View from Lizard Point
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Lizard Point (from Cornish an Lysardh, meaning 'the high court') in Cornwall is at the southern tip of the Lizard Peninsula. It is situated half-a-mile (800 m) south of Lizard village in the civil parish of Landewednack and about 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Helston.
Lizard Point is for many ships the starting point of their ocean passage and a notorious shipping hazard. The Lizard Lighthouse is situated at Lizard Point. Immediately below the lighthouse, situated in what used to be a hotel, is the YHA Lizard Youth Hostel. Lizard Point is situated within Caerthillian to Kennack SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), noted for its biological and geological interest. Polpeor Cove is a small cove to the east of Lizard Point.
The area is famous for its carved serpentine items, which range from ornaments to the pump handles in the local public house, the Lizard Inn (The Top House). The geology of Lizard can be interesting to some, with a number of planned walks available from local tourist authorities to discover more about the local rocks.
The first sighting of the Spanish Armada on mainland Britain was off Lizard Point at 3 pm on 29 July 1588. This was one of the greatest invasion fleets in history and consisted of 120 ships armed with over 1,000 cannon and with 29,000 men on board.
The bulk coaster carrier MV Ardgarry (1957) was lost in a heavy storm, in over 30 ft (9m) high waves, off Lizard Point on 29 December 1962. All 12 crewmen perished and were never found. She was built by James Lamont & Co at the Port Glasgow shipyard, and was 221 feet long and measured 1,074 tons gross. The Ardgarry was carrying coal from Swansea and headed to Rouen in France. Six of the crew were from Northern Ireland, five from Scotland, and one from Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. Found again in 2006, the ship's bell was recovered, and a memorial service was held by family members in August 2008. All of the crewmen's families were there except one, First Engineer William Shumacher, of Brougham Street, Greenock. No trace of his family has been found.
On 15 January 2004 the French fishing trawler Bugaled Breizh (child of Brittany) sank off Lizard Point with the loss of five lives. There were claims at the time by French marine accident experts that the vessel may have been pulled under when her nets became entangled in a British or Dutch submarine which was conducting NATO exercises in the area at the time.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) operates The Lizard lifeboat station at Kilcobben Cove, two miles (3 km) northeast of Lizard Point. A Tyne class lifeboat is housed in a large boathouse at the base of the cliff. The station features a funicular line to transport lifeboat crews from the boathouse to the clifftop station car park.
The biggest rescue in the RNLI's history was 17 March 1907 when the 12,000 tonne liner SS Suevic hit the Maenheere Reef near Lizard Point. In a strong gale and dense fog RNLI lifeboat volunteers rescued 456 passengers, including seventy babies. Crews from The Lizard, Cadgwith, Coverack and Porthleven rowed out repeatedly for sixteen hours to rescue all of the people on board. Six silver RNLI medals were later awarded, two to Suevic crew members.