The sea was dead calm at Porthallow, looking out to Falmouth Bay from the top of the Lizard peninsula. The same eerie silence that I’d noticed on my previous visit still pervaded this ex-pilchard fishing village. The stark difference between the international maritime industry in front of me as I looked across the bay and the silence behind me was slightly unsettling.
With David, pondering the perennial Cornish conundrum.
Standing on this beach felt like being at the nerve centre of a culture, somewhere oddly profound, held in suspended animation.
There was a quiet feel to Porthallow for this winter re-visit. The high tide lapped against the shore and the village had a sleepy ambience, often the case on my visits here. Interviewee Stephanie reflected on the appeal of all beaches and the inspiration for her work provided by the beach and wildlife here.
Nature provides for Stephanie and her work.
Peace and quiet at Porthallow on a winter day.
It was a bright day for this winter re-visit to Porthallow. The South West Coast Path had collapsed onto the beach, a victim of the wet winter. Looking across Falmouth Bay was a fine vista, towards St Anthony Head and St Mawes, with the Nare Head and the Dodman Point further along the coast. Porthallow feels tucked away, peeping out from its corner of the Lizard Peninsula, as the world rushes by.
Dorothy observes nature’s work.
Looking out from the beach at Porthallow.
Reputedly where the spirits of old Cornwall are laid to rest, this village and beach ooze history and whimsy. The beach felt very empty, despite being part of the village. Porthallow was once a thriving pilchard fishing village, as witnessed by the 5 Pilchards pub. I had a long chat with 96 year old Muriel Webb, who waxed lyrical about the old days when fishing and farming were king, and when families and the village knew everyone and stuck together. When I asked her what she thought the future held, she said she hoped for “an improvement in the state of the Age”, which I took as a positive call to arms, to make the best of whatever the present throws at you, rather like Voltaire’s “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” at the end of Candide.
A two part interview with the wonderful 96 year old, Muriel Webb – a Cornish philosopher:
Porthallow on a winter’s morning.