Mousehole Xmas Illuminations. Mousehole is a fishing village in West Cornwall with a most beautiful harbour. In late September the village begins preparation in earnest for their famous Christmas Lights. Did you know the spectacle began in 1963?. Illuminated usually from the Saturday in the middle of December, until the Friday at the end of the first week of the New Year. Pre Covid there was a Switching on Ceremony, during the Carolaire Night - usually with Mousehole Male Voice Choir and a Brass Band present. Now lights come on gradually from around 4pm, until all displays are lit.
A spectacular and dazzling display of illuminations from dancing reindeer to Santa Claus, to a christmas pudding complete with sprigs of holly. A church with music playing. A cross with two angels. A huge lit happy Xmas, switching to happy New Year every few seconds. A dolphin spouting water. A multi coloured serpent bobbing in the water. A cracker, a pudding, a church with choral music broadcast via speakers- not forgetting the multi coloured lights festooned along the harbour walls. Please give generously to the charity. There is even a star gazy pie in lights, a dish unique to Mousehole, prepared in the Ship Inn, ate on 23rd December- Tom Bawcock's Eve. On New Years Eve families often make it an early evening visit with the children, having a meal of delicious fish and chips as they watch the spectacle unfold.
Long ago Winter storms had prevented the fishing boats putting to sea. In a lull in the bad weather one of their number Tom Bawcock managed to catch enough fish to prevent the village from starving. A pie of many fishes was made from the catch -Stargazy Pie. Nowadays people travel many miles from all over Cornwall and further a-field to see 'The Lights' Not only are the houses and cottages decorated, but also the boats bobbing in the Harbour.
Star Gazy Pie Fish Recipe. For those of you keen to make your own.
Ingredients: Pasty, 5 or 6 Cornish pilchards, 2 or 3 boiled eggs (sliced). Seasoning. Parsley.
Method: Prepare Pastry. Put fish whole, but cleaned in a pie dish. Add sliced eggs and seasoning. Lay pastry over, pushing pilchard's heads through. Cook in hot oven until golden brown. Place sprig of parsley in each fishes mouth. Serve piping hot.
"The Lights are on individual time switches and come on around 5.00 pm and go off at 11 pm. These times are kept to as closely as possible, but do vary very slightly due to the time switches accuracy. Part of the delight of watching the spectacle is not knowing which will be lit next. On December the 19th they turn off all the lights, except a cross, at 8.00 pm and then back on again at 9.00pm. The cross and angels remain lit however. This is in memoriam to the crew of the lost Penlee Lifeboat". Cornwall Christmas Mousehole Illuminations. There are lots of places to stay in West Cornwall Bed and Breakfast.
Arrive early or very late, many many people visit each year. Have a bite to eat or a drink in the Ship Inn, browse the gift shops, as you wait for the sun to set behind the hill. On a still afternoon the smoke from countless coal fires hangs low in the air. In a south westerly gale waves smashing against the harbour wall - huge timber baulks closing the entrance to the Winter storms. Seagulls flying overhead to roost offshore on St Clements Isle. Don't miss Newlyn Xmas Lights too.
Villagers split themselves into small, but dedicated, teams of constructors, erectors, and maintainers, not forgetting the collectors, all giving thousands of hours of their own time free, often out of doors in freezing weather. Displays need updating, and repairing, changing to safer low voltage electricity and use of LED's too. Set pieces can be damaged in winter storms. And though thousands of pounds are raised from the collection this is barely enough to pay for the electricity; testing costs, legal order fees, all needed to maintain and run the spectacle each year, let alone afford to replace or buy new. Let us all hope it can continue. Do not be a Yuletide Scrooge -please please give generously, every little helps.
Please check exact dates of events and timings before setting out, and indeed if event is taking place at all.
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Page updated Dec. 2015
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