Wednesday, 19 January 2011


In 1807, a maritime tragedy occurred which had a much less happy ending than that of the Saluto, mentioned earlier in this blog. HMS Anson, which was trying to get back to Falmouth during a severe gale, ran aground off Loe Bar, a shingle bank near Porthleven, resulting in the loss of over 100 lives. The aftermath of this disaster was witnessed by a local man from nearby Helston called Henry Trengrouse, who was so affected by what he saw that he devoted the rest of his life to developing life-saving equipment, most notably the “Rocket”, an updated version of an earlier invention involving a line being fired by a rocket with the aim of establishing a life-saving link between ship and shore.

Today, the twin mainstays of Porthleven are fishing and tourism. There are a couple of pubs, a great little ice cream parlour, a few shops and a range of restaurants. The harbour is divided into two, with an inner and outer harbour. This came about as a result of the fact that the town faces south-west, and therefore is particularly vulnerable to the worst horrors that the sea can throw at it. If you want to see an example of this, there are dramatic images available on the internet of a storm in November 2009 showing gigantic waves crashing against the cliffs, so high that they almost come up to the cliff top.

For a list of events in Porthleven see here.

Map of the area.

File:Porthleven Institute Building and breakwater (7817).jpg
Photo by Nilfanion, via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Hi Postcards. Thanks for your comment on my blog - if you learn to ride a bike you're welcome to join me on my cycle around the British coast in May - June - July. I need all the help I can get to raise £20,000 for Cancer Research UK!

  2. It's funny your blog should start with this part of Cornwall. It was our (mine and Val's) 30th wedding anniversary in August 2008. We had honeymooned in Falmouth, so being a romantic at heart I suggested a four day walk from Penzance to Falmouth along the SW Coast Path. We spent our first night at Porthleven.