Tater Du is the Cornish name for the section of coast near Porthcurno in West Penwith on which this namesake lighthouse stands. A bright white beacon on the dark granite cliffs of the southern approach to Land’s End, Tater Du is modern by comparison to other Cornish lighthouses, having been built in 1965. It is, in fact, the last lighthouse to have been built in the Duchy and has never been manned.
The automatically-controlled light exists to warn ships of the Runnelstone Rocks, which lie in wait in the adjacent waters, and other dangerous stretches nearby. Although tragedy had often struck, or only been narrowly avoided, around these rocks, Trinity House was only convinced to install a light here after the loss of a Spanish coaster, the Juan Ferrer, with all hands at nearby Boscowen Point in 1963. The fisherman’s association of nearby villages Newlyn and Mousehole made the petition with a view to avoiding future loss of life and within 2 years their demands were met.