Portreath Harbour is recorded as one of Cornwall’s earliest industrial ports. The first quay here was built in 1713. Construction of the harbour of today was commenced in 1760, in 1846 the inner basin was constructed along with the New Dock in the 1860’s.
This was once a main port servicing the local mines, copper ore mined in the Gwennap, Redruth and Camborne areas was shipped from here to Swansea in Wales for smelting. On the return trip the ships would bring much needed coal to power the steam engines which kept the mines drained of water. As mine the workings got deeper the engines were bigger so the demand for coal always increased.
In the early to mid 19th century it’s estimated a total of 100,000 tons of copper was shipped from here each year.
Things are a bit quieter there these days, I have spent a lot of time in Portreath, there is something about the place that keeps drawing me back. The images on this page were taken in the summer of 2008 and the years that followed to the present day.
Portreath Harbour 1 – This first image was taken on the hill above the Harbour, this gives a good view of the length of the quay.
Portreath Harbour 2 – This is the end of the Quay, the shelter or “Monkey Hut” close to the end was destroyed in the storms of January 2014, it has since been rebuilt.
Portreath Harbour 3 – I caught this wave nicely, but this is only a baby compared to some of the storms this harbour has had to stand up to.
Portreath Harbour 4 – This was quite a rough day at Portreath, it can make returning to harbour a difficult task.
Portreath Harbour 5 – A second image of the boat moving safely along the harbour wall, I rather like this image the wall leading into the distance is very effective.
Portreath Harbour 6 – Ben the Dog enjoying the sun on the hill above the harbour. My friend and companion for 16 years, he loved Cornwall, and I will miss him always.
Portreath Harbour 7 – Looking out along the Quay wall out to sea when the tide is out, on the left of the image is Gull Rock, on the right just in view is the Upper Pilot’s Hut.
Portreath Harbour 8 – With the tide out I wandered down into the middle basin of the harbour. All the time I have spent in Portreath I had never noticed the Roman Numerals on the side of the wall.
Portreath Harbour 9 – A slightly different angle, the vertical slot in the wall on the right was for a gate that was lowered into place when the weather was bad to protect the slips moored within.
Portreath Harbour 10 – Stranded by the tide this boat waits patiently for the sea to return.
Portreath Harbour 11 – At the mouth of the harbour is the Lower Pilots Lookout. Commonly known as “Dead Man’s Hut”. The wall of the harbour here is cut into the natural rock.
Portreath Harbour 12 – The steps leading up to the Lower Pilot’s Lookout, this was used to control the entry of ships into the harbour using a flag system.
Portreath Harbour 13 – Standing by the lower lookout, this is taken looking into the harbour.
Portreath Harbour 14 – This area of the harbour was used to store coal and copper ore in hutches.
Portreath Harbour 15 – This old building is at the end of the Waterfront Pub carpark.
Portreath Harbour 16 – One of the old huts along the side of the harbour, currently used to store fishing equipment, I wonder what its original use was.
Portreath Harbour 17 – Old harbour cottages make an interesting photograph.
Portreath Harbour 18 – Old building at the harbour near to the slipway. The wooden one on the right has been removed in recent years.
Portreath Harbour 19 – The side wall of the old storage building.
Portreath Harbour 20 – One of the many granite mooring posts along the harbour wall.
Portreath Harbour 21 – My friend Dave looking out over the inner basin of the harbour.
Portreath Harbours 22 – This image is looking out to the harbour framed by two boats.
Portreath Harbours 23 – Personally I think this is one of the best images on this page, I like the balance of the dark and light.
Portreath Harbours 24 – There are always some boats around the harbour, out of the water for maintenance, they make good subjects for photography on a sunny day.
Portreath Harbours 25 – Some of the small fishing boats that operate from the harbour.
Portreath Harbours 26 – Looking down a row of boats moored in the middle basin.
Portreath Harbours 27 – The construction of the harbour wall can be clearly seen in this image.
Portreath Harbours 28 – A boat in the harbour with the water glinting in the sunlight. This was taken on 25 Asa film so the image is razor sharp, one of my favorites.
Portreath Harbours 29 – The final image on this page is simply the roof of a boat moored in the harbour.
Portreath is a very special place to me, lots of good memories and a good friend who puts up with me when I am down in the West Country.
For more information about Portreath follow this link www.portreath-harbour.org