St. Ives, Cornwall

The St. Ives light

The fishing village of St. Ives is no longer a village. Its character changed in the second  half of the nineteenth century, when fishing declined and the new railway brought the first artists. These days, the town is mobbed by tourists and most are forced to abandon their car or coach in a massive car park on top of the hill, before walking – or shuttling – down to the picturesque lanes.

There is a well-known saying that the light in St. Ives is marvellous; in various parts due to the maritime Gulf Stream climate, north-facing sandy harbour and, to some extent, the pale houses which cover the hills around the seafront. Being sceptical, I wasn’t expecting to be able to see the “special light” which people mention, but it’s true: there’s something about the soft north light which bathes the whole area in a kind of creamy glow.

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