Looking out over the beautiful beach at Porthcurno with its pale sand and turquoise waters more reminiscent of the Caribbean than Blighty, the last thing which comes to mind is war. However, during World War II Porthcurno played a vital role, or rather the Cornish miners did, who built a number of bombproof tunnels which permitted the laying of 14 secure cables connecting the UK with its allies. This fascinating story is told in the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. Today, Porthcurno is most famous for its magnificently situated Minack Theatre, an amphitheatre clinging to the cliff face, built by the remarkable Rowena Cade, who, wanting to stage dramatic performances in her garden, but lacking the necessary space, in the 1930s set about creating what has come to be known as one of the most unusual theatres in the world. Today, the theatre hosts a range of events from classic Shakespeare productions such as the Tempest, for which this is the perfect setting, to concerts by artists such as the West Country folk artist Seth Lakeman, whose songs include many with a seafaring theme, and whose concert at the Minack is available as a DVD.
A short distance along the coast from Porthcurno is a most unusual geological phenomenon known as Logan Rock, a large boulder which, due to years of erosion at the hands of the weather, ended up balancing precariously on the clifftop. This piece of geological eccentricity was the victim of an inexplicable act of vandalism in 1824 when a Royal Navy lieutenant called Lt. Goldsmith, who was ostensibly visiting the area in order to attach a warning buoy to a nearby reef, decided it would be rather fun to head across to Logan Rock and dislodge it from its perch. After deafening howls of protest from the locals at this heinous act, the rock was eventually replaced later that year, an operation requiring the combined efforts of over 60 men.
Webcam of Minack Theatre.
Map of the area.
photo © 2007 Martin Pettitt | more info (via: Wylio)