Nigel Legge: Fisherman, Artist & Lobster Pot Maker

Cadgwith is a small fishing village on the eastern side of the Lizard Peninsula, with the most spectacular scenery. But the real charm of the cove is the people, with a way of life that is so special and steeped in history. All around the cove are reminders of the past – pilchard cellars, lofts and the old lifeboat house. But Cadgwith fisherman Nigel Legge knows only too well the importance merging old fishing traditions with new…

“This cove has survived because we have accepted young people. Other places haven’t and they’ve become history. I was guilty of this myself many years ago when one particular youngster came here, but in all honesty him coming here gave me another lease of life once I’d come to my senses.

“It’s the youngsters, coupled with modern technology, computers and all the rest of it, that will keep this place going. The old ways are good, but coupled with modern methods, it’s better. If and when fishing comes to a grinding halt in this country, this cove will be the last place to go.”

“The boats are now plastic with cabins and bigger engines which have made the fisherman’s life a bit easier and safer. Talking of safety, in my father’s day we thought if anything bad happened we could just float back home on an empty diesel can. Of course that’s nonsense, we would have drowned. Today, everyone wears a life a lifejacket. Monty Halls bought me this beacon, he said after the TV series we did down at the cove I was like a father to him and he didn’t want to lose me.

If and when fishing comes to a grinding halt in this country, this cove will be the last place to go

“It still remains quite a difficult job, but I think most jobs are in this day and age. I’ve a small boat Razorbill so I start at the end of March and carry on until Christmas, probably going out to sea about half the days in a month. In the winter months I’m painting and making willow lobster pots.

“We’re hunting, trying to catch a wild animal. There probably isn’t as much fish but then there’s more people around. We throw back the small youngsters and lobsters with eggs on to make sure that stocks are kept up. The fishermen aren’t stupid. We don’t want to take everything that’s in the sea, it would be the end of our own livelihood if we did. And we know that the fish will always win.”

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