The Mousehole Christmas Lights
Now celebrating its 51st year, the Mousehole Christmas Lights that illuminate the tiny and ever-popular harbour village of West Cornwall is a huge event that just keeps growing year on year – attracting approximately 40,000 people over the festive period.
A huge amount of community effort and volunteer work goes into preparation for the annual event, with plans and organising beginning in September. The narrow winding streets and cosy harbour are adorned with reams of lanterns and imaginative locally-made lights including floating displays depicting local legends and Mousehole’s fishing and coastal culture.
The Mousehole Harbour Lights organizing committee estimate that approximately 7,000 bulbs will light up the village this Christmas using around 5 miles of cable with the largest light display measuring 160ft wide reading ‘Merry Christmas / Happy New Year’. Another popular and ambitious construction consists of a large Celtic Cross that sits on St Clement’s Island within the bay and is powered by a wind generator.
The lights will switch on on 13th December at 7:30pm, with an open air Carolaire Choir consisting of the Mousehole Male Voice Choir, members of the local community and the Methodist church and led by Pendeen Silver Band.
The lights will remain on each evening until the 3rd January. The 14th of December, however, will see the lights dimmed between 8-9pm in honour of the Penlee lifeboat Soloman Browne, which lost its entire crew during a tragic storm in 1981.
December 23rd marks another Mousehole celebration known as Tom Bawcock’s Eve where a procession of paper lanterns made by the local children parade through the street and traditional Stargazy pie is served up as a mark of respect for the famed and brave fisherman who ventured out into huge storms to feed the starving villagers who had been without food for some time. This delicious dish of baked pilchards, egg and moist pastry pie crust can be enjoyed at The Ship Inn and is traditionally characterised by the pilchards’ heads poking skyward through the pie crust – hence the name Stargazy.
Parking can be difficult in Mousehole at the best of times and during the Christmas festivities it’s best to park outside of the village and walk in where possible, or make a real holiday of it and stay in the fishing village itself. Porth Enys House, overlooking Mousehole, is just a short stroll away and sleeping up to 10 is the perfect festive retreat.
This enormous event couldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the staggering amount of man-hours, community volunteers and donations that keep it going each year. The harbour lights recently received a welcome donation via the Big Lottery Fund of £9000 to help assist in upgrades and maintenance of these famed harbour lights. Any contributions are gratefully received. To find out how you can get involved visit The Mousehole Harbour Lights website.