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In 1987 the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, operators of the Scillonian III ferry,
started operating fixed-wing aircraft between Landʼs End and St Maryʼs using eight seater Britten Norman Islanders
under the Skybus branding.
It has since expanded, and now offers flights from Newquay, Exeter, Bristol and Southampton using three 19 seater De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters
in addition to the three Islanders.
The service operates six days a week all year round but is vulnerable to fog as well as bad weather, particularly at St Maryʼs Airport.
External Links and References
Isles of Scilly Travel
The official site covering both the Scillonian III and Skybus. https://www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk/
Unfortunately, I totally failed to take a photograph of the Scilliesʼ only land-based white-knuckle ride, the Community Bus.
It gets replaced from time to time with similar "time-expired" vehicles, anyway.
Hopefully any replacement wonʼt require a system of ropes and pulleys to open and close the doors, and brakes that sound as if they rely on a similar Heath Robinson lash up.
It is run, without any public subsidy, by a chap called Steve Sim, who likes to push his bus to the limit
(admittedly thatʼs about 25 mph, but on the narrow Scilly roads thatʼs more than fast enough), and very useful it is too.
Timetables are available from the Tourist Information Centre. Please see the general disclaimer on my home page.
Island Rover offer coach tours around St Maryʼs which take just over the hour
and provide a useful introduction/taster of the island. In addition to 'Katie', a 1948 Austin K2, presumably named after the ambulance in Ice Cold in Alex,
they also run an open-sided Optare Metrorider and a Volvo B6.
Although I was initially disappointed that we were too late to get on the old Austin and had to settle for the Optare,
it was such a lovely day that I was soon very glad of the open sides. Glynne Lucas, the owner of Island Rover and our driver that day, has a very dry sense of humour,
and it would be worth the money just to listen to his anecdotes.
Regular ferry services are run from St Maryʼs by the St Maryʼs Boatmenʼs Association,
from Tresco and Bryher by Bryher Boat Services,
from St Agnes by St Agnes Boating, and from St Martinʼs by St Martinʼs Boat Services.
Some of these operators also offer fast taxi-style RIB services at a price.
With the coming of steam, the cutters became redundant, but the gigs remained. They are now used in the local sport of gig racing.
Races are held each week on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the season, and the St. Maryʼs Boatmenʼs Association organise spectator boats for each race.
The World Pilot Gig Championships are held on the Isles of Scilly over the May Bank Holiday, with teams from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.
There are even a couple of boats from the Netherlands, making it a truly international event.