Cornwall's Shipwrecks: RMS Mulheim
Shipwrecks in Cornwall
On a hunt for some shipwrecks in Cornwall? Then say hello to the RMS Mulheim wrecked in Lands End.
Shipwrecks and abandoned buildings completely fascinate me. I'm not sure what it is about them - maybe the story of they've been left, the creepiness, or because everything is a little bit unknown.
A couple of years ago I read an article about a German cargo ship that ran aground on Cornwall's coast back in 2003 - to explore the RMS Mulheim has always been on my Cornwall bucket list but I had never found the time (or the guts) to go and find it for myself.
RMS Mulheim - Lands End
I was adamant that the first adventure day of 2019 had to be a good one. Despite the long drive, we decided to make our way to the South of Cornwall in hope to get a glimpse of the shipwreck. Sennen is such a lovely fishing village, a place that seems disconnected from the rest of the world yet oozes Cornish charm.
Now I know you're probably reading this post because you want to know how to find the shipwreck too, but first, I HAVE to express the dangers - it isn't the safest of adventures and you must be aware of that (sorry mum). You have to climb down a pretty steep cliff. There are sharp metal boat parts still lying around. And the obvious - be aware of the tide and the power of the sea - we wen't on a calm day and make sure you do too. If you get caught, you are literally on your own.
After walking for ten minutes across the Sennen to Lands End coastal park we spotted the shipwreck. The view looking down is pretty cool, but it wasn't good enough for us - we wanted to get down to the wreck so we could see it up close and personal!
We found the (sort of) entrance down to the bay so we carefully made our way down. Honestly? Exploring RMS Mulheim was up there as one of the best Cornish adventure days that I have ever had. The pictures don't do it justice.
Cornwall shipwreck history
On 22 March 2003, RMS Mulheim, a 294ft German cargo vessel carrying 2,200 tonnes of scrap car plastic, ran aground in Gamper Bay. As you can see from the image that I lifted from google, the ship is a pretty major one!
Now the cause of the wreck is quite a comical one. Apparently the chief office of RMS Mulheim was on watch and caught his trousers in the lever of his chair, fell over and passed out - then by the time he regained consciousness there wasn't much he could do before the ship would hit the rock. Luckily, all six members of the crew were lifted to safety by a helicopter from RNAS Culdrose and nobody was hurt.
The locals tell the story a little different however. Whether it was true or not (who knows), they tell people that the chief got drunk and woke up with the worst hangover story, EVER.
RMS Mulheim - Between Sennen and Lands End
You'll find the shipwreck between Sennen Cove and Lands End at a cove called Gamper Bay. Park at Sennen Harbour car park (£1 for 2 hours) and start walking the coastal park towards Lands End. The views from the path are incredible and you'll come across a viewing point 5 minutes into the walk. Carry on walking - a lot of people have told me that they found it difficult to spot the shipwreck, but we found it pretty easy to find. If you look to your left you'll spot a cove and you should be able to see RMS Mulehim quite clearly, if the conditions are right.
Carry on walking along the coastal path and eventually you'll come to the entrance of Gamper Bay. Now this is where you will have to be a careful. There isn't a proper coastal path to the shipwreck and you will have to make your own decision on how to reach the bottom (picture below). It took us about ten minutes to reach the wreck.
Tips for visiting the shipwreck
We did manage to make it onto the boat (only for 30 seconds because I got scared!) but I would only suggest doing this when the tide is out. The shipwreck has been there for over 15 years but you should never underestimate the power of the sea. Try and time your visit right and plan to go when the sea is calm - this will make things a little safer, especially if you want to go inside the boat. Go carefully!
RMS Muheim is most certainly an awesome find and such a great place to explore - just remember the dangers. Safe exploring!