The pretty and quaint Cornish harbour at Lamorna Cove offers a good refuge when waiting for a weather window to round Land’s End, says Dag Pike

The jewel of West Cornwall: Lamorna Cove

In any cruise heading west along the Channel, Land’s End is always something of a milestone.

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

It is also a place where you will be watching the forecast carefully, particularly if the wind is in the northwest.

Lamorna Cove offers a great spot to wait for the wind to ease before rounding Land’s End.

The cove offers good protection in any winds from the northwest right around to the northeast.

When you look at the chart you might think that there is good protection from the west, but any winds from that direction can generate quite a swell coming into the cove that might spell a disturbed night at anchor.

If you want shelter from the west then it is best to head a bit further into Penzance Bay and find calmer waters off Mousehole or Newlyn.

Chart of Lamorna Cove

Credit: Maxine Heath

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

Look for the scattered buildings on the shore and the spoil heaps of granite rocks on the eastern side of the cove, which are the remains of the quarries where high-quality granite was excavated.

It was this quality granite that led to the tiny harbour being built at Lamorna.

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

The last time I visited it looked as though a whole section of the breakwater had collapsed under the battering of winter storms, leaving a trail of rocks close to the dinghy landing site.

This means you’ll need to land on the beach if you plan to go ashore, which can be pretty stony.

Entering the cove is straightforward enough with no off-lying dangers.

The depths gradually decrease so it is easy to head straight in with the sounder operating until you find the depth you are comfortable with.

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

At lowish water you might want to head ashore for the pretty curved sandy beach that becomes exposed.

There is a cafe built into the harbour wall under the cliffs, but the gem of Lamorna is the pub, the Lamorna Wink, a half-mile walk along the main road in and out of the cove.

The last time I was there they did fabulous fish and chips plus excellent beer.

Lamorna has a long heritage of smuggling and the name of the pub reflects this, an indication of what you might get if you got the ‘wink’.

Much of Lamorna is privately owned including the harbour and it is currently up for sale.

As an anchorage, let’s hope Lamorna remains one of those little gems on the stunning Cornish coast.


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