May Your anchor Be Tight and Your Cork Be Loose…

Family photograph in the cold

Our latest trip took us to Lands End and the Penwith Peninsula and once again I got to exercise my inner ‘history’ geek. Not surprisingly for February, it was absurdly cold, high wind, rain, hail, sleet, sun – we had it all in spades (except the sun). Yes, we did venture down to Lands End itself, only to immediately regret it. On rediscovering this perfect example of modern day tourism gone awry, I can rest easy on the decision to not waste any more page space on it other than to say… the views are indeed amazing, but so they are too up the road.

May your Rum Be Spiced and your Compas True…

Porthgwarra

We started out at Porthgwarra, perhaps more widely known as Namparra Cove from BBC’s Poldark series. As much as I wished the man himself would arrive and decide to take an impromptu swim, it was clearly never going to happen. Instead, I settled for the almost equally beautiful setting, and while Jay and Evie ran around this tiny cove – once again looking for pirates, I was hit by the full realisation that truly nothing ever changes in this part of the world.

Porthgwarra Cove
Namparra cove – BBC’s Poldark series.

Once a thriving fishing village, now a privately owned boat launch with a capstan, private property sign and a lobster pot.(and on occasion the entire Poldark gang).

Cornwall’s biggest secrets are everywhere to be seen and right in front of us if we only knew when and where to look…

I will stop drinking when Captain Morgan puts his foot down.

Unexpected discoveries while scampering around Cornwall is one of the best treats. It can often afford us a glimpse into another life or time. If you find yourself upon this wonderful little beach cove, take a look along the low tide line to the East of the cove. The remains of ‘ullies’ are still and only just visible. Fisherman created these series of ‘keeps’ with wooden floors and hinged lids to be covered by the sea at high tide to keep their fish fresh. I would put good money on it that fish was not the only thing to be stowed away in these boxes during the peak of Cornish smuggling.

Porthgwarra Tunnel
A tunnel leading from Cove Cottage to the beach was drilled out by St Just miners for the fishermen to use.

“There’s nothing here apart from Tin” – K Gilbert

Geevor and Botallack tin mines

Geevor – Pendeen

Old Cornish Miners

Still operational until 1990, Geevor was one of the last operational tin mines in Cornwall. During it’s working life, the mine produced about 50,000 tons of black tin. It is now a museum and heritage centre and tells the story of tin mining at Geevor and across Cornwall.

Time was not on our side this trip, and our impromptu visit to Geevor was only a short one. The well-stocked gift shop yielded for Evie a nugget of Iron Pyrite. Of course, we told her that while she waited in the car with Daddy, I had popped down into the mine and dug it up.

Apart from tea and cake in the restaurant overlooking the Atlantic ocean, a trip down into the 18th century Wheal Mexico is absolutely top of my list for our next visit here.

http://www.geevor.com

“But when the fish and tin are gone, what are the Cornish boys to do?” – Roger Bryant

Levant and Botallack

Levant Mine Sepia

Little did we realise as we drove from Geevor to Levant, it probably would have been quicker to take their sign posted walk over the cliffs. We parked up and took the short path down to the engine house. Now, it was not my specific intention to make a pilgrimage to the local Poldark hotspots, but we were already there, and it would have been a shame to not.

The cliff top, littered with remnants of memories past are mildly perilous for those who stray from the beaten track. The mine workings have for the most part been left as they were and gaping holes in the ground are a shortcut to the inner workings of Levant. I would recommend sticking to the paths and taking the guided tour underground instead.


Nestled high up on the cliffs of the ‘Tin Coast’, early records date Levant (tin, copper and arsenic) mine from the 1500s. Some archaeological evidence points to mining here in the Roman era or even as far back as the Bronze Age.

Botallack to me was the pinnacle of our trip. It quite possibly has become my favourite place on earth. We arrived here as the afternoon was drawing in, and our timing couldn’t have been better. As we pulled on our muddy walking boots, three coats and woolly hats the sun was starting to set. Bundled up and warm we ambled down to the cliff edge, and in the orange glow of the setting sun, the scenery was breathtaking.

Cornish Coast Cornish Coast 2

Memories like voices that call in the wind,
Medhel an gwyns,
Medhel an gwyns.

Whispered and tossed on the tide coming in,
Medhel, oh, medhel an gwyns.
Voices like songs that are heard in the dawn,
Medhel an gwyns, medhel an gwyns.
Singing the secrets of children unborn,
Medhel, oh, medhel an gwyns.
Dreams like the memories once born on the wind,
Medhel an gwyns, medhel an gwyns.

Lovers and children and copper and tin,
Medhel, oh, medhel an gwyns.
Dreams like the castles that sleep in the sand,
Medhel an gwyns, medhel an gwyns.
Slip through the fingers or held in the hand,
Medhel, oh, medhel an gwyns.
Songs like the dreams that the bow maiden spins,
Medhel an gwyns, medhel an gwyns.

Weaving the song of the cry of the tin,
Medhel, oh, medhel an gwyns.
Medhel and gwyns, medhel an gwyns.
Medhel, oh, medhel an gwyns.

Levant Mine

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Click the picture below to see our previous Blog post Kennack Sands

Kennack Sands - Beach Sunset