Anybody who has looked at some of my other coastal Warnings and Dangers tips will see that I’ve mentioned this problem before, but in my view St. Ives is the seagull mugging capital of the whole south-west.
There are lots of different types of seabirds including gulls - and there are lots of different types of gulls, but there is really only one that we need to be aware of where food mugging is concerned - the Herring Gull.
These are the ones with a red spot on a yellow beak and easily identifiable. I’m sure most of us know the ones we’re talking about. They’ve got so big feasting on Fish ‘n chips and pasties in St. Ives it’s a wonder they can walk let alone fly.
They strut around as though they own the place waiting for some poor unsuspecting holidaymaker to sit down and open their bag of goodies, and don’t think for one minute you can outsmart them because I’ve seen many a grown man come a cropper. While you’re keeping an eye on the one that’s hanging around nearby another one will come swooping down and grab your pasty.
Many a holidaymaker has had to visit the A&E with head injuries thanks to these thieving scroungers - and they teach their young how to do it from an early age as well.
It doesn’t matter what you’re eating these creatures will think it’s their God-given right to make it theirs. They’ll take anything from a cheese sandwich, to an ice-cream or even your cooked breakfast.
They say there’s no honour among thieves, and you’ll know exactly what they mean when an army of them descends on the bench next to yours and an almighty scrap breaks out on the remnants of what’s left. It’s not a pretty sight believe me.
The best advice I can give is when you come to St. Ives wear a crash helmet.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
One Hates To Be Political...But...
...maybe our present (UK as of Oct 2012) government should take note.
Another pic I just wanted to use and so totally supercilliously have stuck here LOL.
But that's the St Ives effect isn't it? Get the creative juices running and don't give a damn about the results.
- Beer Tasting
- Wine Tasting
Leave your car
You can drive to St Ives if you want to have a holiday here and intend to use it for driving around the wonderful countryside, but whatever you do, please do not drive down Treganna Hill and into the harbour area unless you absolutely must because of mobility issues or because you have rented a cottage in Downalong. Wharf Road starts at the lifeboat house and runs along the harbour and is absolutely chocker blocked with cars for most of the days whilst at the same time tourists walk not only on the pavement here but also in the road. Downalong is not at all suitable for cars since it's the old fishing part of St Ives with narrow streets and tiny cottages and corners everywhere, and Fore Street is downright silly to drive along unless you have to since it is an otherwise pedestrian street full of shops and still nowehere near as broad as pedestrian streets are in less quaint towns. Leave your car at the top of the hill and walk down and cab it back if you are tired. There are lots of taxi alternatives, and even a local tuk tuk, and it won't cost you much.
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
I have written it under my Porthmeor tip as that's where it's most relevant: the waves are forceful at Porthmeor and even I found it hard to stand upright at times, and on top of that there are holes in the sand to slip down occasionally, so do make sure you don't leave your children unattended at any time in the water. That of course goes for the other beaches too if the children are young, but then I guess you already think about it yourself whereas with older kids you might not do this if they are good swimmers and the water is shallow.
As said elsewhere, there are lifeguards at Porthmeor and Porthminster and they use the red and yellow flags you can see in this picture to mark the area within which it's safe to swim since they also know the undercurrents and other dangers on the respective beach, and their flags also show the area where they keep the most lookout even if they are experienced and eagle-eyed enough to have a general overview. At Porthgwidden, they have put up a barrier outside of which it is not clever to swim. The blac-and-white flags are where it is safe to surf considering the current tide and winds, and do pay attention to this since otherwise you might hit bodyboarding kids, or you might end up hitting the engine of an old ship, the single standing rock on Porthmeor or something else you don't want. If you are in danger, the lifeguards will generally use their siren or whistles to guide you towards a safer part of a beach so do look at them when you hear their sounds. Lifeguards are generally on the major beach until 18.00 but even so, keep your wits about you. In dense fog, they have also been known to close the beach and they will get the RNLI water scooter out if they think it is needed to heard swimmers and surfers back to visible and safe parts of the beach.
- Family Travel
I'm not kidding! The request not to feed the gulls can be seen in several places in St Ives and still stupid people insist on doing just that! Those with children do not usually though, since we are the ones suffering most since children are easy targets for the big birds when they come swooping from above. No one is safe though, and I have seen people of all ages get attacked whilst the birds disappear with whatever they were eating. As long as you're not eating anything, your're fine, but the minute you get yourself an ice cream, a bun or whatever, you are in danger. Our daughter lost the second half of her croissant to a scoundrel along Porthmeor Beach and in the harbour they are ten times worse than there! As you will see from photos, they hunt in packs so that whilst you scare off one, the other takes the loot (and then does not share with the helpers...). You can also see that the seagulls fear no one and happily sleep next to you on the pier. They really have taken over the town and if you have any kind of bird phobia, St Ives Harbour is not for you - seriously.
Having said all this, I have grown up with seagulls and love them since I see them as part of my childhood and summers so I accept them and it is quite funny to watch people stunned at their cheekyness, but it stops being funny when it's about kids and our daughter who was big enough to not be terrified was still left with a footprint in her forehead where she was "stamped" when one of the beasts took off after that croissant episode. I have never seen a seagull's footprint on a human before...
- Hiking and Walking
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
The sand bar
On one of the beaches you will notice people walking along a sand bar from the harbour to this beach, By 3pm the water comes in and people are still trying to get across. I had a go at this but the water which originally came to my knee's started to get higher until it reached my waist. I thought blow this and turned back, luckly the water wasn't very cold, but there was a strong current and I was being pushed back into the bay. I managed to get back to the beach, but people were still risking their lives to cross!
It's good to do during the afternoon but not when the tide comes in, and quite quickly too.
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
This is my Bailey's-flavoured ice cream.
At this precise moment there was a loud *whooooshhh!* and my poor sister's ice cream was nabbed by an over zealous seagull, then nonchalantly dropped on the beach, less than a foot away from a startled beach-sun-worshiper! Cheeky b*gger.
I never shared mine with her. Just call me meanie.
Visitors (stupidly) feed the birds, so they are far too tame and not shy at all.. literally taking the food out of your hand.
DON'T FEED THE SEAGULLS!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Sailing and Boating
Beware of the Seagulls!
Any unsuspecting tourist eating food out in public along the seafront is quite likely to have a seagull nosedive down and pinch your food! So be warned eat discretely or not in sight of a seagull or you will lose your food. A seagull pinched my food once and I've seen it happen to many others since! My advice is eat in one of the local cafes/restaurants along the sea front, some have great views out to sea.
- School Holidays
- Budget Travel
The "I've been pickpocketed" scam
Don't fall for the scam when a very polite man approaches you and starts to tell a story of how he's been pickpocketed, has reported it to the police but has no money to get home - this is a scam that one can hear anywhere in England.
In St Ives we were approached near the public toilets behind The Sloop's car park, but obviously this could happen anywhere.
BTW, I was talking about this to someone who works for the police, and she told me that if you are robbed, the police will always ensure that you are able to get home.
- Women's Travel
Large herring gulls are everywhere in St Ives. They follow the fishing boats, they march around the promenade, they patrol the beaches looking for an unwary kid with a Cornish pasty. Signs like this one are everywhere, asking people NOT to feed them, but they are still pretty aggressive. So, if you have a fish and chip takeaway, watch out that a gull doesn't take it away from you!
watch them 'ole narrow lanes
St Ives is a quaint unspoilt fishing village but with this comes the unbelievable narrow lanes in the centre that will only just fit one car down never mind two if you must drive down these - then slow down you dont want to be pranging the car or worse a pedestrian!!!!
Don't eat on any of the beaches in St. Ives during the summer months... you'll have your food stolen by seagulls! They are really cheeky and will swoop out of nowhere to grab your ice-cream / cornish pasty / anything that looks like food. The only way to protect yourself is to eat next to a wall... that way, the seagulls can't swoop down on you!
Beware the greedy seagulls.
Beware those big old seagulls,
For they're vicious and they're nasty,
I speak from sad experience,
I was dive-bombed for my pasty.
( I know it doesn't quite rhyme but heh ! ! )
- Hiking and Walking
Watch your food if eating outdoors as the seagulls will steal anything that they think is edible and will divebomb you!!!!