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in the wake of 'the lucky barge'

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Our third holiday trip this summer will take us from Dartmouth to Torbay to see the famous air show from the sea and then along the south west coasts of Devon and Cornwall to visit the Scilly Isles.

Lady Daphne in Charlestown photo National Historic Ships

The last Thames barge to visit the Scilly Isles was probably Lady Daphne, though her visit was not intentional. While carrying a cargo of china clay from Charlestown in Cornwall (where she is once again based) to Gloucester Docks she was off Lands’ End when the skipper was washed overboard at night and lost. The two remaining crew abandoned ship and were rescued by the Lizard lifeboat. Lady Daphne sailed on unmanned (except for the pet canary) and miraculously found her way through the off lying rocks to beach in one of the many small sandy coves of the Scilly Isles. From here she was salvaged and returned to service as a sailing auxiliary barge mostly carrying malting grain around the Thames estuary and East Anglia. Known ever since as ‘the lucky barge’ well not for the skipper I suppose.

Scilly Isles photo not known

I have no intension of abandoning Snark as we head from Newlyn around the Runnel Stone and across the western most stretch of England’s coastal waters to the sub-tropical islands. As well as the charming shoreside excursions and thriving wild life the Scilly’s also has some of the darkest skies in the south, a perfect place for star watching, enhanced by a late moon rise when we are there.

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