They say the light is clearer in Cornwall, washed of impurities by the barbed Atlantic winds. Free of pollution, the small village of Mousehole draws artists from all corners of England. Amateurs and professionals alike delight in capturing the character and make-up of this beautiful Cornish community.
I took the B3315 south from Penzance and headed for Mousehole. The road stretched along the coast, a narrow passage of twists and turns and steep inclines. Tall trees lined the steep banks, clinging perilously close to the cliff’s edge.
The high summer sun blazed down from above, glistening on the peaceful ocean. Never was there a more tranquil setting. Across the sea St Michael’s Mount stood defiantly, guarding the bay.
It wasn’t long before I reached Mousehole. As I entered the village the road narrowed further, just wide enough for two lanes. Everywhere seemed a little cramped and confined. Homes were placed almost on top of one another. This was a very intimate place not really suited to traffic. Driving here was making me claustrophobic.
The only way to explore this place was by foot so I parked the car at the first opportunity. Tight cobbled streets led the way to the harbour and panoramic views of Mount’s Bay.
Along the way I passed at least four artists, brushes in hand. One sat in a quiet back street endeavouring to capture the intimacy of a serene Cornish fishing village. He was a young man in his twenties and sat on a wonderfully efficient contraption that included the easel and seat all in one unit. He acknowledged me as I stood behind and gazed enviously at his talent.
I continued towards the harbour and a tiny beach, hoping to catch the young man later to witness his finished masterpiece. A gentle slope led to a small area of golden sand enclosed by the old harbour walls. Boats lay idly around waiting for the passing tide. Children ventured further out to get a taste of the sea.
The seasoned pub overlooking the harbour was at the hub of the community. The low beams and maze of corridors gave a traditional feel to the place. The stair walls were decorated with the photographs of deceased fisherman, drowned in stormy seas in the 1980s. Few can appreciate the courage of these men as they went about their day to day business to earn their livelihoods.
As I drove out of Mousehole the village stayed with me. So quintessentially Cornish, this deep-rooted fishing village has defied the sands of time.