South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

South Foreland Lighthouse

Date

26 October 2016

Location

South Foreland, St Margaret’s at Cliffe, Kent
TR 35938 43335; 51.14063°N, 1.37154°E

Information

The Goodwin Sands – a massive sand bank in the English Channel between South Foreland and Ramsgate – have been a hazard to shipping for centuries and there are records of lights on the White Cliffs to warn mariners of the dangers since the 14th century. In 1635 two open-fire braziers were erected at South Foreland and there have been two lighthouses there ever since. In 1793 the Upper Light was converted to use oil lamps and in 1795 the Lower Light was similarly converted. Both lighthouses were purchased by Trinity House in 1832 with alterations being carried out to the Upper Light in 1842 and the Lower Light being totally rebuilt in 1846.

By 1875 South Foreland was equipped with carbon-arc lamps making it the first lighthouse to use electric light. The lighthouse was also later used by Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) as a base for his experiments in radio transmission and it became the first ever site to receive a ship-to-shore radio message and in 1899 it also received the first international radio transmission (from Wimereux, between Calais and Boulogne in France).

By 1904 the Goodwin Sands had shifted by such an extent that the visual alignment of the two lights no longer provided an accurate indication of the location of the sand bank and so the Lower Light was decommissioned. The Upper Light was fully automated in 1969 and it remained in service until 1988 when it too was decommissioned, modern navigational aids having rendered it redundant. The National Trust took over the site in 1989 and opened it to the public in 1990.

Further Reading

South Foreland Lighthouse (National Trust);
South Foreland Lighthouse (Wikipedia)

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Morfa Aber

Morfa Aber

Morfa Aber

Date

17 January 2016

Location

Abergwyngregyn
SH 64731 73133; 53.23793°N, 4.02829°W

Information

Morfa Aber is a nature reserve managed by Gwynedd Council and forms part of Traeth Lafan, the 9.5km-long expanse of intertidal sand- and mud-flats stretching from Llanfairfechan to Bangor. Traeth Lafan has been designated a Special Protection Area, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Local Nature Reserve.

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Torrox Costa

Balcón del Mediterráneo

Balcón del Mediterráneo

Date

17 April 2014
Location

Torrox Costa, Andalucía, Spain

36.72709131, -3.95881683

Information

The viewing platform El Balcón del Mediterráneo, situated at the eastern end of the Playa de las Lindes in Torrox Costa, is cantilevered over a Roman archaeological site. The foundations are visible of a salting factory and necropolis. This was the location of a Roman plant for the production of salted fish and garum, a sauce made from fish guts. The factory was abandoned in the 4th or 5th century was then used as a family mausoleum. There are also further Roman remains next to the lighthouse El Faro de Torrox.

 

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Faro de Tostón, Fuerteventura

Faro de Tostón

35m tall concrete tower

Date

2 April 2013
Location

Punta de Tostón, Fuerteventura

28.715204°N, 14.013970°W

Information

The point Punta de Tostón is situated in the northwest corner of Fuerteventura, 3.5km north of the town of El Cotillo. The lighthouse there, Faro de Tostón is fully automated, and the site now also houses the island’s Museo de la Pesca Tradicional (Traditional Fishing Museum).

There has been a lighthouse at the point since 1897. The original 6m stone-built tower proved to be too low and was replaced in 1963 by a 13m octagonal stone tower. The latter was in turn superseded in 1985 by the present 35m concrete tower. The octagonal tower now serves as an open viewing gallery, accessible from the museum.

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Fife Ness Lighthouse

Fife Ness Lighthouse

Date

1 November 2012
Location

Fife Ness, East Neuk of Fife

NO 63827 09748; 56.27878°N, 2.58579°W

Information

The headland at Fife Ness is the easternmost point of Fife and the 5m high lighthouse there was established in 1975 to replace the last of the North Carr lightships.

Fife Ness Lighthouse (Northern Lighthouse Board);
Fife Ness (Wikipedia)

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South Stack

South Stack Lighthouse, built in 1809

Date

24 June 2012
Location

South Stack, Holy Island, Anglesey

SH 20426 82277; 53.30690°N, 4.69662°W

Information

South Stack Rock is an islet off the north west of Holy Island in Anglesey. The lighthouse there, designed by Daniel Alexander, was built in 1809. The 30m wide channel separating the rock from the cliffs of the headland was originally traversed by an aerial ropeway and later by a rope suspension bridge. The latter was replaced in 1828 by an iron suspension bridge, which was in turn superseded by an aluminium truss bridge in 1964. By 1983, however, this had become unsafe and was closed to the public. A new lattice bridge was put in place in 1997 when the islet and the lighthouse were opened as a visitor attraction.

In 1840 an inclined railway was constructed on the north side of the islet. This allowed a secondary lamp to be lowered down the cliff to just above the level of the sea on occasions when the visibility of the main light was affected by fog. A two-ton fog bell was installed in 1854, but this had limited range and was later supplemented by the fog signal cannon at North Stack. The bell was replaced by a siren in 1895. The height of the lighthouse was increased to its present 28m in 1874 and the station, operated by Trinity House, was finally automated in 1984.

The cliffs at South Stack are home to large breeding colonies of seabirds and the area is an RSPB bird reserve, with a visitor centre at Ellin’s Tower. This crenellated folly was built in 1868 by Ellin, wife of William Owen Stanley, local MP and later Lord Lieutenant of Anglesey.

South Stack (Trinity House); South Stack Cliffs (RSPB)

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North Stack

Fog signal station, North Stack

Date

17 June 2012
Location

North Stack, Anglesey

SH 21468 83938; 53.32216°N, 4.68193°W

Information

The former fog-signal station located on the headland at North Stack on Holy Island, Anglesey, was constructed in 1780. It was originally equipped with a pair of cannon: a shot was fired at fixed intervals as a warning to shipping in foggy weather. The Magazine House was built in 1861 to store the charges for the cannon. In the late 19th century the cannon were superseded by an oil-fired siren comprising 35 horns. The siren has lain silent since 1986, when it was in turn superseded by a new facility at the nearby South Stack lighthouse. Mains electricity was brought to the site in the 1950s.

The accommodation block, built as two separate dwellings, was home to the fog-house keepers and their families. For the past 23 years, however, it has been home and studio to artist Philippa Jacobs and is currently up for sale. The remote property can only be reached on foot or by 4×4 via a 1.3-mile-long unmade track over the north-eastern slopes of Holyhead Mountain.

Philippa Jacobs (North Stack Studio);
North Stack Fog House (Jackson-Stopps & Staff, property brochure)

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Holyhead Breakwater

At 1.7 miles long, Holyhead Breakwater, completed in 1873, is the longest in the UK.

Date

17 June 2012
Location

Holyhead, Anglesey

SH 25661 84774; 53.33106°N, 4.61950°W

Information

Holyhead’s role as a port for mail-packet crossings to Ireland dates back to the 16th century, but it was in the 19th century that major changes were made as part of a programme of improvements to the mail route from London to Dublin. A new harbour of refuge, where boats could shelter in bad weather, was created when a long breakwater was built off Soldiers Point. Construction began in 1845 and was completed in 1873, with the work initially supervised by James Meadows Rendel and after Rendel’s death in 1856, by John Hawkshaw. The mock castle at Soldiers Point was built in 1848 as the Superintendent Engineer’s residence.

The 19m-high lighthouse at the end of the breakwater, with its unusual square tower, was probably designed by Hawkshaw and was completed in 1873. It is operated by Trinity House and was automated in 1961.

At 1.7 miles long, the breakwater is the longest in the UK. Seven million tons of quartzite extracted from the quarries on Holyhead Mountain were used in its construction.

In August 2011 the breakwater’s owners, Stena Line, were criticised for their lack of maintenance of the structure. The issue of its proper upkeep has been linked to Conygar Stena’s Holyhead waterfront development plans.

Holyhead Breakwater (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales);
Holyhead Breakwater Lighthouse (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales);
Fears over condition of Holyhead breakwater (The Bangor and Anglesey Mail, 24 Aug 2011)

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Ynys Llanddwyn

Twr Mawr and St Dwynwen's cross

Date

19 November 2011
Location

Newborough, Anglesey

SH 38502 62513; 53.13522°N, 4.41559°W

Information

Ynys Llanddwyn is a tidal island — cut off only by the highest tides — on the western approach to the Menai Strait. It forms part of Anglesey’s Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve and is managed by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).

Its name means Island of the church of St Dwynwen. Dwynwen — the Welsh patron saint of lovers — lived as a recluse on the island until her death in about 465 CE and during the Middle Ages Llanddwyn became an important destination for Christian pilgrims. The ruins of the 16th-century church are said to stand on the location of her original hermitage.

At the end of the island there are two early 19th-century towers — Twr Mawr (big tower) and Twr Bach (small tower). These were probably originally built as unlit markers for ships entering the Menai Strait bound for the slate ports of Caernarfon, Y Felinheli and Bangor. Twr Mawr is 35 ft high and of a design reminiscent of an Anglesey windmill. It was established as a lighthouse, with a lantern window on its ground level, in 1846 and was in service until 1975, when it was replaced by a flashing directional light fitted to Twr Bach. Twr Mawr featured in the 2006 Demi Moore film Half Light, in which its appearance was significantly altered digitally in post production.

Close to the towers stands a row of four pre-1830 two-roomed pilots’ cottages, two of which now house a CCW exhibition about the island. In times gone past the pilots would row out to approaching ships in order to guide them in their passage past the hazardous sand banks in Caernarfon Bay. A lifeboat, crewed by the pilots and also by volunteers from Newborough, was also stationed on the island up until 1903. The cannon outside the pilots’ cottages was used to call for assistance from Newborough village. The pilot station was closed in 1943.

Featured in NASA Earth Science Division’s Earth Science Picture of the Day, 18 December 2011.

Llanddwyn Island (Anglesey History);
Ynys Llanddwyn (Heliwr.com);
St Dwynwen’s Day (national museum wales);
Lighthouse, Llanddwyn Island (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)

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Great Orme Visitor Centre

Statue of a Great Orme Kashmir Goat

Date

24 October 2011
Location

Great Orme, Llandudno

SH 76603 83320; 53.33234°N, 3.85447°W

Information

The Great Orme Tramway is the UK’s only cable-hauled tramway running on public roads. Plans for the tramway were agreed in 1898 and construction began in 1901, with a full service open to the public from 1903.

The tramway runs from Victoria Station in Church Walks, Llandudno to the Summit Complex on the Great Orme. It is a funicular system, in which the cars are permanently attached to the cable, and comprises two independent sections which meet at Halfway Station, where passengers must transfer between cars.

The Great Orme’s Head lighthouse

The Great Orme’s Head lighthouse came into use at the end of 1862. It was designed and built by Mr G F Lyster. Its light was 325 feet above sea level, higher than any other light in Wales.

The Lighthouse light

The original light was a paraffin wick lamp. In 1904 the system was modified to use vaporised petroleum mantle burners. These were modified in turn in 1923 to use dissolved acetylene rather than petroleum. The system was electrified in 1965.

The Lighthouse today

In 1985 the building stopped being a working lighthouse and was sold at auction. It is now a bed and breakfast establishment.

 — Visitor Centre information panel

Great Orme’s Head; Great Orme; Great Orme Tramway; Great Orme Tramway (Wikipedia)

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Point of Ayr Lighthouse

Point of Ayr Lighthouse, Talacre beach, with North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm in the distance

Date

11 June 2011
Location

Talacre, Point of Ayr, Flintshire

SJ 12108 85252; 53.35680°N, 3.32203°W

Information

The lighthouse, the oldest in Wales, is on the beach at Talacre, close to the Point of Ayr on the west of the Dee estuary. It was established in 1776 and was in service until 1844. Two lights were displayed: one shining seawards, the other up the River Dee. The building was purchased in 1983 by the owner of the Talacre Beach Leisure Park close by and has recently featured in a paint advert showing the Dulux dog running across Talacre beach. There are stories of the lighthouse being haunted, and in 2010 a ghostly 7 ft tall sculpture — The Keeper — made from polished stainless steel was installed on the gallery walkway in front of the glass dome.

New ‘keeper’ at Point of Ayr Lighthouse (BBC News);
Hopes Dulux dog advert will boost Flintshire tourism (Daily Post)

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