Cornwall's fishing heritage

Being surrounded by cool seas, Britain has a long history of being an excellent fishing country.  Some of the most popular seafood and fish live off our coast, and this has led to some counties being dominated by the fishing industry.  Cornwall has one of the lowest populations per square km, and many of the settlements are by the coast.  So, pretty much any coastal town you visit will have a fishing industry of some kind.  This makes for some great subjects to photograph, particularly if you're into street or documentary photography. Falmouth harbour

Falmouth is one of the bigger towns in south-west Cornwall, and it had a pretty nice vibrant feel.  There's a relatively new university, and when we visited there was a food festival on just outside the National Maritime Museum.  Being busy and full of people cooking up a storm (I was sorely tempted by the barbequed meat stand!), it was a great place to practice street photography.  This is a hard one to get right, as you don't want to come across as a creepy stalker, but you still want to capture the atmosphere of the place.

Falmouth food festival

Besides Falmouth, there are the smaller fishing towns like Padstow and Penzance.  Padstow has sometimes been called "Padstein", after chef Rick Stein's empire in the town (I think he has 4 different properties, all within a couple of square miles), and it is uncomfortably crowded in the summer.

Padstow harbour

There's less visible fishing going on in Padstow, but it seems that every child was walking around with their crabbing bucket and line.  Because of this, I mostly kept the Fuji in the bag, as sadly the culture in our country now means more and more that people are both wary and suspicious of anyone with a camera around their children.  It's a shame.

Penzance sailing club

Penzance sailing

Penzance's fishing industry is much more visible, with a huge dry dock seemingly (and hopefully) going through some restoration, and a whole host of loading bays for the fish market.  But, because of this industry and the lack of money going into it from the big supermarkets, Penzance had a pretty sad feel about it.  Run-down, tired, derelict in parts, but still retaining some charm in other parts.  Strangely, you don't see many fishermen around despite this, and I was a little disappointed there weren't more opportunities for some candid portraits.

Mullion cove harbour

Some of the best examples of the fishing heritage in Cornwall was found in Mullion cove on the Lizard.  A lovely, sleepy cove on the west coast of the Peninsula, with tens of crab pots and small fishing vessels just waiting on the water's edge ready for the next run.

Knots on the pot

Mullion cove crab pots

I'm often drawn to objects like crab pots, they produce great contrast with the bright floats and ropes against the dark skeleton of the pot itself.  They would be ideal for people with macro lenses, or if some fishermen were around for some environmental portraits with them.  Even without, they make for interesting subjects which reflect the heritage of this beautiful county.