It is Good Friday and a beautiful sunny day and I am off down to Helford Passage to soak up the holiday atmosphere and help conduct Helford Marine Conservation Group’s informal survey of the ancient tradition of Trigging. Families some of several generations from around Cornwall and some further afield descend on the Helford River armed with rakes, hoes and a good picnic to pick Cockles.
Trigging on Bar Beach
The most popular destination in the Helford is Bar Beach Helford Passage followed by Treath beach and Gillan Creek. Hundreds of people of all ages gather for this ancient pastime, skills being handed down the generations. The majority are aware of the ‘20p rule’ and only pick those larger than a 20p piece, and these days most will only take a half bucket to share, whether this is due to availability or restraint is not always clear! Although Cockles are the prize, Winkles, Razorshells and Mussels are also taken by some, this year there were several taking the Pacific Oyster home to cook.
A good catch
Although there are many out there for the fun of it there is a serious side, a local custom handed down through generations from the days when good protein was scarce and unaffordable for many families and the trigging was an opportunity for a square meal. There is still a core number of families who you can hear as you pass by teaching their children how to trig effectively, rather refreshing in these days of plastic wrap supermarkets!
Gathering for a picnic on the beach
Published: Mar 2016
Author: Sue Scott HMCG Coordinator