When you visit Mevagissey in Cornwall for the first time, you might think that it is a really typical Cornish village by the sea; steep windy streets, so narrow that cars are continually getting stuck as they come face to face with another going in the opposite direction, pretty cottages, a quay, an inner and outer harbour, leisure boats and fishing boats which mean plenty of fresh fish, and a million photo opportunities. Its nearest big town is St Austell which is one of the biggest towns in Cornwall. Although Mevagissey is quite small with a population smaller than our little village of Uphill, it is the second biggest fishing ports in Cornwall.
We stayed in a very nice small hotel, the Tregorran Guest House and we left the car there to walk down to the quay, much more sensible! The streets are incredibly steep, but there’s such a lot to look at – as a tourist, that you can take your time walking down, and take even longer walking back up! The little lanes twisted and turned between the pretty jumble of cottages, and after wandering along the late afternoon streets, the gift shops, and cafés beginning to close, we turned into the harbour with the boats bobbing gently. It was actually a miserable day, grey skies and spots of rain, but we really didn’t care, we were in such a lovely place.
I knew nothing about the village, but later found out that not only is it a fishing village, but there was boat building too since the 1700’s. The last boat builder’s yard and premises is now the museum. Unfortunately it was shut, but we will visit next time. The name Mevagissey comes from two saints, St Meva or Mevan and St Issy and the name dates from the 1300’s; however, like many places it has been called different things over the ages, and its Cornish name is Lannvorek. We ate in a restaurant overlooking the harbour, and we noticed a car parked down on the slipway, in danger of being engulfed by the steadily rising tide. We heard someone say it was going to be a particularly high tide and we asked the waitress about it. We had imagined it was some foolish tourist who had left their car in such a risky position, but no, it was a local fisherman who did it all the time!
I was intrigues to learn that I had in a way ‘visited’ Mevagissey before; I vaguely remembered the name Trewissik from Susan Cooper’s books ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’ and ‘Greenwitch’ from her ‘The Dark is Rising’ series which I read when I was still at school. She based her imagined town on Mevagissey – maybe I should read them again and see what I recognise!
There’s plenty to do in Mevagissey –