Scilly Heroes Cleaned Up!

Friday 24th March 2017

The Great Scilly Spring Clean ~ Heroes Wanted!The Great Scilly Spring Clean ~ Heroes Wanted!

It's taken three weekends, rather than the planned one, but Islanders would not let the weather defeat them and the Great Scilly Spring Clean has now been completed for another year!

The Great Scilly Spring Clean was scheduled to take place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th March 2017, but in true Scilly style nothing ever goes quite to plan.

Storm Boards at PorthLoo

Saturday 4th dawned and Clean Leaders were greeted with buckets of wind, big swells and the occasional heavy, sideways, shower of rain.  All but one of the Saturday cleans went ahead with the decision being made to postpone the PorthLoo beach clean, being led by the local Women's Institute, on account of the strength & direction of the wind; the storm boards were in place and the hatches were firmly battened down.

Cleans took place on Shark's Pit (led by IOS Wildlife Trust), Town Beach (led by Islands' Partnership), PorthCressa (led by Council of the IOS), Tolls Porth and Halangy (led by IOS Wildlife Trust) and despite the weather 40 people turned out to battle with gale force winds and bags of rubbish.

Beach Clean Volunteers at PorthHellick, sunshine & showers


Sunday 5th blew in and once again Clean Leaders awoke to strong winds and big seas but undeterred four out of the seven planned cleans went ahead with just the Tresco Island (led by Tresco Estate), St Martin's (led by St Martin's Island Group) and Porth Mellon (led by St Mary's Harbour Team) cleans being postponed.

Cleans took place on Bryher (led by Island Fish), Porth Hellick (led by IOS Wildlife Trust), Watermill (led by Surfer's Against Sewage) and St Agnes (led by Emma Eberlein) with 110 people joining in across the Islands.

The postponed cleans took place over the next couple of weekends with PorthLoo being tackled on Saturday 11th, St Martin's being spruced up on Sunday 12th, followed by Tresco Island and PorthMellon getting a little TLC on Sunday 19th.  Over these two weekends a further 138 people attended cleans across the Islands.

So, what were the totals...?

The turn out once again was fantastic and it was also better than last years Clean for the Queen event.  We had a total of TWO HUNDRED & EIGHTY EIGHT people attending beach cleans across the five Islands (this includes individuals who attended multiple cleans) and our initial count shows that TWO HUNDRED & NINETY THREE bags of rubbish were collected (this is less than the previous years total but we also haven't experienced the same number of winter storms).

Beach cleaners were also asked to keep track of the number of plastic bottles they collected during their cleans, so that numbers could be submitted to the Marine Conservation Society's #WildBottleSighting campaign.  

The majority remembered to do this and from nine out of the twelve cleans organised NINE HUNDRED & NINETEEN plastic bottles were collected and recorded.

There was a lot of plastic, fishing paraphernalia and rope collected and cleaners reported some interesting finds as well, including:

  • a Smartie Lid on Town Beach;
  • Lego on Porth Hellick; 
  • a Marker Pen that still worked on St Agnes;
  • Onions were reported from most of the Islands;

...but I think the most interesting find came from St Martin's, where they think they've discovered some parts of a plane!  

Photographs have been sent to the relevant authorities seeking clarification and more information; hopefully we'll have some further details at some stage.

Was it worth it?

Yes, totally worth it!?  It has been noticed and feedback from people who visit the Islands has appeared on Social Media pages including places like the "Lost at Sea" FaceBook page.  Anna Cawthray (St Martin's Beach Clean Leader) commented "Our island beach clean did the trick then"  to which Sheila replied "Absolutely!  Job well done and much appreciated!"

I would like to take this opportunity to thank:

  • All of the Beach Clean Leaders for their commitment once again to this cause (Sue Major - WI; David Jackson - Islands' Partnership; Julian Pearce & Craig Dryden - Council of the IOS; Lydia Titterton - Surfers' Against Sewage; Dale Clark - Harbour Team; Chessen Pender - Island Fish/Bryher; Rachel Young & Tom Matthews - Tresco Island; Anna Cawthray - St Martin's Island Group; Emma Eberlein - St Agnes; Rob Carrier & Darren Hart - IOS Wildlife Trust); 
  • The Council of the Isles of Scilly Waste Collection Team (organised by Russ Thompson) for collecting and disposing of all of the rubbish across the Islands;
  • The Duchy Harbour Team (Dale Clark & Alan Hartwell) for removing the Storm Boards so that beach clean attendees had easy access to beaches;
  • The cafes, pubs and individuals who opened up their businesses and homes for refreshments to the windswept beach cleaners (The Wheelhouse - St Mary's; Glandore Gallery - St Mary's; Hell Bay Hotel - Bryher; New Inn - Tresco; Sevenstones - St Martin's and Coastguards - St Agnes)
  • Everyone who turned out in support of all of the cleans; all 288 of you!

Without you all this annual event couldn't and wouldn't happen; it really is fantastic that the community pulls together in this way!  Here's to next year!!

Throughout the year a number of beach clean events will be arranged on both the inhabited and uninhabited Islands; make sure you keep your eyes peeled for information regarding these and come along and join us!  

If you are unable to join in an organised event why not just do a quick #2MinuteBeachClean - every little helps!

Want to see what everyone got up to and more photos from the cleans click on the picture below to view the gallery :)

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