Posts Tagged 'Cornwall'



The Penlee Lifeboat Crew Remembered – 30 years ago today

The Penlee lifeboat was called to assist the crew of the Union Star, a cargo ship on her maiden voyage as she was heading towards the rocks off the Cornish coast on 19th December 1981.

The Solomon Browne and its 8 crew from Mousehole were called at around 8.15pm. Trevelyan Richards the Coxswain of the lifeboat got the Solomon Browne alongside the Union Star from where it was thrown several times onto the deck of the cargo ship before sliding off. A Sea King helicopter above the incident was watching but unable to help due to the adverse weather conditions.  As the pilot of the helicopter looked on he later commented at the inquiry that ‘they were truly the greatest 8 men I have ever seen’. Eventually Trevelyan Richards got the boat alongside the Union Star and got 4 of the 8 crew off the ship and onto the lifeboat. Not content with rescuing the 4, he went back in to save the other 4 lives. At this moment as the Falmouth lifeguards were listening to the radios between the Union Star and the Solomon Browne it all went silent and something terrible had happened. Both boats were so close to the shoreline rocks and they had succumbed to the power of the sea. All 16 people were lost, 8 crew of the Union Star and the brave selfless men of the Solomon Browne.

Those men who gave their lives that night were

William ‘Trevelyan’ Richards – Coxswain

James Madron – Second Coxswain and Mechanic

Nigel Brockman – Assistant Mechanic

John Blewett – Emergency Mechanic

Charlie Greenhaugh – crew member

Kevin Smith  crew member

Barrie Torrie – crew member

Gary Wallis – crew member

The following day boys and men from Mousehole were stepping forward to replace the crew of the Solomon Browne, one young man who stepped forward was the son of one of the crew who had died the night before. He later became Coxswain of the Penlee Lifeboat.

These men are still remembered annually as the lights at Mousehole are dimmed between 8pm and 9pm in memory of their sacrifices.

Many a tribute has been paid to these men on the internet and much can be found on the net. However our favourite is a song by Seth Lakeman called Solomon Browne all about that stormy night.

…and aptly Seth also played this at the Minack theatre not far from where the lives were lost.

Russell Holland has also produced this together with the Cornish Wurzels I believe. The backing singers are the crew of the current Penlee lifeboat.

Tonight at 10pm on BBC FOUR is the Cruel Sea: The Penlee Lifeboat Disaster – first screened in 2006, is an account of what happened that night with real radio footage, eye witness reports and memories of the families who lost their loved ones.

To find out more about the Penlee Lifeboat visit their website here. Finally to make a donation to the RNLI please click here , its a very worthwhile charity.


The Shipping Forecast explained… by two fat badgers!

When we cannot sleep at night we often switch on the radio beside the bed and listen to Radio 4 and to whatever is being broadcast. At some point in the night there must be some kind of children’s entertainment on World Service because sometimes I awake feeling like I’m on speed as the children’s entertainment is not conducive to a good nights sleep. But more often that not if its been a late night we will doze off listening to the shipping forecast which also is not that conducive to a good night sleep…

‘PLYMOUTH SOUTHWEST 5 TO 7, OCCASIONALLY GALE 8 OR SEVERE GALE 9 IN SOUTH, VEERING NORTHWEST 4 OR 5 LATER. RAIN OR SHOWERS. MODERATE OR GOOD’

As you are dozing it’s just words that don’t always make sense so I thought I would google it and find out what it all means.

Now where do the Two Fat Badgers come into it? Well, the two fat badgers run a website which in an independent look at places to visit around the UK and pubs to visit etc. They have also done some homework on explaining the shipping forecast.

Take a look at their website here to see what it’s all about.

Finally as I’m scratching my head deciphering the shipping forecast most of the time I will fall asleep to “Sailing By” composed by Ronald Binge in 1963, and performed by the Alan Perry/William Gardner Orchestra. It’s a beautiful track and can be listened to here.

It may be cold outside but I think its going to be a quiet one tonight – sleep tight!

The sea like a mill pond - Newlyn

 

 

 

 

Kennall Vale Nature Reserve

If you are looking for somewhere to walk off those mince pies after Christmas or in my case before Christmas then take a walk around Kennall Vale.

Old mill stone lies next to the River Kennall.

Situated between Redruth and Falmouth in the village of Ponsanooth, Kennall Vale is part of Cornwall’s rich heritage from the Tin mining era. Gunpowder was produced here with production starting around 1812. By 1860 some 50 men were employed in the gunpowder ‘factory’ until its closure in the early 1900s when alternative and more sophisticated methods of explosives were used in the Cornish mines.

Kennall Vale is now a tranquil and serene place to have a quiet walk and is very popular with dog walkers. The valley has a river (The Kennall!) running through it which would have provided the power to work the machines within the gunpowder mills.  Now,  just lies the ruins of the old granite buildings and parts of the cast iron wheels which once turned.

A walk around Kennel Vale is not for the faint hearted, it starts off with a nice wide even path with a slight gradient going under the canopy of large beech trees, as you walk along you can hear the water running in the nearby river but it’s not until about half a mile before you experience the whole drama of this amazing place. As you pass some old buildings and the old quarry on you left hand side (from where the granite was taken to build all the mills)  now filled with water you will turn a corner and the footpath then crosses the river (via a bridge). Take time to stop on the bridge and watch and listen to the incredible power of the water beneath you. As you walk across you will see many waterfalls in front from where the water was channelled down to drive other parts of the mills workings. Take care now along this path as you walk back along the river from the other side. This path is narrow, muddy, slippery, and everything you didn’t want to hear! But it all adds to a fantastic experience, as you wonder back imagining what it must have been like to work in such a place – producing gunpowder too!

And yes finally, for those who are interested in any gunpowder incidents which happened at Kennall Vale click on the worldheritagecornwall.com.

It’s a great walk, will take an average able-bodied person around 45 minutes  – 1 hour to do the circuit and it certainly burn off a few mince pies. –  Just remember to leave those cigarettes in the car!

Weathered gravestone

I love this  image which bizarrely reminds me of my childhood. I must have walked past this gravestone hundreds of times in the past, from going to sunday school, visiting family graves, cutting through the churchyard on the way home from school, going to and from friends homes and now planning our wedding which will be held at the church next year. This old grave stone dated 1826 is against the church along with a few others, probably as they have fallen over they are rested against the wall of the church in days gone by. Over the years the lichen has almost camouflaged the  slate gravestone against the granite wall of the church making you almost have to look twice at the image.

We found this gravestone in a churchyard in Gunwalloe a few months back, it’s a proper Cornish gravestone belonging to  Jane and William Cornish.

Lovely colours and great textures of Cornwall!

 

Word of the week and cheese of the week!

The word Gevrik means ‘little goat’ in Cornish and is the name given to a lovely full fat goats cheese made in Trevarrion on the North Cornwall Coast. Described by the ‘cheese critics’ to have a clean and fresh taste and a wonderful nutty flavour. We bought a couple on our way to Cornwall (in Devon – Shhhh!) and enjoyed it on some oatcakes at supper time.

a quick shot of the cheese before it got devoured

The little goats cheese is produced by Cornish Country Larder who also make Brie’s and Camembert’s which I will touch on in later posts.

In the meantime check out their website here or if you wanted to try some you may be fortunate to find it in your local supermarket as many of the top supermarkets stock it in their speciality cheese range.

If not you can but it online at Lobbs Farm Shop, Heligan.

Yet another headline about the great county…

My reporters out there tell me a killer whale was sited off the cliff tops of Padstow just yesterday. With warmer waters around the coast of the UK it is proving a popular holiday destination for the orcas of this world.

The full report is here on the Telegraph website.

Keep your wits about you if dipping your toes this Christmas!

 

Cornwall in the headlines!


An eathquake measuring  2.2 on the richter scale hit the Bodmin area at 2.40am on the 4th December. The quake could be felt as far away as St Austell, Liskeard, Camborne, Wadebridge, Callington and Padstow.

Thankfully it was only a small tremor and nobody was hurt.

To see the full Telegraph report click here

Christmas Lights at Mousehole

Now its  December and I cannot contain my excitement any longer I have to tell you about the Christmas  lights spectacular of Cornwall. Down in Mousehole, near Penzance the harbour is lit up with some pretty radical Christmas lights, about 7,000 in fact and the small village attracts over 30,000 visitors over the festive season.  Mousehole is called Mousehole for a reason and its best to park in the car park on the approach to the village rather than driving into the centre of the village to be met by wondering pedestrians looking at the lights and wondering how to turn their cameras on (We’ve all been there!). Whilst you are in Mousehole you may want to check out the Ship Inn for a pint and some food or just have a browse around the quaint streets, galleries and gift shops. Don’t forget to take some change to give to the nice men and women in their high-vis jackets shaking a bucket, if it wasn’t for them there wouldn’t be any lights to look at!

To find our more about the Mousehole Harbour lights click here. They will be turned on at 7.30 on the 17th December for the 48th year this year!

Lichen on Cornish Rocks, Marazion

I love the weathered and battered rocks around the Cornish coast, the colours and textures of the lichen are beautiful. Here is a small series of images I took on Marazion beach opposite St Michael’s mount . If you love lichen you must check out this website about British lichens. Enjoy!

Dog Show, Stithians

A couple of scans from old prints I found in the depths of my student days of dog owners with their pets at Stithians Show.  I love the general public most of the time!!


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