Sennen Cove ~ 10th March 2008

A combination of a vigorous depression with a centre pressure around 960mb, westerly storm force winds with gusts to 85mph, accompanying sea swell up to 35 feet and a large spring tide produced the severe conditions shown below.

Local opinion seems to be that these were the worst conditions, in respect of height of sea and potential damage, since an occasion in 1952 when three fishermen were washed off the slipway by a huge sea whilst attempting to move boats.
Two of the fishermen were saved but sadly the third lost his life. The boat was also lost.

Images are arranged in chronological order - with the most dramatic at the end !!
Click on images for 600 x 400 pixel version in new browser window.

0700 - very high tide, sea level maybe a metre or more above prediction due to very low atmospheric pressure. Moderate swell ... 14ft on Sevenstones. SW winds up to 85mph

0600 - sea running up harbour slip - note position of boats !

Close scrutiny of the internet suggested dramatic increase in swell for later in day. Fishing boats moved off slip for first time anyone could remember.

Fishing boats parked on the wharf - all the punts from the eastern side of the slip pulled into the harbour car park

1600 - half flood - big seas already over Pedn men du.
Winds now west-northwest between 70 and 80 mph
( image John Chappell )


Longships lighthouse from Lands End (the lantern is 35m above high water level)
( image Peter Puddiphatt)


Two more stunning images of the Longships from Lands End - if the tower is 35m or so high, how high are the seas approaching from the west ?
( images Tim Stevens)

1630 - the swell dramatically increasing - now up to 35ft on the Sevenstones - seas going up over the road in front of the Old Success Inn
( image Tim Stevens)

Big in Tribben - Bomeor (Sharks Fin) rock is in the middle distance with a mass of white all round it.
( image Tim Stevens)

More dramatic images from Tim - in the one on the right the torrents of seawater can be seen running down the cliff. One of the properties at the western end of the Cove was flooded some years ago by the sea running down the cliff behind it news of how they fared today !
The Cove was covered in horizontal spray all day - very unpleasant - and bad for the cars !


This shot is from The Beach Restaurant - visitors may recognise the signpost !
( image Tim Stevens )

1800 - just coming up to high water.
Breakwater just visible and harbour full !

Sea running up to the front of the lifeboat house - this would be considered very unusual !

Atmospheric pressure still very low, probably increasing the tidal height by up to 2 metres

1835 - Absolutely phenomenal - this is probably the biggest sea in the harbour in living memory ... it has run up onto the road.
All the hassle moving the boats has paid off - we might well have lost the majority of them .... or have been trying to move them - in which case lives could easily have been lost to this huge sea.
Compare to dark image at the top of the page for the position of the boats !

In an odd way, perhaps the most spectacular of all is this shot, again by Tim Stevens, of a huge sea coming up through The Tribbens channel. Lifeboat slipway on the far left of the image.

This superb image by Mike Newman made the national press - first appearing on the `Metro` publication in London.

Many thanks to John Chappell, Peter Puddiphatt , Tim Stevens and Mike Newman for permission to use their images
which are copyright.
Images not credited are by myself, Terry George.