The Uninhabited Isle

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Sitting at the South end of Bryher less than a mile away is Samson, once inhabited it’s only residents now are insects, seabirds and rats. It’s a favourite for exploring, at low tide long spits of sand create lagoons to play in and up on the hills sit two hundred year old ruins that inspire the imagination to dream of what life would have been like.

As is our habit, Sunday being a family day, we set off with friends in kayaks, the punt and me of course swimming. Its such a exciting feeling to be leaving one shore knowing you are landing on another. There’s no bright sunshine, the heat and light hidden behind thick grey cloud and the sea and sky are silver white.

We leave the busy boatyard behind and make our way along the edge of Samson Hill. Here the water is shallow and the limpet covered rocks, kelp, bladderwrack and sandy seabed is clearly visible through the emerald green water.

As we leave Bryher behind and begin to cross the channel the water temperature drops and the colour darkens to a deep bottle green blue.

I spot a few small compass jellyfish drifting below me and shoals of darting fish tack this way and that.

Between Yellow Rock and Puffin Island the swell and tide roll me around a little, not enough to move me far but we drift a little off course, finding ourselves missing the channel of weed free swimming. I am soon in a tangle with the slippery thong weed and have to do a rather ungraceful doggy paddle to push through it.

Glad to be free of the choking weed I swim on again to the sandy shores of Samson.

A dry down and quick picnic whilst the children hunt for shell treasure along the strandline of strewn shells, crisp weed and crabs.

They paddle and swim in the sheltered bay. Then for an explore of the ruins, the lichen covered granite walls now reclaimed by brambles, sea thrift and bracken.

From the highest point on the South Island you can see St Mary’s, Tresco, Agnes and Gugh, St Martins and the Eastern Isles, Bryher and the Norrad Rocks. Its a magical place to sit and let your thoughts drift away on the horizon.

I catch a lift back in the punt on our return to Bryher, the tide has now turned and the current on the Brow will be too much for me to go against and after a day off island it will feel good to have a cup of tea!

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