Voyage Reports

Sailing in Scilly – What to do on St Agnes & Gugh

Sailing Holidays to St Agnes

All Isles of Scilly anchorages are weather and swell dependant, but the Island of St Agnes and neighbouring Gugh is an overnight stop that is hard to resist if conditions are right.  Classic Sailing run 5-7 day island hopping holidays on historic sailing ships where you can be participating guest crew. See the voyages at the bottom of the page.

St Agnes Accommodation – Afloat

On all our Isles of Scilly sailing holidays you live on a sailing ship. Our vessels are both your transport to the Isles of Scilly, your holiday home and your floating restuarant….but there is no set itinerary as sailing boats are very dependent on the weather and sea state. Our smallest boat Agnes take 6 guests and is 46ft long on deck and has a skipper and cook. Larger ships like Irene can’t tuck so close into shore but she has two person en suite cabins. These holidays are ideal for solo travellers as well as adventurous families and the majority of our customers book as individuals.

Old Lighthouse on St Agnes
Old Lighthouse on St Agnes

Anchorages, landings and things to do

This is one of Classic Sailing’s favourite anchorages in the Scillies. St Agnes and Gugh are joined at low tide by a sandy causeway. There is a proper island community here with only a small number of holiday cottages, a campsite at Troy Farm and no cars. On Gugh there are just two houses. Eve of St Mawes has been coming here since 1997 and it was lovely to be welcomed by one of Gugh’s few inhabitants. Alan, who rowed out to say hello.

Once the sand bar between St Agnes and Gugh is covered, the Cove is a great swimming beach. The tide fair rips over the bar as you get near HW so resist the temptation to wade back at the last minute.

The Cove Anchorage between St Agnes & Gugh

The screech of terns rather than car tyres greet you here as the anchor drops in the crystal clear waters. Best to drop it over sand where you can see 7 metres down, as a few submaine cables lurk on the sea bed like a loch ness monster. There are no cars on the island, just a few tractors taking travellers bags fom the ferry boat quay to the Troy Town Farm campsite.

Porth Conger Anchorage

North of the sand bar and just off the main quay, this anchorage has more rock and kelp and less space, but it is closer to one of the most scenic pubs in Britain. The Turks Head even has its own slipway, although it is a wee bit steep.

Turks Head, St Agnes on Scilly.  Most South Westerly Pub in England
Turks Head, St Agnes on Scilly. Most South Westerly Pub in England

Swim in ‘Gin and Tonic’

I have sailed all over the world from the Indian Ocean to Patagonia and St Agnes still has the clearest seas I have ever swam in. I describe it as like diving into a gin and tonic and just as icy….but wow does it clear your head and make your body fizz.

The sand glitters with mica and at low water the larger island of St Agnes connects with Gugh with an impressive natural causeway that changes shape from month to month.

Beachcombers Paradise

It is unlikely you will find an Admiral washed up on the shore today, but Sir Cloudsley Shovel ended his days as a shipwreck victim on the St Agnes shores, after wrecking a good part of the British Navy on the Western Rocks off Scilly.

You can search for glass beads in beady pool on Wingletang Common.

Bronze Age Graves on Gugh

Amongst the bracken on this tiny island with only two houses are signs of much earlier inhabitants. 

Watch the Ocean Sunset

It is a St Agnes tradition to grab a bottle of wine from the Turks Head and go and watch the sun go down over the Western Rocks.

Sample Troy Town Farm Ice cream

Drink in the sun. Watching the ocean sunset over the Western Rocks on St Agnes
Drink in the sun. Watching the ocean sunset over the Western Rocks on St Agnes

Watch the Gig Racing from the Pub

The Turks Head is the most South Westerly Pub in Britain. A walled garden with tropical flowers, a waterfront terrace and steep granite boat slip and the local gig boat club in a shed nearby.  You can watch the ferry coming and going and once a week the gigs from all the islands race to St Agnes and descend on the pub.

Sunbathe on Wingletang Down

In the South of the Island is Wingletang Down. Strange granite tors and rock formations covered in shaggy lichen make great shelter to sunbathe amongst the sea pink, purple heather or well grazed grass..

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