Sunrise Walk: Isles of Scilly

I wake just before 5am and fumble for the light switch. Outside, the yellow-fronted boat bobs gently in the silvery water, as the high tide pushes up against the apartment wall.

Dressed and ready to go, I venture out, accompanied by two sleepy-eyed twenty somethings, clad in walking boots and wet weather gear (just in case).

in the darkness we wend our way along the main street of Hugh Town, sure footed and silently. Buildings are silhouetted against the light of the moon and the sky is scattered with stars. The cold air brushes against my cheeks.

A cockerel calls; a reminder in the darkness that morning approaches. I glance through an opening between buildings, to see the edge of the ocean lapping softly against the stone. The silver light of the moon is reflected across the undulating water, reaching towards the thin black line of the horizon dividing the deep, dark sea and the star-lit sky.

We head past the Co-op, in awe of those already stacking shelves before dawn in anticipation of a busy day ahead. A lone figure waits by Porthmellon slipway. We approach and introduce ourselves. More walkers gather and our guide, Bryony, leads us through Lower Moors nature trail. The shining white flowers of the three-cornered leek line our path. They whisper gently to us with their distinctive aroma.

We emerge onto the road to be greeted by the rest of the group waiting at Old Town Bay. The moon still shines brightly. The sky begins to lighten.

Bryony invites us into a moment of awareness. We centre our weight consciously over our feet, give attention to our breath and feel our connection with the landscape through our senses.

We set off along the winding coastal path in silence. Our feet navigate protruding rocks and squelching mud. The blue of the sky is slowly pushing through the darkness. A wash of colour seeps upwards from the horizon; yellow, orange, amber, red. The warm glow stretches across the earth into the blue of the sky.

The line of walkers follows the pathway past Tolman Point, Porthminick, across the airport and around Church Point. We linger at Giant’s Castle, gazing out to sea in awe of the dawning day. Our sensory antennae attune to the soft earth under our feet, the gentle breeze on our skin, the smell of the salty morning air and the subtle textures of the landscape. Sunrise is fast approaching. The day is almost here, but the sun has yet to appear on the horizon.

Reaching Newfoundland Point, we settle ourselves to welcome the announcement of a new day. I ease my back into the contours of a rock covered in age-old white-grey lichen and green moss. I’m joined by two others. A walker lies on the grass, and cups the back of her her head in her hands supported by a low-lying rock. One or two walkers perch, cross-legged, on top of rocks. Others sit on the soft earth, leaning back into rocks. We are poised in anticipation. A seagull skims the ocean, silhouetted against the petrol-blue water. Another follows close behind and they disappear behind the rocks. The sound of the sea and the wind echo in my skull. The coming of the light quickens.

As if by magic, a small yellow pin-prick appears on the horizon. It hovers there and slowly a sphere expands its circumference, radiating golden light. We stay watching, transfixed, until the morning sun has lifted from the horizon to begin its journey westwards. Behind us, the moon bids farewell, fading into the blue sky.

The day has arrived, in all its glory.

Bryony calls us to the soft turf and invites us to stand together and turn the palms of our hands towards the morning sun. Some of us take off coats and hats. We reach our arms up to the sky and lift our heads and our hearts to greet the new day. We then bring our focus downwards and inwards, back to our own centre, in a moment of acknowledgement and gratitude for having created the space to welcome the new day.

Gathering our belongings, we continue to Druid’s Chair and Sun Rock, where we celebrate the new day with a cup of tea, courtesy of Bryony. I imagine the Arch Druid taking his place in the chair to honour the rising sun. Sun rock stands at his rear, as the moon stood behind us as we greeted the sun.

We make our way back along the road towards Hugh Town, connected by the shared experience of welcoming in a new day. Bermuda Buttercups nestle in the hedgerows. A song bird calls from a tree.

Individual walkers take their leave on the way and a handful of walkers remain to enjoy breakfast at Mincarlo Guest House.

Another day has begun.

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