Tales of derring do

Flushing has a rich seafaring history full of intrigue, tales of smuggling and daring deeds.  In the 19thC it was home to many of Falmouth’s seafaring giants and Packet Boat captains. Rear Admiral Sullivan lived on St Peter’s Hill when his son sailed with Darwin on the Beagle. It is reputed that Nelson stayed here on more than one occasion. Next door lived Captain Kempthorne who liked to pop next door for a chat despite having lost half of his mouth to a French musket.

Another neighbour, and the most famous of the Packet captains, was John Bull. In 1804 his Packet was attacked by a French privateer. He felt a ball pierce his cheek, fly out of his mouth and lodge in the mast. When the battle was over, Bull had time to prise the ball from the splintered timber and pop it in his pocket.    

Flushing’s colourful seafaring past can still be often glimpsed when the gig rowers do battle with each other and the elements. The tradition of gig rowing and racing goes back a long way to times when the number of oars permitted was restricted to prevent the outrunning of the revenue cutter and when it was a male only activity. Michael Morpurgo, the Devon based popular children’s author wrote in The Wreck of the Zanzibar, set in the Scilly Isles, as the young heroine finally gets to row the gig” We unlashed the oars, leapt in, and at once we were pulling hard for Samson. The waves hurled us up and down so violently that I thought the gig would break her back. I just rowed and as I rowed I suddenly realised where I was and what I was doing.”

So easy to get to

Flushing is so easy to get to on its friendly ferry service that runs all day long from 8.30 to 5.30 pm from the centre of Falmouth (last ferry back from Flushing is at 5.20). Parking, on the Falmouth side, is easy, just a few minutes walk from the quay and the local station, connecting to Truro and all the way to London, is a pleasant 15 minute walk down the high street with all its art and craft shops, Cornish ice-cream sellers and of course great Cornish pasty bakeries.  A real local community ferry, it connects Flushing to the main port, you get to chat to locals on the 10 minute journey in a way that just never happens on a bus or a train. As the ferry approaches the quay, you see an assortment of flavoured houses tumbling down the hill, prawn pink, pineapple chunk yellow, slush puppy blue and shell white.

And when you arrive you look back and get stunning views of the Falmouth seascape, worth going just for that!

Family and Dog Friendly 

Great family restaurants and pubs cater for children of all ages. The Seven Stars offers crabbing across the road in the little harbour, the Royal Standard hosts regular live music sessions and The Waterside which perches precariously, on the quayside, has recently tempted Vincent, its new chef, all the way from Southern France who adds a touch of the Mediterranean to this corner of SW Cornwall. All three have great water views and fresh seafood menus.

Kiln Quay Beach, 15 minutes walk from the centre of the village, is a dog-friendly beach and all pubs and restaurants welcome dogs on leads.

Haunted by Water

Olivia Laing, writing about another river, the Ouse in Sussex, captures perfectly the particular love affair that we have, as an Island Race, with our rivers, creeks and seas “I am haunted by water. It may be that I’m too dry in myself, too English, or it may be simply that I’m susceptible to beauty, but I do not feel truly at ease on this earth unless there’s a river nearby.” 

We need contact with water and the sea to raise our spirits, restore energy levels and reconnect to our Island past.


Thanks go to The Village Club, Flushing Village Stores, The Seven Stars Public House, The Royal Standard Public House, Flushing Sailing Club, St Peter’s Church and The Methodist Church and The Waterside

Thanks also as always are due to all residents who work so hard to make this very local festival such a success each year.

Literary References

The Levelling Sea – The Story of a Cornish Haven in the Age of Sail. Philip Marsden (A local author whose books are available at the Falmouth Bookseller in the centre of Falmouth.

To the River- A Journey Beneath the Surface. Olivia Laing

The Wreck of the Zanzibar Michael Morpurgo

Words by:

Paul Murphy-a locally Flushing based writer http://thelittlesummerofthequince.wordpress.com/