. There is a very pretty walk from the one to the other. However, one thing you pass on the way is the memorial to the Penlee lifeboat disaster ……
‘On 19th December 1981, in average winds of 80 miles per hour, the Union Star, a Dublin-registered coaster, making its maiden voyage to Holland with a cargo of fertiliser, and an RNLI Lifeboat, Solomon Browne, were lost at Penlee Point with all hands. 8 Mousehole men were lost, which had a huge impact on a population which is still, to this day, only around 500.
The disaster is commemerated in two different ways today. The old lifeboat house at Penlee Point, in which the Solomon Browne was housed, stands empty as a permanent memorial to the men who were lost. As well as this, on the 19th December every year at 8 PM, Mousehole’s christmas lights are turned off for 1 hour. It is well worth witnessing either of these two to pay your respects to arguably the worst maritime disaster of our time.’ Indeed it is. A solemn reminder of Cornwall’s constant battles with the sea which surrounds it, gives it its living and character, but can cause tragedies like this.
There is another of Cornwall’s excellent hotels in Mousehole – The Old Coastguard – and in we popped for a well-earned drink and light lunch. Mousehole is a delightful place with its little harbour and pretty cottages built from the local finely grained Lamorna granite. Dylan Thomas (1930) described Mousehole as ‘ the loveliest village in England’…..impossible to argue with the great man. The bus just about manages to get into the narrow streets of the village, and that is how we returned to Penzance, where we wandered around the shops for a while and had a cup of tea in Penlee House Museum which is full of Cornish art and artefacts and has lovely gardens. Penzance has rather a workaday feel about it, and with its neighbour Newlyn is a very busy fishing port, and there are some great highlights like the Art Deco outside swimming pool (just being renovated), and the so-called Egyptian House which is very striking, now that it has been restored by the Landmark Trust.