Mousehole or the Cornish way “Mowzel” is a place I’ve wanted to visit since reading the children The Mousehole Cat story written by Antonia Barber. The Mousehole Cat is a delightful story inspired by the old Cornish legend of Tom Bawcock.
As legend has it one winter way back in the 16th Century the Mowzel villagers faced starvation a severe storm had hounded them for weeks and the fisherman hadn’t been able to get their fishing boats safely through the harbour ‘mousehole’ and out to sea to catch fish. As Christmas approached the legendary old Tom Bawcock took his boat out on the 23rd December into the stormy seas and didn’t come back until he’d landed fish to feed the villagers.
I think this story is all the more exciting if you buy it from the little Cat & Mouse gift shop that sits snugly by the harbour.
To this day the Mousehole village lights up the harbour at Christmas time and the Tom Bawcock Eve festival is held every year to celebrate his bravery. There’s a lantern parade and the villagers feast on stargazy pie in his honour.
Stargazy Pie is an old classic Cornish dish of pilchards, potatoes and cheesy sauce wrapped in pastry – the heads of the pilchards or sardines sticking through the pastry gazing supposedly at the stars. There’s a good stargaze pie recipe over on BBC Food.
One of the nicest places to visit in Cornwall, Mousehole is every bit the picturesque Cornish fishing village you would expect it to be. With lovely little cottages tucked into the hillside and the views from the little beachside gardens are the stuff of my Cornish life dreams.
There’s a fab little selection of shops from art galleries, interiors shops inspired by coastal living to delicious foodie shops and of course the Ship Inn with dishes like Moules mariniere – local Cornish mussels cooked in garlic & white wine served with local granary bread or perhaps the Lamb & ‘Cornish Rattler’ stew a lamb stew cooked in a rich tomato and ‘Cornish Rattler’ cider sauce served with warm local bread. My mouth waters just thinking of them!
There’s little sad reminders of the dangers of the sea scattered around Mouseholes from the Fitzroy Barometer set into the thick stone wall. Loaned to Mouseholes in 1854 by Admiral Fitzroy founder of the Meteorological Society to not only gather data but to also help warn fisherman of pending bad weather in an attempt to saves lives.
And the plaque of remembrance on the wall of the Ship Inn in memory of the Mousehole men lost in the Penlee lifeboat tragedy in 1981. As beautiful and stunning as the sea can be a poignant reminder of just how dangerous and quickly things can change.
If looking for things to do in Cornwall, it’s easy to spend a day in Mousehole the beautiful winding narrow streets of the village to explore, the picturesque fishermen’s cottages, the busy little harbour, the whole place breathes seafaring history. Eat Cornish pasties, linger and breath in the atmosphere for a good while.
I only recommend the nicest most interesting places to visit – this is one of them – Enjoy!
Thanks to to Visit Cornwall for help with the Mousehole Harbour Lights photograph & if you’re looking for things to do with kids UK – head over to the Visit Cornwall website for some fab Cornish inspiration.