Bay House 2023 – the end of an era

Goodbye Bay House

Read this blog: the one where Sally says a fond farewell to Bay House, Tresco

Tuesday 16th to Saturday 27th May 2023

This was to be the last year of Robert’s parents’ 30 year time-share at Bay House on Tresco and his mother, Sally, invited us and our sister-in-law, Caroline, to join her. Unfortunately Robert’s father’s health means he is no longer able to travel such distances.

We arrived on Tuesday 16th May, a day later than our companions, and as Matilda still had the ear ache which first manifested itself on the mainland she went straight to the Estate Office to ask what her options were. She was given the number and advised to call the medical centre on St Mary’s. The receptionist who answered had clearly undergone the appropriate training. She exhibited the traditional professionally prickly persona and suggested Matilda phone her GP at home. However, when Matilda explained that she used to work in the NHS and that all the telephone consultations at her surgery were likely to have been allocated within half an hour of the lines opening at 08:00 that morning, she grudgingly made an appointment for the GP to call her later that day. When the call came, the GP could not have been more charming and offered Matilda the choice of an appointment at the clinic on St Mary’s the following day or a prescription for antibiotics without a consultation. With antibiotic resistance in mind, Matilda opted for the consultation. 

Consequently we all decided to go to St Mary’s the following day: some to stroll, browse and shop; one to walk round the island and one to seek medical attention. Unfortunately, we were delayed by a queue of boats waiting to moor up at the quay and had to wait our turn to disembark. Matilda rang the medical centre to let them know she would be late and was met with the usual frosty response. Robert meanwhile managed to ring the number of a taxi firm which was helpfully printed on the side of a vehicle already waiting dockside and arrange a lift. In fact the GP was running later than Matilda and was once again charming and helpful and prescribed medication with a follow-up consultation, this time on Tresco. Matilda cannot fault the care provided.

Robert had decided he wanted to take a walk round all the islands on this trip. He recorded his walks on Strava. Matilda would join him when she could but had to go to the medical centre when he did the first walk round St Mary’s.

TravellingHerd: St Mary’s circumnavigation

The walk around St Mary’s takes you across the back of the airport’s runway and if a flight is due, warning lights and barriers alert you: there are often good views of planes landing and taking off.

One morning we walked to see the miniature shell buildings made by Pete Locke, 92, who has lived on Tresco all his life. These are now being displayed in a gravel garden to raise money to build the Island Haven, a facility where Isles of Scilly residents can stay when receiving medical treatment on the mainland.

TravellingHerd: Pete Locke’s shell model of the school

Later that day, while Robert was walking round Bryher, Matilda, Caroline and Sally decided to take advantage of the free entry for timeshare owners to the Tresco Abbey Gardens. As Sally was having health issues of her own we were fortunately able to arrange a lift on one of the vehicles used to transport people and luggage to their accommodation. Sally also needed to rest frequently, consequently Matilda and Caroline continued round the gardens without her and agreed to meet up later in the café.

TravellingHerd: enjoying the flora and sunshine in Tresco Abbey Gardens

The gardens are certainly more vibrant and colourful in May than in September. The red squirrels were cute and the robins were very bold in the cafe [below right].

TravellingHerd: Tresco Abbey Gardens

A walk round Bryher with Robert usually includes both The Hell Bay Hotel and Fraggle Rock. The maps included here are taken from Strava and Robert would like to apologise for his mis-spelling of Bryher.

TravellingHerd: the walk round Bryher

Caroline started the walk round Tresco with Matilda and Robert and did the hardest part climbing up to both Cromwell’s Castle and King Charles’ Castle but decided she wouldn’t complete the whole circuit.

TravellingHerd: Tresco circumnavigation

The weather has been kind to us and the sun has shone brightly as evidenced by the colour of Robert’s forehead and the sky in the photos. The walk round Tresco had to include a visit to The Ruin Inn, the bar with Robert’s favourite view as well as The New Inn.

TravellingHerd: The Ruin Inn, the bar with Robert’s favourite view

Robert is planning a Special Edition TravellingHerd blog featuring all the hostelries and their views for publication in the near future.

TravellingHerd: St Martin’s circumnavigation

We felt we should mark the occasion, of a 30 year family association, with a group photo outside Bay House itself before Caroline went home at the end of the first week.

TravellingHerd: Bay House welcomes the Herds for the last time.

On our walk round St Agnes, we saw the historic stone labyrinth known as Troytown [see below]. This is thought to date back to the 1790s but may have been built on a much older site. Our research revealed that many such labyrinths in England are named after the ancient city of Troy since, according to legend, its walls were built in such a complex and confusing way that any enemy entering the city would be unable to find their way out again.

The maze is just south of Troytown Farm where delicious small batch ice cream is sold.

TravellingHerd: The Troytown Maze on St Agnes

On this occasion, we were able to include Gugh in the St Agnes circumnavigation due to the timings of the boats and the low tide.


We also realised we had never walked to the Dorrien-Smith Monument on Abbey Hill and agreed to rectify this omission.

TravellingHerd: Dorrien-Smith Monument on Abbey Hill, Tresco

We have been blessed: the sun has shone brightly and the skies have been cloudless and blue.

The last time Caroline joined Sally on Tresco, it was as part of a family of four. Tragically since then both her son Peter and her husband Ian have died. She was understandably concerned that she might find the visit difficult with so many memories to haunt her, but we were glad she felt she could come for a week and we enjoyed catching up with her and spending time with Sally at Bay House one last time.

Thank you Sally for the invite again, and thank you Caroline for joining us.

Video of the day:

Selfie of the day:

TravellingHerd: An inter-island boat trip.

Dish of the day:

TravellingHerd: classic pub grub at The New Inn, Tresco

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