Land’s End with its ancient Cornwall name of “Penn-an-Wlas” is the most westerly point of Britain and is located in the South-western county of Cornwall. The jagged granite rocks that surrounding this area, have been carved out by huge Atlantic waves and rise to a height of two hundred feet above sea level. There is an observation area with a lamppost showing the various distances to the nearest most distant cities such as “3500 miles to New York”. Throughout the centuries this small area of the Penwith peninsula in Britain has attracted many tourists. The land once belonged to one family dynasty since the 10th century, then, for the first time ever it was sold to David Goldstone in 1978, today this now tourist site belongs to a private business company.
The nearest village called Sennen, which is not far from the coast at Land’s end, has an Inn called “The First and Last Pub” where tourists usually stop and walk along a path to the now famous viewpoint at Land’s End. In the 16th century this pub had a very bad reputation with tales of thieves and smugglers. A small building next to the pub housed donkeys in days gone by, these were used to carry lanterns across the cliff top in order to entice seamen in freight ships on to the rocks to wreck them and plunder their valuable cargo from the sea. Brandy, silk and tea were the most sought after goods that were normally brought over from France. Secret tunnels and ditches were dug along this coast to escape detention by government officials. Locals were so intimidated by the smugglers that nobody would say anything about the events occurring in the village. Lots of local people were also involved in these profitable yet illegal businesses. Many secrets and stories have been lost in history over time but one known legend about Annie still exists today.
Once upon the time this “first & last pub” was managed by a married couple named Joseph and Annie. One day they decided to blackmail the owner of the pub, a man called William who was involved with the smugglers so as to get some privileges and free accommodation but William rather than give in to blackmail, expelled the couple from the pub. The angered Annie decided to denounce the smugglers and William to the government officials, later more inhabitants of the village were implicated and all ended up in prison. As many locals were engaged in the same illegal business, they decided to take revenge against Annie; she was taken down to the sea and staked out on the beach at low tide. When the tide came in, waves covered Annie and she eventually drowned among the fishing nets. Annie was buried in a cemetery next to the Inn. Her soul still bothers any guest who stops in her room overnight. This “Annie” ghost is said to disturb guests by touching their hair, creating the feeling that fishing nets are covering them. Cats and other animals have also been found dead in boxes and cupboards in this room. (If I was the owner of the pub, I would also find ways to perpetuate the legend and make it even more amusing). Yet all the other rooms at the Inn are cozy and welcoming to tourists. The Inn also has a restaurant serving visitors with traditional English cuisine. This “First and last pub” is still the first and last one in Land’s end.
From the village of Sennen you can easily walk or drive to the newly built tourist center which has a very large car park, an observation deck, a restaurant and a hotel, one of the buildings now a large shop selling souvenirs was reconstructed from the first building on the peninsula, which used to be a shelter for animals. Magnificent views framed by sharp rocky cliffs, small islands and the infinite open spaces of the Atlantic can be enjoyed from here.
Finally, there is the lonely Longships Lighthouse on a small rocky island which radiated light for the first time in 1873. The Lighthouse used to be operated by three men using semaphore a long time ago but since 1988 it is managed automatically. In a century of scientific and technical progress with computers and navigation systems a lighthouse still points the way to seamen reminding them of danger and that there is a coast nearby where somebody is probably waiting to welcome them.