Sunday, 11 August 2013

Let there be lighthouses

I've been on holiday at the seaside, the north Somerset coast. First time I've ever been down to this part of the country, very nice. Anyway, the obligatory check of Lighthouses of England & Wales had me most excited at the prospect of an expedition to Lundy, with its three lighthouses and population of puffins.

But we went with friends and, I was told, I couldn't just fuck them all off and disappear to look at lighthouses the whole time. So Lundy was off, but in return I was allowed to visit some of those nearer at hand. Nearest was Watchet, but I declined to make the piffling detour on the grounds that, truly, Watchet lighthouse looks rubbish.

So that brings us to Lynmouth Foreland. The cliff top path to this lighthouse is described on the Trinity House website, confusingly I think, as "hazardous, but not dangerous". This gave cause for some apprehension but mere hours later I was nervously edging my way along the path. After twenty minutes or so I found myself stood at the cliff edge with no lighthouse in sight. As I stood, glumly contemplating a wasted journey, it occurred to me in my dejected state that this was probably just the kind of spot where you might be bitten by an adder (I was wearing sandals).

Unusually for lighthouse spotting I knew my quarry was somewhere below me. I dared not get too close to the cliff edge for a peek as it was very gusty. I back tracked thinking all was lost. Anyway, there was another path (embarrassingly, sign posted: Lighthouse). After a knee-punishing descent I was disappointed not to be able to get right up to the tower (authorised personnel and lighthouse cottage guests only). I took the above snap from a viewing platform.

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