Cornish Midsummer bonfire at Chapel Carn Brea

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As daylight fades from the sky people gather all over Cornwall for the traditional Cornish midsummer bonfires, these photos are from the top of Chapel Carn Brea where the first fire was lit. The next fire was lit on a hill near Madron. Other fires were lit at Castle-an-Dinas and Rosewood Hill until a firey chain could be seen through the 80 mile length of the Cornish peninsula right up to the Tamar border. The event has been hosted by the Old Cornwall Society since 1920.

In ancient times the fires held on Midsummer Eve, just after the solstice, would have celebrated high summer, with the sun at its peak of its power and glory in the heavens, and promising ripeness to the maturing fruits and grain. They were supposed to bring on the crops, and animals, such as rabbits and pigs, and sometimes criminals as well, were sacrificed in the flames, these days just the traditional bouquet of herbs and flowers is burnt. Continue reading

Traditional Cornish Oyster boats

Traditional Cornish Oyster boats, part of the Port of Truro Oyster fishery, the last oyster fishery in Europe harvested under sail.

Open ended cages are dragged through the silt to harvest the Oysters. The cages are tipped out onto trays built along the inner rim of the hull where the silt is washed out the stern leaving the Oysters behind.

Its not hard to cast your mind back in time to when the background of the picture would be void of modern boats. The two in the foreground may date back as far as the 19th century.

When Richard Carew wrote the Survey of Cornwall in 1602, oysters were being caught using dredges “a thick strong net fastened to three spills of iron, and drawn to the boat’s stern, gathering whatsoever it meeteth lying in the bottom of the water, out of which, when it is taken up, they cull the oyster and cast away the residue, which they term gard, and serveth as a bed for the oysters to breed in.”

More photos of Mylor Harbour HERE

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