Thursday 18th May 2017

A storm at sea in 2014 resulted in the loss of HP printer cartridges which are being found washed up on UK and European coastlines; they've even been found, and are still being found, in Scilly.

Find out how the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust used funds secured from the HP Beach Clean Up Fund to enable us to carry out a beach clean with a difference....

by Nikki Banfield ~ IoS Wildlife Trust | Communications Officer.

Saturday 13th May dawned with wall to wall blue skies, sunshine and the promise of not only wind, wind and more wind but also the promise of torrential rain in the afternoon forecast.

After weeks of organising, promoting and weather watching, Debris for Doughnuts looked to be on the rocks; our trip to Samson overshadowed by the fact that our boatman had just told me he could land the group on Samson but as the wind strength was set to increase throughout the day it was unlikely he’d be able to collect us again after the beach clean.

What to do??

As people started to arrive and board the Enterprise I quickly devised a Plan B (you get good at coming up with Plan B’s, or even C’s, D’s and E’s in Scilly). Once everyone was aboard the boat (and could smell the waiting doughnuts) I did a head count; thirty seven people had joined me for a trip to Samson to pick up marine debris!

Wow! I could only imagine it was the promise of a FREE Becky’s Scilly Cakes Doughnut which had enticed them to come along!

Once they were all sitting comfortably I thought I’d best explain the predicament and the three scenarios which were now playing out in my head…

“Welcome everyone! Thank you for turning out on what promises to be an interesting day; we have a slight issue so I’m figuring the best thing to do is ask you all what you want to do”.

I then went on to explain the three options we had… 

"Option 1. We go to Samson and hope for the best. We then get stranded on Samson (probably for at least 2 days given the current forecast, if not more), we only have a doughnut each to survive on and we have to make shelter from the marine debris we collect.

Option 2. We postpone the event and reschedule, by which point said doughnuts would go stale and probably not taste so good.

Option 3. We go with a hastily devised Plan B which involves heading off to St Agnes & Gugh, collecting marine debris and eating said doughnuts; same idea just a different Island.”


Were people feeling adventurous? Did being stranded on Samson sound like a good thing? Would people vote to postpone the event, never to be seen again? Would there be a mass exodus and would I be left with two whole Islands to clean and 40 doughnuts to eat by myself?!

Going back over the options I asked people to vote for their preferred choice; luckily everyone kept quiet when I put Options 1 and 2 to them again and there was unanimous agreement to go for Option 3.

Yay! Debris for Doughnuts was saved!

On a roll after the success of the first round of voting I then went on to ask our (thankfully) not so adventurous Doughnutters when they would like their doughnuts?

Option 1:  Right now, on the boat journey to St Agnes & Gugh?

Option 2: Once we’d landed?

Or Option 3: following collecting Marine Debris from the various compass points around the Islands?

I have to say I was amazed at the restraint. Despite the mouth-watering smells drifting across the boat the Doughnutters once again, unanimously, voted and chose (that’s right chose!) to wait until after they’d collected the marine debris to receive their doughnuts!


We landed on St Agnes at around 12:00 and quickly split up into 5 groups; each group taking a section of the Islands to clean, agreeing to meet back at the quay at 14:30 with their bags to load on to the return boat to St Mary’s.

The first group, headed up by a couple of avid beachcombing locals, quickly volunteered to cover Beady Pool and Porth Askin. Their reason? It was the furthest point away from the meet, they knew where they were going and they just had adults in the group so it made sense that they walked the furthest.

(I knew in reality it was because these two beaches and the surrounding area is where the “best treasure” washes up; they were hoping for Beady Pool Beads!)

Ranger Darren's large group with many little legsThe second group headed up by Ranger Darren, was the largest group in terms of numbers but they had the littlest legs. Darren and his large group headed off around to Covean, not too far away and easy to access for all the children and toddlers he had with him.

Ranger Rhianna took the third smaller group off around to Periglis and the surrounding area to tackle the coastline often battered by gales and Atlantic swells.

A group of visitors volunteered to cover Gugh. Without anyone local with them and with a number who’d never set foot on St Agnes or Gugh before I pointed them in the right direction, assured them there was only one way on and one way off of the Island, that they wouldn’t get cut off by the tide and then sent them on their way.

The fifth group followed me; heading for St Warna’s Cove. I explained where we were going to go and the first question I was asked was “Are we going past the Post Office?”.


I can see where this is heading. “Yes we are”, I replied “You’re after Gin aren’t you?”

A number of my group smiled at me and responded “How did you know?” I’d ended up with the naughty bunch then!?

On getting to St Warna’s Cove, having come via the Post Office for the newly available locally distilled Gin, we set to work. After an hour and a half and covering a number of other smaller coves we had 6 big black sacks of Marine Debris between the 5 of us and decided to head back to the quay (via the Post Office again of course!)

We arrived at the same time as most of the others, deposited our debris and I wandered back to the pub with a bag full of doughnuts; much like the Pied Piper…many smiling, laughing adults and children following along behind. I wonder what they want?!

Are there any more? They were yummy!Becky’s Scilly Cakes did us proud; we had chocolate, apple, jam and custard filled doughnuts and there wasn’t a chance of the Gulls getting a look in. Within seconds of the boxes opening the doughnuts had miraculously vanished and I was surrounded by sticky fingered, sugar coated smiles and more than one person asking “Are there any more? They were yummy!”

When I responded that there weren’t, they’d all been eaten the next question, which was again asked more than once was “When are you doing this again?”

With full tummies, the wind picking up and the sky beginning to leak we loaded the collected Marine Debris onto the Enterprise and headed back to St Mary’s, where it was collected by a local haulier and delivered to the Isles of Scilly Council Waste Team for disposal.

I think I can safely say that Debris for Doughnuts was a success and hope that many of our Doughnutters not only enjoyed themselves but will join us again for future events.  Want to see more photos from the event click on the picture below!


The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended and supported this event but especially the following people and organisations:

  • Russ Thompson and the rest of the Waste Collection Team (Council of the Isles of Scilly) for arranging collection and disposal of the marine debris;
  • Becky Lock (Becky’s Scilly Cakes) for stepping up to the challenge of producing bucket loads of yummy doughnuts;
  • John Peacock and his crew (St Agnes Boating) for providing boating for the day and making sure we all got home safely and didn’t end up stranded.


Debris for Doughnuts was funded by the HP Beach Clean Up Fund; grants could be awarded to non-profit organisations, individuals and local authorities for the purposes of undertaking or planning to undertake beach litter clean ups on UK beaches in areas where HP cartridges have been found.

The grant was applied for and awarded to the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust in April 2016 for the purposes of carrying out beach cleans on the uninhabited Islands of Samson & Tean. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions this has not been possible (despite a number of attempts) however, the uninhabited Island of Gugh and neighbouring St Agnes, which are important for breeding seabirds, have now benefited from this funding.


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