Kitiara Pascoe recommends the beautiful Mullion Cove, which offers good holding
and amazing views
After the slate grey water of the Channel, rounding the Lizard in an easterly breeze and discovering Mullion Cove is akin to discovering the tropics. Sheltered from easterlies and southeasterlies, this cove has clear water, intriguing caves and access to amazing walks.
Provided there’s no swell on the horizon, anchoring just outside the harbour walls is straightforward once you’ve rounded the large and bird-covered Mullion Island and the small yet conspicuous Tregwyn Rock. The holding is good with clean sand in 5-7 metres but weedy and rocky farther out.
Alas, due to the savagery of the 2013-2014 winter storms, the harbour walls were seriously damaged and are currently out of bounds. Repairs are being made but, due to the likelihood of further damage from future storms, the National Trust (the harbour owner since 1945) is reticent to commit to large scale rebuilding. The Victorian design of the walls, the exposure to the west and the probable increase in serious storms mean that nature will eventually win this particular battle.
Nevertheless, you can still land a dinghy inside the drying harbour, although it’s wise to carry it far up, as the harbour is very different at high tide with a 4.7m range at Springs and 2.3m at Neaps. The harbour itself has just a few buildings, including a café and a kayak business, and you won’t have to stroll far either side to find a pretty magnificent view for lunch.
The South-West Coast Path passes through here, to Kynance Cove five miles south and Poldhu Cove just two miles north. Get on to the Coast Path behind the old brick building on the harbour’s south side and climb the grassy hill until you catch the breeze to cool you down. Just 500m up the path, you can look down across aquamarine water and clearly see where the weed ends and the sand begins as well as admiring your yacht. From up here on a sunny summer’s day, you could be in a Spanish ria.
In flat water, I highly recommend going for a row around the rocks under the cliff to the south of the harbour where you’ll discover stunning rock formations, flawless visibility below and perhaps the odd jellyfish. Be careful, however, of any tide running between the mainland, Gull Rock and Mullion Island – there are quite enough nooks, crannies and tiny beaches to enjoy without going through that passage.
If you need supplies, or are thirsting for a pint, then you can stroll a mile east to Mullion village which should accommodate the basics at least. If you’re feeling flush and in the mood for award-winning food, the prominent Mullion Cove Hotel welcomes visitors to dine and offers plenty of local seafood if you really want to soak up the Cornish atmosphere.
Should the wind change to anything from southerly through west to northerly, you’ll need to be quick about upping sticks and moving and if it’s going to go southerly or southwesterly, you may well find yourself with a long trip back around the Lizard to the Helford River or even Falmouth. In suitable conditions, however, Mullion Cove is a truly serene, intriguing anchorage that makes you want to leap into the water, were it not 18 degrees.