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For such a very well-mannered country, the tides of England are pretty darn dramatic. Especially in Cornwall. It was so very evident wherever we went on the southwest coast.

The beautiful tall ships tucked in a safe harbour in Charlestown

But nowhere were the large tides more obvious than in Charlestown, where the big, old ships are berthed.

You might see a lovely bay, or small port, with the boats floating about, and when you came back a couple of hours later there is nothing but mud, and the poor boats are left high and dry.

The tide comes in at the entrance to the protected harbour at Charlestown. Photo by me


Poor boats left in the mud when the tide goes out. Photo by me

The change in sea level is very steady and goes from very high to very low in about six hours.

..and the tide goes out

Luckily the Brits know all about the sea, and have devised clever hideaways to protect their ships from the outgoing tides — like the lock system here in Charlestown.

The ships are carefully protected during low tide behind the locks. Photo by me

It’s a lovely feat of engineering that pumps the water in to the holding area if needed as the tide goes out. Someone actually closes the locks on the tides schedule. I imagine he keeps his alarm clock well maintained.

Water is pumped in to keep the ships high but not dry as the tide goes out. Photo by me

The system keeps the boats safe and protected no matter the time of day.

All tucked in for low tide. Photo by me

And if there are no walls to hold it back…

A beach in Cornwall near Carlyon Bay. Photo by me.

…the tide may just take a bit of England with it out to sea.