Mousehole- a picturesque fishing village in a beautiful setting. Like Newlyn and Penzance sacked by a Spanish raiding party in July 1595 when the whole village except one house was burnt to the ground. That house, Squire Keigwins, whose owner lost his life defending it, is now the oldest remaining. A hundred years ago it was a bustling place, with the harbour crowded with fishing boats, landing locally caught pilchards, destined to be packed into barrels. Narrow streets, blind alleys, it has it all. Both working boats and visiting yachts still use the harbour today. Overlooking the village is the famous Wild Bird Hospital, which over the last 70 or so years has saved the lives of thousands of birds, particularly sea birds. Thousands of people flock to the village to see the Mousehole Christmas Lights Long ago Winter storms had prevented the fishing boats putting to sea. In a lull in the bad weather one of their number Tom Bawcock managed to catch enough fish to prevent the village from starving. A pie of many fishes was made from the catch -Star Gazzy Pie. Nowadays people travel many miles from all over Cornwall and furthur afield to see 'The Lights' Not only are the houses and cottages decorated but even the boats bobbing in the Harbour. There are even helicopter flights from Penzance to see the spectacle. Mousehole is a delightful village with restaurants, craft shops and pubs, as well as a general store. It lies on the sheltered side of the Land’s End peninsula, three miles west of Penzance and the neighbouring fishing port of Newlyn. It is the perfect centre for exploring West Cornwall. Mousehole Cornwall England Mousehole a Cornish Fishing village that can be found just a few miles along the coast from Newlyn, Cornwall. The village occupies the cliff face and as a result, the center of activity is around the small harbour and surrounding shops. This site provides pictures of a popular annual event at this picturesque village. Every Christmas, the people of Mousehole decorate their houses and the harbour with Christmas lights and decorations. As a result, visitors flock from all over the UK and beyond, to enjoy the festival of colour. Each year 30,000 visitors flock to see the locally constructed displays. Featuring some 7,000 lights bulbs, 40 set piece displays and a team of 30 volunteers, the lights start to go up in October, by December they are ready and the 'switch-on' has become a 'must' for thousands. Nearby, Newlyn also boasts an impressive an display of festive illuminations. Look out for the castle, the lobster the mermaid and the pirate! Click the link below for pictures of the Newlyn lights and you will see that this busy commercial harbour is certainly worth visiting. Mousehole is not without a long and at times traumatic history. In 1981, the Penlee lifeboat Solomon Browne - was called to assist the newly commissioned MV Union Star. The events of that night are described here. The memory of the event lives on; every year, on the 19th December, the Christmas lights are switched off, in memory of those who gave their lives. Shipwreck of the M.V. Union Star and the loss of the Penlee Lifeboat Solomon Browne Cornish people have traditionally relied on the sea to provide for their families. Fishing, though under threat, still plays a major role in the local economy. A visit to the Newlyn Fish market will reveal catches brought home from as far as the Bay of Biscay and beyond. Due to this maritime relationship, the local people voluntarily man the Royal National Life Boat Institution's lifeboats. The crews, made up of local people, will go to the aid of fellow mariners in distress. Often in conditions of extreme personal danger. On 19th December, 1981 the crew of the RNLI Penlee lifeboat - Solomon Browne - were called to give assistance to the 1,400 ton coaster Union Star. The M.V. Union Star, a new vessel registered in Dublin was on her maiden voyage from Ijmuiden to Arklow. The weather conditions were amongst the worst ever seen, with winds from the south east at hurricane force 12 and gusting to 90 knots; the seas off the coast of South West Cornwall were topping heights of around 60ft. The M.V. Union Star had reported engine failure when eight miles east of Wolf Rock Lighthouse. She was drifting towards the cliffs between the Tater-du Lighthouse and Boscowan pt. The conditions were so poor that in spite of many attempts a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter, piloted by Lt-Cdr Russell L. Smith USN, operating at under the 300ft level of the nearby cliffs and in winds exceeding 100mph, was unable to lift off any of the coaster's crew. In a letter, read during the inquest held at Penzance following the tragedy, the Navy pilot wrote; "Throughout the entire rescue the Penlee crew never appeared to hesitate. After each time they were washed, blown or pumped away from the casualty [the Union Star] the Penlee crew immediately commenced another run-in. Their spirit and dedication was amazing. They were truly the greatest eight men I have ever seen." As the mountainous seas drove the Union Star towards the cliffs the crew of the Solomon Browne, led by Coxswain William Trevelyan Richards, repeatedly took the lifeboat alongside the coaster attempting to rescue the eight people on board. On at least two occasions the lifeboat was lifted onto the deck of the Union Star and then slid back into the sea - stern first. The Solomon Browne was observed to have slammed against the coaster's side but was seen moving away, apparently still under control. The last message from the lifeboat confirmed that four people had been rescued. Before returning to their base the helicopter crew saw Solomon Browne, then only about 50 yards off the steep to rocky shore, turn, possibly to make another approach. There was no further radio contact with the lifeboat, but her lights were seen to disappear some ten minutes later, at about the same time that the Union Star was overwhelmed and laid on her side to the west of Tater-du Lighthouse. As news of the tragedy was unfolding, the Vincent Nesfield Lifeboat which was temporarily on station at Sennen Cove, was launched in the very early hours of December the 20th. The Oakley class lifeboat was under the command of Coxwain/Mechanic Maurice Hutchens but, heading into the full force of the storm and with wind against tide increasing the ferocity of the seas, she was unable to round Lands End. The Vincent Nesfield launched again and joined the St Mary's, Isles of Scilly lifeboat along with the Lizard-Cadgwith lifeboat The Duke of Cornwall, helicopters, HM Coastguard coastal rescue teams and fishing vessels in the search for those missing. Despite many hours searching throughout the night and following day, eight lifeboat crew and the crew on board the Union Star were lost. Some of the bodies have never been recovered. Fred Wallis, Father of Gary Lee Wallis told the author of this site; 'The night the lifeboat was launched many of the crew and my son were in the British Legion club playing darts and snooker when the maroons went off, ( the maroons were a rocket fired in the air and gave a loud bang) all the volunteers would run to the Lifeboat station and be selected by Charlie Richards aka "Whackers", the skipper, on the night of the disaster Whackers chose only one member from each family, there was always plenty of volunteers, however on this night the weather was so bad he was very worried. My son Gary ask me to watch his beer as he would be back for it, Im still watching it, he never returned.' Awards for gallantry have been made to the coxswain and crew of the Solomon Browne for the rescue of four people from the Union Star despite the tragic end to their efforts. The Gold medal for outstanding gallantry was warded to Coxswain William Trevelyan Richards. The Bronze medal for gallantry was awarded to each member of the lifeboat's crew: Second Coxswain/Mechanic James Stephen Madron Assistant Mechanic Nigel Brockman Emergency Mechanic John Robert Blewett Crew Member Charles Thomas Greenhaugh Crew member Kevin Smith Crew member Barrie Robertson Torrie Crew member Gary Lee Wallis A gold medal service plaque was awarded to the station. Toll for the Brave The dark enveloped them As they rode out And left the shore, But in that night Their light Was seen no more The summons they obeyed, Sudden, unafraid, Would be for them a final call, Would lead them, death defied, Into the hideous cauldron Where they died, Those young men, all. And there, Great deeds were done. Toll for the braveThey had one life to give, One precious life, And that they gave. Douglas Tregenza Mousehole (pronounced Muzl) is a fabulous place It is quite a large old fishing village with very narrow streets stretching up the hillside from the harbour front. Some of the houses have courtyards and pretty gardens, others have their front doors opening on to the street. The small harbour has a narrow entrance and the offshore rocks of St.Clement's Isle and Shag Rock help to act as a breakwater. Nowadays the village is very much involved in the holiday trade, as most coastal towns and villages in Cornwall are, but fishing is still carried on by the small mackerel boats. There are hotels and guesthouses, but little room for cars in the narrow streets; parking is mostly limited to the small car park adjacent to the harbour. The Harbour. Although Newlyn is today the prominent fishing port in Cornwall, this was not always the case. Back in the 13th century, Mousehole was the main port in Mounts Bay and remained so well into the 16th century until Penzance and Newlyn began to gain ascendancy. However, even in the last century there were still hundreds of people employed here in fishing, packing and transporting of fish. Over the years the harbour walls were gradually extended and built to cater for the hive of activity taking place. Standing on the quay today, one can hardly imagine all the sailing vessels putting in to such a small space. Attractions. Mousehole has an industrious community and several celebrations take place during the year. There is a Fish Festival in the summer, Tom Bococks's Eve. in December and the Christmas Lights rememberance celebration when the local fishermen and friends bedeck the harbour and their boats with coloured lights; a very beautiful spectacle. If you're interested in the care of wildlife, the Bird Hospital on Raginnis Hill takes in damaged wild birds for nurturing. They do a lot of good work and have sometimes been inundated because of oil spills at sea; in these cases the cleaning process itself is very time consuming. Walking. An extremely enjoyable walk can be taken along the coast path to Lamorna Cove. Its about a six mile round trip and varied, but not too rugged except towards the Lamorna end. Well worth the effort.