National Geographic : 1967 Jul
broad. More than 1,400 people live there permanently. The other inhabited islands are all less than half St. Mary's size, with hardly more than 400 residents among the lot. In ancient days men also lived on some of the islands now given up to seals and sea birds, as Bronze Age relics attest. The Scillies group is part of the Duchy of Cornwall. Since the Duke of Cornwall is also the Prince of Wales, the islands provide some of the royal revenues. Official policy is to keep the Scillies in their tranquil iso lation. Noisy night life and promoted tourism are not wanted. Holiday camps and trailer parks do not exist. The automobile has become a minor problem, however, for the number of motor vehicles has risen sharply in recent years -to more than 350. St. Mary's has nine miles of paved roads, all narrow, winding, hedge-lined, planned strictly for the horse, demanding careful driving. The other islands have virtually no roads. Among the Scillies, the boat is the car and the motor launch the bus. There are three ways to reach the islands. You may come by sea, by 800-ton motor ship from Penzance, some 42 miles away on the coast of Cornwall. You can sail in a small yacht from England, Ireland, or France, if you can accept the 130 Steppingstone isles: Field-check ered Bryher, Tresco, St. Helen's, and Round Island, with its light house in the distance, lie but 28 miles from England's southwestern tip. Once, goes a legend, a country called Lyonnesse linked the Scillies with England, and on its now vanished soil King Arthur's knights waged battle against rebellious Sir Modred. Merlin, the wizard, chant ed magic words that made Lyon nesse sink, drowning the rebels. The knights found safety on high ground-today's Scillies. Mysterious maze by St. Mary's shore puzzles even the islanders (left). One theory: Bored British soldiers shaped it about 1800. March mists shroud Hugh Town as schoolgirls race a tiny dog across tide-brushed sands.