Tuesday, 26 June 2012


This non-summer drags on with day after day of rain and absolutely nothing in the garden coming into bloom.  Our apples are still the size of walnuts, the peonie which normally flowers in early June, is still in bud and the day lilies are only showing tints of orange behind their closed petals.  So when the sun came out on Sunday we took the opportunity to go and 'look at the sea' at Porthleven.

Porthleven is a small fishing village near Helston.  We hadn't been there for some time and I noticed that it is gentrifying somewhat.  There is at least one up-market restaurant and there was a Sunday craft fair in full swing.

Porthleven is on a very exposed piece of coastline.  When there is a really good storm, the waves are unbelievable and photos of them regularly make it into the newspapers.  There is a long pier sticking out into the bay which is closed when the wind gets too high.

Here is the red ball that is raised.

The harbour is a 'double harbour' which is essential to protect the fishing boats and the village from the worst of the winds. You can just see the entrance to the inner harbour at the left of the photo above and here it is from closer in.

There are plenty of small boats at anchor and we assumed that it is mainly a crabbing port. The most famous building is the 'institution' situated at the start of the pier.

According to Wikipaedia there have been many shipwrecks on this part of the coast as it is easy for ships to be blown in the direction of Loe Bar, a few miles away.  There is a lovely walk from Helston down to the sea at Loe Bar which we have done in the past.

As you can see the bar extends almost across the shoreline and, to the left in this photo, there is a long lake.
Porthleven itself has a sandy beach but also a very rocky area which is popular with surfers.

These days Porthleven is also a popular holiday destination with many cottages to rent and lots of tourists.  However, I think this group were locals, judging from their accents.

As always I was on the lookout for images that might be useful for my journal quilts.  This week I have been reading up on Terry Frost and Patrick Heron, both St Ives modernists.  I was not going to include them among possible artists for inspiration but then realised that they were both great exponents of colour.  The book I found in the library on Terry Frost which was small enough to carry home, included a page on how he travelled from St Ives almost to Lands End looking for yellows.  So when I saw this lichen on the harbour wall I had to take its photo.

I was also taken with this piece of iron on the wall of the building behind the group above.

And finally, as we made our way back towards the car I saw the Porthleven gig.  Pilot gigs are traditional open six oar rowing boats which were originally used as general workboats and for taking pilots out to boats coming in from the Atlantic.  The gigs would race to get their pilot on first and collect the payment for bringing the ship in safely.  In the twenty-first century pilot gig racing has become a popular sport and most towns and villages in this area have at least one Pilot gig club.  Both men and women crew them and the racing season culminates in the World Pilot Gig racing championships which are held on the isles of Scilly at the beginning of May.

And as you can see, the boat is yellow. Now I need to get on and make these quilts!

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely blog and I had to have a chuckle. Although it is an institution in there.It is the Bickford-Smith "Institute".