We are down at the Cellars this week doing a few jobs. We had heard about a vintage car rally on the Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend on the Lizard green so we thought we would go and have a look. The cars started in Helston at 11am and drove down to the Lizard and then parked up on the green. It is called a Commemorative Run which started in 1978 to remember the Commemorative Run for the Helston – Lizard GWR bus service which started in August 1903 so on its 75th anniversary.

Faced with an estimate of £85,000 to build a railway from Helston to the Lizard, the Great Railway Company decided to test out bus services on that route. They bought two buses from Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, one for running the service and one for breakdown (!) or excursion parties. They seated 16 passengers inside with another two being allowed to sit with the driver. The top speed was 12 – 16mph. Apparently the drivers were “specially selected and were under strict instructions to show every consideration for other traffic and to avoid incidents with restless horses.”  The great old photo above of the buses in front of the Hills Hotels which is now the Top House I found in Lizard Lives (the Lizard monthly booklet).

The service ran from Helston to the Lizard connecting with trains at Helston Railway station. It commenced on 17 August 1903 with a trial two days before. There were three trips a day with some fixed stops but apparently drivers could pick up passengers anywhere along the roa!  For a single journey the cost was 1s and 6d (7.5 p in today’s money).The service proved so popular and profitable that further routes were put on by GWR in Penzance and Slough.

This year was the 40th anniversary of the Commemorative Run and so more vehicles were expected than normal. 85 cars were allegedly entered into the Run but many were obviously deterred by a wet misty blowy day as it was today and there were probably more like 30 – 40. It was a real shame. Also the weather did not encourage visitors to wander round and talk to the owners. There were some lovely cars that did turn up as you can see from Andrew’s picture. It is organised by the Cornwall Vintage Vehicle Society.

Sources of the information about the GWR bus service: Lizard Lives and Wikipedia

Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon Andrew had some success fishing and caught a good sized Pollack – see below – which we had for tea. It was lovely and I have never eaten such a fresh fish.

Pollack are closely related to Cod and as a member of the cod family they have three dorsal fins. They live near the sea bed around rocky reefs and wrecks. Larger Pollack as with Bass, spend the colder months in deeper water and then in the summer they come close to the shore as they feed on sprats, sandeels and smaller mackerel. They will also scour the seabed for anything they can find such as worms and crustaceans.

Pollack is becoming increasingly popular whereas once it was deemed only good enough for cat food! It is interesting how things change but I guess this was due to the cod shortages in the past. It is believed the stock of Pollack is at healthy level in Cornwall which is great.

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