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Visit Falmouth’s Ak Wildlife Cruises Competition


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To celebrate the exciting launch of our new booking system, Visit Falmouth has teamed up with the Falmouth based, Ak Wildlife Cruises, to bring you the chance to WIN two, ‘Wildlife Experience’, tickets.

Join the welcoming and knowledgeable Wildlife team aboard their cruiser, ‘Free Spirit’ and spend four hours exploring our fascinating coast and then later further out offshore. You will have the opportunity to search for Seals, Dolphins, Whales, Sharks and a multitude of beautiful coastal birds. TAKE YOUR CAMERA!

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All images – © ak_wildlife_cruises

So, how do you win this fabulous prize? Well that’s simple, just share your favourite Falmouth holiday snap with us on Facebook and the photo with the most likes and comments on May 10th will win!

How to Enter

1. Pick your favourite Falmouth Holiday Photo. Was it a day on the beach, at a festival, a boat trip or just a great snap shot with a great view? So long as it’s Falmouth you can enter it.

2. Post the photo to our Visit Falmouth Facebook Page <<HERE>>. We will then pop it into our competition album for all our facebook friends, and yours, to decide if it is THE winning snap shot by liking and commenting on it.

3. Send us a private message via Facebook with your email address.

4. Remember to tell everyone it’s there to like and comment on.

5. We will notify the winner by email.

6. Good Luck!

A huge thank you and shout out to Ak Wildlife Cruises for this wonderful prize!

Rules
1. Not open to members of Visit Falmouth or their family.
2. Entrants must be 18 or over.
3. No nudity or offensive content.
4. Permission must be sort where there are people other than you present in the image.
5. Visit Falmouth reserve the right to remove any image they deem to be offensive or inappropriate.
6.  Winner will be notified by email so please make sure you private message the Visit Falmouth Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VisitFalmouth with it.
7. The Winner will need to provide a postal address in order to receive the winning tickets.
8. Visit Falmouth’s decision is final.
9. Facebook is in no way involved in or responsible for the running of or the results of this competition.
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Visit Falmouth’s New Commission Free Booking Facility


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Visit Falmouth are pleased to announce the launch of our new commission free booking facility.

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Now when you come to our online hub of all things Falmouth you can explore all the great events, places to visit, history and walks. Take a look at all the wonderful accommodation options, check availability and now book without ever leaving the site.

What’s even more exciting is, because the system is commission free our accommodation providers aren’t forced to put up their prices to cover the loss per booking they often incur with other bigger Online Travel Agents. So, you the guest can be certain the price you pay is the most competitive and with no hidden costs. Plus, when you book through Visit Falmouth.com you are supporting the local economy and ensuring there are more and more great things happening each year for you to come back and enjoy.

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…….and to celebrate we have teamed up with the popular wildlife cruise team AK Wildlife cruises to offer you the chance to WIN one of their exciting and beautiful wildlife cruises. Find out how you can take part <<HERE>>

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Annual Fal Oyster Gathering & Seafood Harvest 2014


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Join the Oyster men and the local community as they come together to celebrate the last weekend of, ‘Oyster Season’, in their very own seafood harvest festival.

28th – 30th March 2014

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Sample native oysters and seafood prepared by a host of popular chefs, enjoy a meal or try a little bit of everything. Then why not take a boat trip and join the Oyster men out on the water and experience a glimpse into their working day.

The festival takes place over two locations, Flushing Quay and across the harbour at Prince of Wales Pier. Enjoy markets, music, food and take the chance to sample a few drops of the craft beer, ‘Penny Comequick’, brewed especially for the Oyster season by the popular Skinners Brewery.

Are you planning to Visit Falmouth for the Oyster Festival? Take a look at our list of Accommodation providers at www.visitfalmouth.com

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How Can I Get To Cornwall With No Trains Running?


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If you are wondering – How Can I Get To Cornwall With No Trains Running? Then you will be pleased to learn - First Great Western ARE running a full schedule between Paddington and Penzance but with bus replacement between Exeter and Plymouth

However, this bus replacement will add an additional 60 – 80 minutes to journey times so please consider this when booking your tickets.

It is anticipated that the bus replacement will be operational for 6 weeks, but this is subject to further inspections to the track by Network Rail and further weather conditions.

The sleeper service is suspended until 28 February 2014.

Full statement is here: www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/About-Us/Media-Centre/2014/February/important-information-about-services-to-and-from-south-west

So we WILL see you in Falmouth after all! Safe Journey everyone.

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Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta 2014


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The Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Regatta 2014 – 28th – 31st August. Could there be a better time to imagine Falmouth as the hub of local and international news and information, when piracy and war were part of the tapestry of the towns day to day lives?

In 1688 the Post Office declared the port of Falmouth the perfect base for its fleet of mail ships. For over 150 years the sight of  sail’s and crafted wooden ships out in the harbour and carrick roads became common place. Goods, passengers, news and bullion were regularly dispatched aboard a Falmouth Packet ship to a great many destinations including the Mediterranean, Brazil, the West Indies, North America and as far afield as Australia. Next to London Falmouth was the second most important center of information and news in the British Empire.

Imagine a time when the streets were filled with the cries of mutiny. The bellowing voices of angry sailors as Customs officers confiscated their personal goods to the tune of Christopher Saverland as he read the Riot Act. Were they legitimate goods or were they, as officials believed, smuggled contraband, ‘perks’?

As you sit on Gyllngvase, Swanpool or Castle Beach overlooked by one of the towns oldest surviving buildings, Pendennis Castle, imagine a time when the bay was filled with canon fire as navy fleets defended the town and Packet ships protected their cargo and crew, (not something we imagine our postal service doing today). Packet ships are believed to have engaged in some 32 battles during the Napoleonic war.  In recognition of such great bravery a granite obelisk was erected on Falmouth Moor in 1896 and remains today as a memorial to the gallantry of the Packet crews.

John Bull, possibly the most famous Packet commander, was well known for his fierce temper and loud booming voice and the ships under his command are recorded as engaging in the most battles. In 1810 a French raider within sight of Pendennnis Castle bid a hasty retreat when Captain Bull cried, ‘Now, my lads there is Pendennis and there are your homes!’ This was followed by a cannon down the deck of the Fench ship, no wonder they retreated. The captains house remains a little way up from Swanpool lake. Marlborough House, named after the second of his ships to carry the name, is now a private residence but is still perfectly visible from the road and is worth the stroll up the short hill.

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© Drew Hound

At it’s peak the Falmouth Packet Fleet totalled 39 ships, it is reported that over 35 ships have registered to take part in this years regatta. Although they are coming from all over the world this number alone will make the vision in the harbour and bay a near perfect picture of the Falmouth Packet Fleet in a 1827 Falmouth.

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© Lee Whitehead Thanks to Tall Ships Falmouth 2014

Will you Visit Falmouth for this years spectacular Tall Ships Regatta? Were you here in 2008? Where will you stay?

 

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Walk – Kennall Vale Gunpowder Works


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Are you looking for a great walk away from the coast and full of history? Would you like to find hobbits, fairies, ghosts, gunpowder mills and nature? Ok, so perhaps the hobbit’s, fairies and ghosts are largely dependent on your imagination, but we can promise you will find the intriguing remains of the Kennall Gunpowder Company works.

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How many boots have walked these steps?

At the peak of productivity in the mid nineteenth century Kennall Vale gunpowder works were producing 4-5 thousand barrels of quality gunpowder a year. Employing 50 men and supplying both the local and international mining industry meant the huge wheels and cogs in the mills rarely stopped turning.

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Gunpowder, heavy machinery housed in mills that look precariously built into the hillside and next to no concrete, ‘Health & Safety’, guidelines create the ideal recipe for disaster.

The first ever fatalities recorded at the works were in February 1826 when Elizabeth Rutter delivered some roast potatoes to the workers at The Mixing House. The hot potatoes combined with the igniting dough this house produced caused an explosion that killed Elizabeth and one of the workers.

Probably the most cited and most terrific explosion to happen at the works occurred a little after 8am one May Monday in 1838. William Dunstan was preparing for work in the presshouse when a spark triggered an explosion that could be heard for miles. As a result 5 mills blew up in quick succession, the roof of one was said to have landed a mile away. Sadly William Dunstan lost his life and co-worker James Paddy who was delivering to the presshouse at the time was seriously injured.

As gelignite and dynamite grew in preference the demand for gunpowder declined until the factory was forced to close in 1910.

For a time a granite quarry was in operation in the woods with the granite being used as memorials during the first world war and in the creation of viaducts across Cornwall.

Today the 20 acre site is managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and is home to several species of wildlife including the interesting Dipper that nests along the river bank.  Several mills, cogs, steps and leet’s remain giving the explorer huge amounts to stimulate the imagination.

The perfect time to visit this fascinating trail through time and nature is during the winter months. The river is at it’s most dramatic and the sun peeps through the trees just enough to cast a magical twinkle on the damp mosses and ferns.

Where To Find Kennall Vale

 
View Larger Map

 Check Bus Time Table Here – Falmouth – Ponsanooth – Timetable

A more detailed account of the vale and it’s history can be downloaded at the Cornish Mining Heritage website.

 

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Traditions of a Cornish Christmas


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‘As our little periodical reaches the homes of our readers, the sounds of Christmas preparations will be predominant. It is not easy to make the festive season an old fashioned one. We go so fast now, what with our electric telegraph, our telephonic connection, our steam, we cannot, if we would be quite to awfully old fashioned. Still we try our best. We hang the mistletoe and decorate our houses with the holly, the fir, myrtle, laurel etc and sit before and around the biggest fire we can manage on our hearths and while toasting our toes we toast each other and wish present and absent friends – A MERRY CHRISTMAS. – Pendennis.’
(The Falmouth & Penryn Weekly Times – 25th December 1880)

Imagine how old Cornwall would manage a traditional Christmas in today’s, ‘superfast’, towns and villages! So, on that note we thought we would give you some ideas of an Old Cornwall Christmas that you may like to include in yours.

The Cornish Bush

Originally the construction of the, Cornish Bush, was part of a pagan ritual during the winter solstice. As Christianity grew the process of creating the bush and it’s meanings adapted. Today it represents new life and is traditionally hung indoors on the 20th of December.

The 3 dimensional round wreath style bush is traditionally made with withy’s, holy, ivy and mistletoe. Shape two circles out of withy, (or wire if you prefer), and pass one circle through the centre of the other to create the 3d shape. Then decorate with the holy and ivy and  add an apple in the centre at the top, the mistletoe is hung from the bottom. Finally a candle, (usually red), is securely added to the centre of the bush that is then suspended from the ceiling.

On the 20th of December just before midnight light the candle and dance under the bush in a circle to welcome in the God of Light.

Long before Christianity the 21st of December was celebrated as the rebirth of the child of the sun and through the love of the Gods new life is born. A, ‘Yule’, log or, ‘Block’, as it is called here in Cornwall may be thrown on to an open fire. During this tradition Cornish bards would call everyone together to tell stories. The light of the fire came to represent the light of the saviour as Christianity grew.

Gin & Cake

visit_falmouth_cake_gin_traditionQuite when this tradition ended I am yet to find out and perhaps any local traders who read this may wish to reinstate it! But……

This Falmouth tradition saw the lower classes receive gifts of Gin and cake from traders after purchasing their Christmas goods. I wonder how many of them made it back up Jacob’s Ladder with their shopping after.

Games

During the nineteenth Century card games were the most popular form of entertainment. Looking at some of Falmouth’s older pubs and houses it isn’t hard to imagine back to groups of people young and old sitting by candlelight around a roaring fire enjoying an animated round or two of cards.

cards

‘Swabbers’, a variation of, ‘Whist‘, (click on the link to see the rules for Whist), was played over the festive season and was a particular favourite among groups of older ladies. The, ‘Swabbers’, are the four aces used for betting this bet is placed at the start of the game. If the trump card pulled is a heart then the stakes are doubled.

Another favourite game to play is, ‘Thus Says the Grand Mufti’. The chosen Grand Mufti stands on a chair and performs an action. She/he then chooses to say, ‘Thus Says the Grand Mufti’, or, ‘So Says the Grand Mufti’.  Everyone must do as the Grand Mufti says but ONLY if they say, ‘Thus Say’s the Grand Mufti.’ Anyone who moves when, ‘So say’s the Grand Mufti,’ is called must pay a forfeit.

The Sans Day Carol  - a familiar Cornish Carol

 

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Mysterious Falmouth Monsters


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When you talk of Cornwall’s history you will inevitably end up discussing pirate invasion, the mysterious lives of the, ‘little people’, mining accidents and their legacies and of course knockers, spriggins and piskies will crop up too. The county is packed even tighter than your overburdened suitcase with myths, legends and UFO sightings and there isn’t a town or village this side of the Tamar that doesn’t have it’s own tale to tell especially at Halloween.

Would you believe me if I told you we don’t need to cast our imaginations back to the days of smuggling to find a tale that will shiver more than your timbers?

As recently as 2009 a dark thick furred creature with a bushy tail, glowing eyes and standing around 3/4ft tall was spotted along the coastal walk from Swanpool to Gyllngvase. Another sighting of, ‘a strange cat-like animal in a tree in the swampy area round the back of Swanpool in 2006′, was reported through the Falmouth Packet and described as, ‘…curled in a cat’s cradle position and looked a bit like an enormous Kuala bear with a long bushy tail. It had long black hair with a brownish tinge.’ Still today at this time of year the story entices people to make the dark and daring walk around the Swanpool lake and along the coastal path to Gyllngvase, without running.

A Sketch Made by Mr Bradbury in 2006 of the, ‘Falmouth Beast’. What do you think scarey? Or on the verge of cute?

With one of the worlds largest natural harbours it makes sense that a beast not too disimilar to that of Scotlands fresh water, ‘Loch Ness Monster’, would choose to take up residence in the depths of our bay.  During the nineteenth century fisherman reported netting sea serpents with legs and horned   heads up to 20ft long off the Cornish coast. Moving on to the first few years of the 1970′s and several sightings of a, ‘Morgawr’, (Cornish for, ‘Sea Giant’), began to emerge. Described as being 20+ft long with a humped back, long neck and horned head. The creature has been sighted in the Helford River, off Pendennis Point, along Rosemullion head and Trefusis point in fact, this stretch of coastal path is know locally as, ‘Morgawr Mile’.

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A wonderful pamphlet produced in 1976 to introduce visitors to, ‘The Monstor of Falmouth Bay’.

For several years sightings or at least reports of seeing, ‘Morgawr’, stopped until the late 90′s when several more sightings along the Swanpool to Gyllngvase coastal path were made and another one as close as just off the shore at Gyllngvase beach.

So tonight if you want to test your nerve, send a little shiver up your spine or simply explore the mysteries of the Falmouth coast it looks like a stroll between Gyllngvase to Swanpool and perhaps once or twice around the lake at dusk could be on the agenda.

Have you got a spooky Falmouth tale to tell?

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Falmouth Beer Festival and The Big Draw


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Warm up your drinking arms and sharpen your pencils because Falmouth is gearing up to host one of the biggest and best beer festivals in the Southwest AND the largest drawing festival in the world!

The Falmouth Beer Festival – 25 – 26th October 2013

11am – 11pm
Tickets £4 or £2 for CAMRA Members
£10 Admission to include a glass, programme and Token Starter Kit

Organised by the Campaign for Real Ale, (CAMRA), the Falmouth Beer Festival is one of the largest and most popular beer festivals in the Southwest. 200+ real ales, real ciders, perries, bottles beers, fruit wines and free soft drinks for drivers.

camra_beer_festival_falmouth_2013Where else would you want try some the best drinks the Southwest has to offer and a few from farther afield? With live entertainment, food and pub games to keep everyone entertained.  Set in the grounds of Gyllngdune Gardens, flanked by the cast iron veranda of the Princess Pavillion and with a view across a stunning Autumnal bay.

Over the last 176 years the estate which once stretched from De Pass Road along to the Membly hall may have passed through several owners and decreased considerably in size but has long hosted large all weather events and festivals. So while you sit and sip your drinks imagine the the Royal Mail Steamer that the cast iron and timber slated seats, added in 1907, were taken from. Or, wander down and admire the shell adjourned restored groto’s.

The Big Draw – Draw Tomorrow – 28th October

10am – 4pm
Free
 
 Big Draw Shop

The Big Draw Spans fifteen Countries and consists of over 900 events intended to get everyone to save the fate of drawing. With a lamp post that incites images of a C.S.Lewis Narnia and a cast iron bandstand that makes a child of the 70′s think of Trumpton, Princess Pavillion is the perfect location for inspiring content at the largest drawing festival in the world.

Working with artist in residence Ruth Pardy, families and individuals are invited to come together and, ‘Draw Tomorrow‘.

And when you need to take a break and getting the creative thoughts going again? Well aside from a wonderful restaurant to dine in you can take a walk across the road, down some old stone twisty steps, through a tunnel and to the beach that was once the private beach of the Gyllyngdune estate.

Which event are you looking forward to most?

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Falmouth Oyster Festival 2013


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The oyster has long been considered the delicacy of the wealthy a luxury reserved for grand special events and occasions. So would you be surprised to learn that the Oyster was once the food of the poor?

In 1298 Oysters were sold by the gallon for less than 1p at a time when the Cornish coast was abundant in wild oyster reefs. Poorer coastal villagers including those of, ‘Smithick’, (Falmouth), would head to the muddy shoreline of creeks and rivers and collect oysters as part of their everyday diet. In reality the oysters richness in zinc, (yes the testosterone inducing mineral and one of the reasons they are considered an aphrodisiac), Iron, Calcium, Selenium, magnesium, protein, Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 meant that they were getting a nutritional addition to a relatively poor diet. Even better, the natural lay-out of the estuary created a continual flow of water that stirred up a steady fresh supply of nutrients placing Fal River oysters at the top for being the most delicious in the world. Something the well travelled and resourceful Romans cottoned on to hundreds of years previously and wasted no time in exporting them back home.

As the 1860’s drew to a close disease, pollution and over fishing caused by dredging as far back as the Roman occupation meant Cornwall’s oyster beds were almost destroyed. Equally alarming was the potential loss of knowledge and skills of an organic and sustainable industry employed by generations of oyster fisherman. This is also marks the turning point for the oyster as a cheap accessible source of nutrients to an expensive delicacy of the wealthy. The oyster was now in short supply.

traditional cornish oyster dredging punt

Traditional Punt

In 1876 a set of bylaws were passed to protect the Fal estuaries oysters and ensured the sustainable methods of dredging that remain in operation today. The use of non mechanical sail and punt and thick strong nets makes Fal River Oyster Fisheries the only sustainable fleet in the world. Very little has changed about the estuaries layout which means that the native oysters not only remain among the best in the world but grow quicker too. Just as well because they are the focus of The Falmouth Oyster Festival every year and why fisheries continue to protect the wild oyster reefs of the Fal Estuary.

The festival is the perfect opportunity to appreciate, enjoy and indulge in the history, creativity, talent and tastes that make Falmouth a wonderful festival location. Believe us when we say WE KNOW HOW TO CELEBRATE!

Falmouth Oyster Festival 2013

Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th October

 

Find A Full Programme of Events Here

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