Leave nothing but footprints

Apr 25, 2017

Isles of Scilly: From Samsons South Hill. Photo ©BareFoot Photographer

©BareFoot Photographer

By Nikki Banfield

As many of you already know, ÖTILLÖ literally translated means “island-to-island”, and here on Scilly, there are plenty of opportunities to do just that.

The Isles of Scilly, or Scilly (never the Scilly Isles or the Scillies), are an archipelago of over 200 islands, islets and rocks 45 kilometres off the Cornish coast out into the Atlantic. Often described as a sub-tropical paradise, the islands are blessed with every form of weather imaginable in varying degrees, except for snow, which is rare. So, if skiing is your thing, you’d be out of luck. Ditto if you’re looking for warm sea swimming – or a McDonald’s.

The pace of life on Scilly is slower than the rest of the UK, with nearly every aspect of island life being dictated by weather and tides. So if you’re a planner, then brace yourself for a change of plans. Better still, be spontaneous and go with the flow, enjoy the landscapes, the history and the beauty, whatever the weather.

Isles of Scilly, Low Tide at Bar Point.  Photo ©BareFoot Photographer

©BareFoot Photographer

The Scilly Wildlife Trust: custodians of tiny island treasures

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust is, as with most things on Scilly, a small local, independent charity, with a staff of seven effective custodians, who feel privileged to call these special lumps of granite “home”.

The Trust looks after more than 60 percent of the landmass, leased from the Duchy of Cornwall on a 99-year fully repairing and insuring lease. This includes both inhabited and uninhabited islands, and marine and terrestrial habitats, most of which are open and accessible for everyone to enjoy all year around.

ÖTILLÖ founders Mats Skott and Michael Lemmel have recognised the hard work and dedication of our small team in restoring and maintaining this incredibly important wildlife. As such, ÖTILLÖ is backing Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust to ensure that the islands’ natural habitats can be fully explored by swimrun competitors in the least disruptive way to wildlife while still achieving that full island-to-island experience.

Spring Sunset over Samson in the Fog. Photo: ©BareFoot Photographer

©BareFoot Photographer

Two minutes can make a difference

This year, ÖTILLÖ’s support of the Trust, and its campaign against marine debris and plastic, goes a step further. As the islands do not currently have recycling facilities, the question as to whether all swimrun competitors could transport whatever plastic they bring to the islands back out with them when they leave – not a small task – was met with ÖTILLÖ enthusiasm and a fantastic can-do attitude.

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust is also asking swimrun participants to take part in a #2MinuteBeachClean (or longer if you like!) and collect a bag of marine debris from our islands’ coastline.

The official time for the #2MinuteBeachClean is prior to registration at 3 pm on Friday, June 16, but in reality it can be done at any point throughout the weekend.

We are hopeful that swimrunners will use their agility and sense of adventure to explore some of the less accessible bouldered areas, collecting along the way any plastic bottles and marine debris that “adorn” our shoreline, washed in on the huge swells and swirling currents of the Atlantic. The debris collection point will be located at the northwest corner of Holgates Green throughout the weekend for surveying by Trust team.

This is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the issues caused by marine debris and plastics not only to our community, but also the wildlife that calls these Islands home.

We thank all you swimrunners for your support and look forward to welcoming you for the ÖTILLÖ SwimRun Weekend in June!

Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue # 2 (Apr/May 2017)

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