Falmouth, Cornwall

Falmouth is extraordinarily picturesque as seen from my cockpit here in the visitors’ haven in the centre of town. I can see the curve of the Maritime Museum, the swoop of the hills on the far side of Penryn Creek and scores of boats dotted across the water. The town itself rises steeply all grey stone and whitewashed plaster. Gulls sob and wail above the high tide, wheeling through the air in their hunt for anything edible.

The area is full of beautiful boats. This harbour is home to the last working fleet of sailboats I
In the country, oyster dredgers, who also race many evenings, their chequered top sails jaunty above the extended bowsprits and cocked yards as they flock over the shallows and deeps of the Carrick Roads.

On the pontoon across from me is an old Belgian smack, her bowsprit a good three yards length of rounded timber as thick as my (not insubstantial) thigh. She has a merry Scottish family aboard. They arrived about 0830 this morning after a fractious night on their mooring buoy in the Helford River; once tied up Dad was heard to announce that now they could all walk ashore. Immediately two dinghies were launched, the crabbing nets came out and everybody spent the day playing on the water. Rafted on the far side of the smack is a very elegant classic white wooden ketch. Her simple lines are somewhat strained by the two plastic kayaks lashed to her guard rails, though they do show the multiple opportunities for messing about in boats offered in this corner of Cornwall.

In my stay here, enforced by unusual spells of easterly winds, I have been very impressed by the cultural events offered in this small town. If I chose I could have seen a show or participatedin a discussion every night this week. I passed on a second evening of contemporary dance (the first having been a pleasant way to enjoy Trebah Gardens) and tonight’s pre-Edinburgh comedy night. But I been to an friendly book group, a subtitled French film (Renoir and several art exhibitions. Most of this activity doesn’t seem to be summer only.

It’s just a long way from here to anywhere I can earn a living. But if I didn’t have to work, Falmouth would be high on my list of possible places to settle.

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About Sarah Tanburn

I'm a writer, a sailor and a strategic adviser to public organisations. Visit my websites to find out more.
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