Avocet's top ten tips for getting to and camping on Bryher
• If coming from Falmouth, there can be large overfalls off The Lizard. A passage 3M south is recommended (or even 5M in bad weather). On the way out we used: east of 50°02´.81N 05°01´.91W to clear the Manacles then 49°55´.00N 05°12´.00W to a random point south of The Lizard. That then gives Wolf Rock: 49°56´.72N 05°48´.57W (avoid the rock!) and St Marys: 50°02´.81N 05°01´.91W, course 307.1° to bring you into St Marys Road. This has the effect of avoiding the TSS off Land’s End but taking you almost at right angles to their continuation.
• Between Land’s End and St Marys our chartplotter lost its detail for about 2M. I thought that perhaps the card didn’t cover the Scillies but the detail duly returned. It turns out that there’s a bit in the middle which is uncharted on the Garmin card!
• The standard charts for the Scillies (Imray C7 and Admiralty equivalent) are fine but insufficiently detailed to show (and so let you avoid) the shallow water and isolated rocks. For proper exploring, you need a more detailed chart or local knowledge.
• If you’re camping on Bryher, you’ll be mooring in New Grimsby Sound between Tresco and Bryher. There are a small number of yellow visitors’ buoys owned by Tresco Estate on the Tresco side (£20.00 per night with the third night free) but mooring is otherwise by anchor in the Sound which is generally sand. A second anchor is highly recommended for security given the potential wind and tide.
• Access to New Grimsby Sound from the north is available at all states of tide. It can also be reached from the south but there are several potential obstructions and the run is not straight. We followed one of the ferries (which have about the same draft as a Rib) and got a trace on our GPS to follow next time but be warned that the ferries take a different route depending upon the height of tide: a route taken at high tide may not be achievable at a lower one!
• Rafting on the Tresco Estate buoys is generally prohibited but Henry, the Tresco harbourmaster, has indicated that he is happy to allow an exception in the case of Ribs in good weather. We managed to get a Tresco Estate buoy when we arrived (only 15 boats there) for the three days but all were taken by the time we left with many boats anchored (54 boats in all). Booking a buoy is essential if that is what you want.
• Landing on Bryher is at Anneka’s Quay (all tides) or Church Quay (high tide only). Both give onto New Grimsby Sound and Pete from the campsite will deliver off-loaded gear to the campsite from either upon prior arrangement. Anchoring needs to be away from the quays to allow access to the regular commercial boats and ferries. The campsite is £10.00 per person per night. Be aware that the shower block is small (the men’s part has two showers, four basins, two loos and two urinals; I’m told that the women’s part has an extra shower in place of the two urinals and one of the basins). Queues are inevitable at busy times. Showers require tokens (available from the campsite office and Pete for 50p each) which last 3 mins (men) and 5 mins (women)
• There is no water taxi on Bryher and at least one inflatable between you will be essential. Although the distance from the mooring area (buoys or anchoring) is not great, the potential wind and tide in the Sound make an outboard for the inflatable very desirable.
• Quayside fuel is available from Sibleys towards the end of the quay in St Marys between 9.00am and 5.00pm weekdays. Generally closed at weekends (although unusually was open on the Saturday when we arrived). The fuel pump is in a cream kiosk with the green shutter up when open but is generally unmanned. The office is in the yard behind the Harbourmaster’s office which is behind the kiosk. Be prepared to pay around £2.00/l.
• Provisions on Bryher can be purchased at the Stores which has a good range of stock. Meals out are available at the Fraggle Rock Inn (say hello to Christian and Jodie who are managing it for the season) but its opening hours are variable, at the Vine Café (from around 8.30am until after supper finishes) and the Hells Bay Hotel (not cheap but very nice food and a terrace with a lovely view of the sunset). All outlets are a short walk from the campsite.
Hopefully, the above is of some help but if anyone has any questions or needs any further information, please feel free to PM me and I will do my best to help from my limited (although recent!) experience.