Lamorna Cove: the jewel of West Cornwall

The pretty and picturesque Cornish harbor at Lamorna Cove offers a good refuge while waiting for a weather window to bypass Land’s End, says Dag Pike

The jewel of West Cornwall: Lamorna Cove

On any cruise west along the English Channel, Land’s End is always an important stopover.

This is the point where you turn the corner into the Irish Sea and where you can be exposed to the full force of the Atlantic.

This is also a place where you will carefully monitor the forecast, especially if the wind is northwesterly.

Lamorna Cove offers a great place to wait for the wind to weaken before circling around Land’s End.

The cove offers good protection against northwesterly to northeasterly winds.

When you look at the map you might think there is good protection from the west, but any wind from that direction can generate quite a large swell in the cove that could cause a disturbed night at anchor.

If you want shelter from the west, it’s best to head a little further into Penzance Bay and find calmer waters off Mousehole or Newlyn.

Credit: Maxine Heath

The white lighthouse a mile off the coast of Mousehole is a good indication that you are approaching Lamorna.

Look for the buildings scattered along the shore and the granite rock slag heaps on the east side of the cove, which are the remains of the quarries where high quality granite was excavated.

It is this quality granite that led to the construction of the small port of Lamorna.

It is tucked away in the northwest corner of the cove, but the granite breakwater is in poor condition.

The last time I visited, it looked like an entire section of the breakwater had collapsed under the winter storms, leaving a trail of boulders near the dinghy landing site.

This means that you will have to land on the beach if you plan to go ashore which can be quite rocky.

The entrance to the cove is quite simple, without any danger.

The depths gradually decrease, so it’s easy to steer directly with the sonar until you find the depth you’re comfortable with.

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Depending on the wind direction, you will probably want to find an anchorage towards the west shore, although the depths can collapse quickly.

In low water, you might want to head to the lovely curving sandy beach which becomes exposed.

There is a cafe built into the harbor wall below the cliffs, but Lamorna’s gem is the pub, the Lamorna Wink, half a mile along the main road leading in and out of the cove.

The last time I was there they made a fabulous fish and chips as well as a great beer.

Lamorna has a long contraband heritage and the pub’s name reflects that, an indication of what you might get if you had the ‘wink’.

Much of Lamorna is privately owned, including the port, and is currently for sale.

As an anchor, let’s hope that Lamorna remains one of those little gems of the magnificent Cornish coast.


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About Marco C. Nichols

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