|View of St Michael's Mount looking back|
|Font at St Pirans|
|Nave of St Piran's|
John Carter and his brothers Harry and Charles, the 'Cove Boys' ran a profitable smuggling business from here at the end of the eighteenth century. Unusually, Harry Carter left a written record of their exploits in the form of a memoir, Autobiography of a Cornish Smuggler. 'I think I might have been about 25 when I went into a small sloop…with two men beside myself, asmuggling where I had very great success.' Harry goes on to say he disliked swearing and when he graduated to his own 50 ton cutter with ten men on board, he made a rule that there would be no swearing. Anyone found swearing would be 'poneshed'.
What I found fascinating in his memoir is the matter-of-fact way in which he discusses smuggling; it is clear that tax avoidance was something that was certainly not frowned upon by the local population. And according to legend, and very probably true, there was a level of honesty amongst the Carter gang. One story tells how John Carter broke into the Penzance Custom HOuse to rescue some confiscated tea. When the customs officials arrived the next day they allegedly said that John Carter had been there, and we know it because he has not taken anything which was not his own!
So if you've ever wondered how the King of Prussia pub in Fowey got it's name - now you know!
|Winch at Bessie's Cove|
|Boat at Bessies Cove|
|Cart tracks in the rocks at King's Cove|
|Tea on the beach!|
The weather is beautiful and sunny and it is glorious on the path, with banks of heather turning purple and banks of wild flowers - bright yellow birds foot trefoil, pink sea thrift and beautiful violet-blue sheeps bit. There are plenty of butterflies too - especially commas and peacocks - which periodically flutter up from the path in front of me only to land again, right back on the path a yard farther along. They repeat this four or five times before finally getting the message and landing behind me and out of the way of my clunking boots.
|Looking at the Lizard|
|Trewavas Head - spooky...|
Approaching Pothleven there is a reminder of a different local industry - fishing. A granite cross on a white plinth stands on the headland overlooking the churning sea, a memorial to the many mariners and fishermen who lost their lives in the waters near these shores in countless shipwrecks and accidents at sea. One of the most poignant was the loss of the "Energetic. The small fishing boat put to sea on 25 June 1948; on board were six members of the same Porthleven family, the Richards and their friend Roy Mewton who had gone along for a pleasure trip. The boat was caught in thick fog and run over by the huge 7000 ton Chrysanthy Star. Five of the six Richards brothers drowned. Roy Mewton was picked up by the Chrysanthy Star but died on board. Only one brother, Ralph Richards, survived. You can read his account of that fateful night here.
At Pothleven I walk down the hill into the centre of town and head inland in search of a campsite marked on my map. sure enough I had not gone far when I came to the entrance - and an added bonus! - there is a Freehouse on the Campsite run by the famous brewpub in Helston, The Blue Anchor. So I treat myself to a pint of Spingo Flora Daze. A second bonus is that the walls of the pub are covered with fascinating black and white photographs of Porthleven, of ships which have come to grief here, mighty storms and local families - including photographs of the Richards family. It feels strange staring at the images of the Richards brothers as boys - oblivious of the fateful event to come. The photographs are part of a permanent exhibition which opened this month - highly recommended!
After setting up my little tent I head back down to the harbour and settle myself in the garden of the Ship Inn, a fine pub, where I enjoy a pint of Rebel Gold from Cornish Brewery Rebel Brewing. As I was in Porthleven I felt duty bound to also quaff a pint of Porthleven from Skinner's Brewery - not too much of a hardship as it is a fine pint -before turning in for the night.
|The Ship Inn|