perhaps. And I'm sure a blog/birding day would be well received on here.

Don't think the isolation would be any problem if you enjoy the outside and the sea ... nice one.
I'd love a little place in Old Town and do early morning forays onto the Lower Moors, but anywhere on St Marys would be good.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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