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There’s a super exhibition on at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth about Pirates. We went last week and found it fascinating, we couldn’t believe there were even two female pirates, one who roamed the coast of Cornwall.

Piracy and smuggling has been a part of the Helford River for centuries. It’s creeks and tidal river made it easy for the French use the tide deliver their barrels of wine up the river and small coves for the smugglers to pick them up.

Smugglers coves, Helford River

There’s tales of pirates retiring to Helford Village – you never know who you might be sitting next to in the Shipwrights Arms!

The Helford’s most famous private is, Jean-Benoit Aubéry, a French Pirate created by novelist Daphne du Maurier in her novel ‘Frenchman’s Creek’. Like Anne Bonny, who married and moved to the Carribean only to fall in love with a pirate and become a female pirate herself like Du Maurier’s heroine Lady Donna.

Daphne du Maurier also honeymooned on Frenchman’s Creek and would have met Percy ‘Powder’ Thurburn who ran away from his high society London life like her heroine Lady Donna who left London high society to live a quieter life on the Helford. Until she met the French Pirate and would join him on raiding Lord Durgan’s house up river by night and drinking tea with him by day. Lord Durgan’s character perhaps inspired by the Fox family who owned Glendurgan.

Shipwreck ‘Iron Duke’ Frenchman’s Creek

Percy’s boat, ‘The Iron Duke’ was left beached on Frenchman’s Creek, perhaps after a few rums he decided to end his travels.

Join us on one of our Koru Kayaking Helford Adventures or Koru Paddleboard Adventures or Helford River Cruises from Budock Vean Hotel and enjoy the tales of pirates gone by. We won’t make you walk the plank, but you might like to moor up and enjoy a wild swim!

Oh and don’t forget we’ll have some beautiful Tall Ships arriving on the Helford soon 15-18 August!