The last shore station on the north coast of west Cornwall before reaching Land’s End, Pendeen lighthouse stands atop sheer cliffs on a headland below the village of Pendeen, between St Just and St Ives. This whole stretch of coastline, with its jagged rocks lying just below the surface of the water, has caused many a problem to passing vessels, one particularly gnarly area being that around Gurnards Head, a headland a few miles further towards St Ives.
Pendeen Watch lighthouse has been guiding ships through this area for over a hundred years, its fairly squat white tower measuring 17 metres. Built at the turn of the 19th century, much of the rocky outcrop of the headland had to be removed to accommodate the lighthouse, fog horn and keepers’ cottages. Originally oil fuelled, the lamp became electric in the 1920s and the whole affair was made automatic in 1995. The initial oil lamp can still be seen in one of the many maritime displays in the Trinity House National Lighthouse Centre in Penzance. The lighthouse itself is now one of Trinity House’s visitor centres, with tours of the tower and the machinery available.
As with Trevose and St Anthony lighthouse, Pendeen’s keepers’ cottages have now been converted into holiday lets, offering visitors a unique place to stay, with stunning views and a real understanding of being exposed to the elements, though ear plugs are recommended in times of fog!