Despite the crazy weather with torrential rain and hosepipe bans up country, its been almost perfect for learning to kitesurf down here in Cornwall.
With small waves and North to West winds, Gwithian has been amazing with all the beaches around St Ives bay offering up amazing kite conditions.
In the southerly winds we have been having, Marazion has been perfect, although some waves last week have stirred up a bit of weed making for some line tangles and the students learning about the importance of staying away from weed and cleaning your lines after your kitesurf session. The beach have now been cleaned by Cornwall Council who use the weed to fertilize the farms around Penzance.
With great winds forecast again all this week and the beaches pretty empty, there has been no better time to learn to kitesurf in Cornwall, so make the most of this summer and get in touch today to book in your extreme adventure with Pasty Adventures, West Cornwalls only British Kite Surfing Association recognised school.
We also pride ourselves on offering the best value kitesurf instruction in the UK concentrating on giving intimate instruction to the students. To do this we recommend 1:1 instruction so that you can learn at your own pace. We also offer the 'Learn with a friend' option for all of our kitesurf courses as kitesurfing is a really socialable sport and great to learn with your mates. 2:1 is the biggest class size we run, unlike most other schools who operate on a 4:1 basis. We believe this is unfair as you spend a lot of time hanging around and we want you to learn quickly, while having an amazing time and feeling like you are getting amazing value. Kitesurfing is an expensive sport to learn but we feel it is worth every penny and want you to feel this right from your first lesson!
We can also sort you out with some great deals on new equipment thanks to local shop Westcountry Watersports in Truro and our sponsors North Kiteboarding so there has been no better time to get into the Worlds fastest growing extreme sport.
Tom Bawcock's Eve is a festival held on the 23rd of
December in Mousehole. The festival is held in celebration and memorial of the efforts of Mousehole resident Tom Bawcock to lift a famine from the village.
During this festival Star Gazey Pie (a mixed fish, egg and potato pie with
protruding fish heads) is eaten and depending on the year of celebration a
lantern procession takes place.The children's book The Mousehole Cat by
Antonia Barber was inspired by the traditions a of Tom Bawcock's Eve and has now made this feast famous. The feast also coincides with the world famous Mousehole harbour lights.
There are several theories to the origins of this festival, the first
recorded description was made by Morton Nance in 1927 in the magazine "Old Cornwall". Nance described the festival as it existed at the turn of the 19th century. Within this work Nance also speculated that the name Bawcock was
derived from Beau Coc (French) - , he believed the cock was a herald of new light in pagan times and the origins of the festival were pre-Christian. The most likely derivation of the name 'Bawcock' is from Middle English use
(influenced from French) where a Bawcock is a nickname for a fine or worthy fellow. Rumours persist however that in fact the feast was "invented" in the 1950's by the landlord of the Ship Inn, a rumour which can be dismissed if you
examine the Morton Nance's writings of the 1920's. Because of the volume of people now visiting Mousehole on this date small Tom Bawcock's celebrations have over spilled into the nearby communities of Newlyn and Penzance, however these
are rarely advertised.
Click here for the recipe for Star Gazey Pie.
There is an ongoing folk music tradition associated with Tom Bawcock's Eve.
Below is one version of Tom Bawcock's Song'the words written by Morton Nance in 1927 to a local traditional tune called the 'wedding March'. It is believe that Nance first observed the festivities at the turn of the 19th Century.
Lyrics of the song
"merry place you may believe, Tiz Mouzel 'pon Tom Bawcock's eve
To be there then who wouldn't wesh, to sup o' sibm soorts o' fish
When morgy brath had cleared the path, Comed lances for a fry
And then us had a bit o' scad an' Starry-gazie pie
As aich we'd clunk, E's health we drunk, in bumpers bremmen high,
And when up caame Tom Bawcock's name, We'd prais'd 'un to the sky"
Click here for an audio file and full
lyrics of the song
The Home of Cornish Culture
Tom Bawcock's Eve
The storms had blown for weeks and the fishermen of Mousehole had been unable to set to sea. The villagers' supplies of dried fish and beans had been exhausted and the families were facing starvation. In spite of the prayers led by the local priest the storms still blew unabated and many boats had been sunk at their moorings. There wasn't the protection there that there is today.
In a few days it would be Christmas, a time of feasting and good cheer. In Mousehole that year all the talk was of the weather and how the womenfolk would not allow their men to face the winds and flying spray. Going hungry was one thing but being a widow with fatherless children was quite another.
Tom Bawcock was a well known local fisherman. A quiet, caring man his wife had died some years before and since then he had continued to live in their little cottage on his own. There was no one to stop Tom as he slipped the mooring from his little craft and sailed out into the tumultuous sea. Villagers who had seen his departure were helpless to stop him. They called out but their words were flung away by the storm. Once or twice his little boat with its partly reefed sail was seen on the crest of a gigantic wave. Then it was gone.
That night there was no sign of Tom. Dusk had come early that late December evening, the scudding clouds hid the moon and stars produced a night sky which could only have been painted by the Devil himself. The people of Mousehole huddled silently together in their houses during the cold night remembering the kindness of Tom Bawcock who had lived amongst them for so many years. Always with a friendly word for everybody he met he loved all of the village children and was always willing to help whenever he could.
It was the day before Christmas Eve but nobody dared to mention the festive season. Holding their stomachs against the pangs of hunger they were doing their best to keep warm when a shout was heard outside.
"Tom's back!" came the cry as a man rushed round the narrow streets calling out the news.
Everyone who could wrapped themselves up and rushed to the quayside. First of all there was nothing to be seen and the villagers feared the worst, that it was a cruel hoax caused by the strange sounds of the storm. Then another cry went up.
"There 'e is!"
Staring into the wet, grey blanket which hung just a few yards from the quay the village folk caught a glimpse of that small sail, now in tatters, before it disappeared again into a deep trough. The watching women dropped to their knees, clutching their shawls around their heads and crossed themselves in prayer. The men, knowing the power of the sea, stood still, tight lipped and silent until the boiling mass of water had thrown the little boat up again to perch high on the crest of a wave. This time it was nearer to the quay and the outline of Tom could be seen fighting to keep on course in the terrible conditions. Then he was gone again and the people held their breath but this time he reappeared sooner, much nearer to the quay. The fishermen scrambled down to their boats as Tom was likely to crash in amongst them. Next time he appeared it was possible for one of the fishermen to catch the line that Tom threw. In a few moments the boat was secured and bobbing up and down with the others.
Tom could hardly stand as he was helped ashore. The small crowd broke into cheers and cries of relief as they realised that he had come home from the sea during the worst storm in living memory.
"Hey!" a shout came from one of the men who had climbed into his boat, "Tom's got fish!" In all the excitement about his safe return there hadn't been a thought about the reason why he had gone to sea in the first place. Whilst fighting all that the storm could throw at him Tom had been casting his lines from his pitching boat for all that his life was worth. His boat was full of fish, the first that had been seen in Mousehole for a very long time. When the catch was landed it was found that Tom had caught no less than seven types of fish.
That night there was the finest feast that anyone in Mousehole could ever remember. Tom Bawcock was their saviour and everyone had a Merry Christmas.
To this day the scene is re-enacted in Mousehole each "Tom Bawcock's Eve", the day before Christmas Eve. A local fisherman sails into the harbour and lands his catch from a small boat. The children carry symbolic lighted lanterns in the shape of fishes in a musical procession around the same tiny village streets where that storm had raged. Nowadays the children hand out fish shaped biscuits to the old folk and joyfully sing to celebrate that frightening but wonderful Christmas of long ago.
Famous Cornish People Cornwall's History