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The Festival of Scilly Walks

We were lucky enough to spend a long weekend with friends on the Isles of Scilly earlier this month, just before the main tourist season started. The islands were quiet but even in the cold winds the clear air, star-filled skies, blue seas and tranquil surroundings provided a lovely feeling of escape.


The islands are just a short hop from Land’s End, 3 hours by boat or 15 minutes by plane. The plane was our choice of transport and our dog was able to join us too; dogs are secured in a crate within the cabin next to your own seats, so all very civilized.

walkscilly2015Why not time your own visit to coincide with Walk Scilly 2015, the islands’ annual walking festival? It runs from Saturday 11 April to Friday 17th April 2015. Now in its 9th year, there are 25 guided walks to choose, covering the inhabited islands and a few of the uninhabited ones too.

The walks cover a great range of interest with chance to enjoy heritage, foraging, the best beaches, exotic plants, flower farming, bird watching and seal/dolphin spotting. New for this year is an exploration of Tean, a channel walk between Bryher and Tresco, a springtime wildlife walk and beachcombing with an artistic twist.  On top of the guided walks, the organisers have included sessions to sample other outdoor activities such as bike riding, horse riding, snorkelling with seals and kayaking; all available throughout the week to dovetail with the walks.

For more information visit, or find the latest news on Facebook (Visit Isles of Scilly) or Twitter (@visitIOS). 

22 March 2015

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The length of our walking guides is given in miles and rounded to the nearest full mile (whole number) for simplicity. For short walks (of less than 2 miles) or walks that have a length that ends in .5, a more accurate walk length may be given in the first section of the walk introduction. For example, the Length in the header may be listed as 6 miles, and the introduction may confirm that the exact length of the walk is 5.5 miles. The walk length is calculated from the GPS file that was created by the walk author GPS tracking the walk whilst walking, using the iFootpath App GPS Tracker, meaning it is very accurate. Our bespoke tracker is particularly detailed and plots a walkers position about every 10 seconds. The tracker is calibrated to match two other reputable map and walking sources, Ordnance Survey and Nike. As with all standardised walk and map lengths, the distance does not take account of hills and slopes, just the distance you would measure using a piece of string on a flat map version of the terrain, so hilly walks will feel longer than stated. If you track the route using another GPS App or Tracker App or Fitness Device, you can expect the distance you record to be different due to different calibrations. This is particularly true of those Apps and devices that count your motion and steps – these can only guess the distance you have travelled with each step and so are much less accurate.

Grade (Boots)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult the terrain is that you will encounter along the way. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. It takes into account things like hills, path surfaces and obstacles (like stiles, gates, steps and rock scrambles). An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 Boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well-worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 Boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles that require scrambling with your hands. Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

NOTE: Do be aware that the level of stamina required for any walk will vary depending on both the walk length and the difficulty grade - you should only walk within your limits.

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