Thursday, June 18, 2009


Yesterday evening we decided to take a walk, it doesn't get dark here until ten o'clock so we had plenty of time. The town that my parents live in is called Newlyn, it is a small, working, fishing town, very close to Penzance. Newlyn has a lot of hills and unfortunately for my weary legs, my parents live at the top of the town! So our walk begins by going down towards the harbour.

On his first visit to Cornwall my husband was quite amazed by the size of the tide drop, when the tide is fully out the boats are left high and dry on the mud in the harbour, the tide was only just turning when we took this picture.

As you can see most of the bigger, commercial fishing boats are out right now, the weather is good so they will be far out to sea.

We walked along by the sea and spotted this beautiful pair of Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus foraging amongst the rocks at the waters edge.

Mousehole is the next village along the coast from Newlyn and it's name is actually pronounced 'Mowzul', if you pronounce it Mousehole, you immediately give yourself away as a 'foreigner'!!! The reason the town got it's name is because the tiny space between the two piers that lead into the harbour is small like a mousehole.

This is the view from inside the harbour, looking out to sea. Across the bay you can just make out St Michaels Mount with the castle on the top.

And this is what I meant about the boats being left high and dry at low tide!

Mousehole has a rather haunted feel to it which is due in large part to a tragedy that befell it in December of 1981. The Cornish seas are notoriously dangerous and almost every town has it's own lifeboat. These boats are manned by heroic volunteers who venture out in the most treacherous of seas to rescue boats that are foundering. On a wild December night in 1981 the Penlee lifeboat, the Solomon Browne, manned by eight men from Mousehole was called out to rescue the crew of a ship that had been blown onto rocks. They managed to winch four of the crew members from the ship onto the lifeboat and then suddenly all radio contact was lost. All of the crew of the lifeboat were drowned and the little village of Mousehole has never been quite the same since.

When word came to the village of what had happened, the first place it became known was the Star Inn. The landlord of the pub was the Coxswain of the lifeboat. The most amazing part of this sad story is that two days after the Solomon Browne went down with all hands, a full crew of new volunteers had stepped up to man a new boat. Having seen many storms around the Cornish coast, I have huge respect for the amazing work that these brave people do.
An unfortunate after effect of this event was that huge sums of money were donated from all over the country and the fighting that ensued over how the money should be divided, rent the village and it's occupants apart.

Moving onto a (slightly) less morbid topic - this is the oldest house in Mousehole. It dates back to the fourteenth century and its owner was killed defending it against the Spanish in 1595. The Spanish succeeded in burning every other house in the town but not this one! The red Jaguar is slightly younger than the house but not much :)

Photo Credits - Dominick V & CJT


Kathiesbirds said...

I listened to a Christmas story based on these events I think! I can't remember the name of it but it all sounds so familiar! Wonderful scenes and history!

Arija said...

It is so sad to hear that the village was crippled by money and not the real tragedy wchich would in time healed.

Louise said...

What an interesting and picturesque post. Thanks for the tip on pronunciation. If I ever visit, only my accent will give me away! And that story is so tragic. But more tragic is that the town hasn't recovered well.

ramblingwoods said...

You are a very good story teller Celeste..I admire anyone who is a first responder of any kind. Those who put their lives at risk to save my husband as a volunteer fireman and now an EMT...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oowwww, those steep streets of Newlyn make my knee ache just looking at them. gah! I bet your parents are very fit folks. wow!

Your photos are just awesome. Everything looks so scenic and photo worthy.
Mousehole's tides immediately reminded me of Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy. Amazing how the tides can recede and then advance so quickly, too.


Anonymous said...

How did you get from Cornwall to the desert of the United States? I love Cornwall and have been to Newlyn, Mousehole, The Lizard, Penzance, St Ives (where I have stayed three times) and the North Coast among other places in Cornwall. I love it there so much but don't think I will be able to go back. The desert looks SO dry to me-I've never been drawn to it but have thought about Cornwall since I was a child. And I'm old now! lol Still, I wish I could live in Cornwall and it's hard being here (in New England with no car!) when I am thinking of being there.