Sunday, September 18, 2011

Falmouth, Cornwall, England - September 6, 2010

Having traveled the twenty miles from Penzance to Falmouth the weather remained foul. A quick visit to a scenic headland quickly convinced us to just go to our campsite and sulk - certainly a better option than the bonechilling rain that continued to fall.
The following day the rain had largely passed and although we reprised the headland tour we still balked at a walkabout due to the continuing wind and cold.
With a population of around 21,000, Falmouth sits at the mouth of the river Fal - hence its name. Simple isn't it? Many places around the English coast are named by this same logic wherever they are located at the mouth of a river. In this instance however, no one seems to know how the river got its name.
Falmouth is famous for its harbor - the deepest in western Europe and the third deepest in the world - as well as its frequent choice as the start or finish point for various record-breaking voyages. The headland at the east end of town was known as Peny-cwm-cuic in Gaelic but later evolved to 'Pennycomequick' and became the site where Henry VIII built Pendennis Castle in 1540.
The Falmouth Packet Service operated from here for over 160 years between 1689 and 1851 carrying mail to and from Britain's growing empire. News of Britain's victory and Admiral Nelson's death at Trafalgar was landed here and taken to London by stagecoach.
The Cornwall Railway reached Falmouth in 1863 bringing prosperity to town, making it easy for tourists to reach the town and permitting the swift transport of the goods from the ships in the port. Many of the Georgian town houses have been converted into guest houses and small hotels and Falmouth has proven such a popular holiday destination that it is has morphed into a tourist resort.
During World War II, German bombing raids killed 31 local inhabitants and an anti-submarine net was laid from Pendennis to St Mawes, preventing enemy U-boats from entering the harbor. Maritime activity has declined significantly from its heyday but Falmouth remains the largest port in Cornwall, handling cargo and bunkering vessels.
For more views, click here.

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