Fifty years ago this month, an artist living and working in a Cornish fishing village, strung out a few fairy lights to brighten up the harbour at Christmastime. The idea caught on, and year on year more lights appeared – and now the spectacular Mousehole Harbour Christmas Lights have become one of the county’s most popular seasonal attractions, bringing around 30,000 visitors to the tiny resort.
The incredible community spirit in the village means that everyone gets involved. Over the years the volunteers have created more than 40 major set pieces.
The biggest illumination is a huge 50m long x 6m high colourful ‘Merry Christmas / Happy New Year’ sign that uses a thousand light bulbs, and twinkles a welcome from the hill high above the rooftops.
This year marks the Golden Anniversary of the ‘lights’ and although no-one’s saying, I’m sure the organisers have planned something extra special for the big switch-on tomorrow night at 7.30pm.
If you are lucky enough to be anywhere near South West Cornwall, and can manage along to see the Mousehole Christmas Lights, then you’re in for a treat.
If not, there’s an early gift waiting for you in the tree on the top right of the page… just click to read.
A Mark of Remembrance
Although the harbour lights is a great festive celebration, there is a touch of poignancy every year when the people of Mousehole remember the storm-lashed night of December 19, 1981, when eight local men – members of the Penlee Lifeboat crew – died trying to save the lives of others on the stricken freighter as hurricane-force winds and 60ft waves battered the south-west Cornwall coast. The tragedy left 12 children in the village without fathers that night.
As a mark of remembrance, the Mousehole lights will be dimmed on that date, between 8pm and 9pm – the time when the lifeboat sank.
A few stats: The villagers have to raise £16,000 a year to stage the Christmas spectacle, which uses 7000 bulbs and around 6 miles of cable. You can read more about it here.
Have a lovely week, everyone. Rx
* Unless otherwise stated, all the above photos were taken by the event’s official photographer, Ian Morris.