Tater Du Lighthouse

Tater Du Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Tater Du Lighthouse was built as a fully automatic lighthouse and is located along the South West Coast Path.

The Runelstone rocks which lie offshore from Tater Du and are marked by daymarks on Gwennap Head and a buoy.  However, these navigation aids were not sufficient to prevent the loss of a vessel in 1963.  The Spanish vessel Juan Ferrar was wrecked off Boscawen Point and eleven of the crew were lost.  This highlighted the need for a lighthouse on this point.

Lighthouse at Larmorna

A lighthouse was proposed at Tater Du or Carn Boscawen by the Newlyn and Mousehole Fishermen’s Association.  Trinity House chose the location at Tater Du. The lighthouse was built between 1964-65, and engineer was Michael H Crisp.  The lighthouse was built as an automatic lighthouse, constructed of concrete blocks.

The name Tater Du comes from the Cornish torthel du, which means black loaf.  A steep access road was built from the top of Rosemodress cliffs down to the lighthouse.

Tater Du lighthouse was officially opened on 7th July 1965 by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. 

It is believed that the Penlee Lifeboat Solomon Browne made her heroic rescue to save the crew of the stricken Union Star close to Tater Du Lighthouse.  Both vessels and their respective crew were lost in appalling conditions on the night of 19th December 1981.

A fourth-order optic was installed displaying three flashes every fifteen seconds.  In May 2022 the optic was replaced with LED lights and its range was reduced from 20 to 12 miles.

Below the main light is a red sector light which shines over the Runnelstone rocks.

Tater Du

The South West coast path passes Tater Du Lighthouse.  Lamorna Cove car park is about a mile away.

Lamorna has been the site of extensive granite quarrying for years. Both Bishop Rock and Wolf Rock Lighthouses were constructed from granite quarried at Lamorna.  The stone was also used in a number of harbour breakwaters.

Established: 1965
Engineer: Michael H Crisp
Tower Height: 15 metres
Light Character: Fl (3) 15 s
Light Range: 12 miles
Elevation: 34 metres