In his latest cruising feature, Peter Cumberlidge picks out the best remote island destinations you can easily reach from the UK by boat

St Martins - small coveSt. Martin’s, Isles of Scilly

Size: 1½nm long
Population:
120

Watering holes: The Seven Stones Inn is a perfect pit stop in Lower Town

This sleepy English island lies on the north-east fringe of Scilly and feels soothingly remote, even though its south and west coasts are barely a mile from Tresco and St Mary’s.

The south side of St Martin’s slopes towards the sun and sea, with magnificent views across the archipelago. Scilly’s famous spring flowers grow here on light sandy soil.

Most visiting boats arrive from St Mary’s harbour, crossing the shallow flats between St Martin’s and Tresco within two hours of HW.

There are several orange or red visitor buoys in Tean Sound, at the west end of St Martin’s opposite the Karma Hotel. This narrow strait is delightful in settled weather and at neaps the tidal streams are gentle.

St Martins - looking westAround neaps you can anchor off New Quay at the island’s south tip, handy for Higher Town, the main village. You’ll find a general stores, a tea room-bistro and a superb bakery.

From the landing, a path leads past a fabulous white crescent beach to the prominent red-and-white daymark on the north-east headland.

The islets and channels south-east of St Martin’s look tantalising on a calm day, a paradise of drying sand and sparkling lagoons which are fun to explore with a dinghy and outboard. The tranquillity and beauty of these Eastern Isles is unforgettable.

Don’t miss: Real Cornish pasties from the bakery in Higher Town

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Sark, Channel Islands
  3. 3. Yeu, The Vendée
  4. 4. St. Martin’s, Isles of Scilly
  5. 5. Skomer, Wales
  6. 6. Cape Clear Island, Ireland
  7. 7. Île De Sein, Brittany
  8. 8. Île de Groix, Brittany
  9. 9. Coll, Scotland
  10. 10. Houat, Brittany
  11. 11. Vlieland, Netherlands
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