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Point of Ayr Lighthouse
Thursday, 04 March 2010 19:22

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Talacre Lighthouse

Point of Ayr lighthouse stands on a windswept stretch of North Wales beach not far from the mouth of the River Dee. Standing within the range of the incoming tide, it ably lives up to my personal preference that a lighthouse should get it's feet wet twice a day.

The lighthouse is an old one, having stood in various forms on these windswept sands since 1776. As you'd probably expect then, the lighthouse itself has become rather weathered over time. As with many old buildings however, this only adds to it's atmospheric qualities. Local folklore may also serve to lend character to the location, telling as it does of a ghostly lighthouse keeper who keeps watch from the lantern room. So entrenched in local mythology has this story become, that plans are afoot to add a 'ghost' in the form of a statue. This is one development I'll be keeping an eye on, as it could well add an extra dimension to the photographic possibilities offered by the location.

St Mary's Lighthouse
Sunday, 28 February 2010 19:05

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St Mary's Lighthouse

St Mary's lighthouse has a long and often violent history. Perhaps even for a lighthouse, which amongst all coastal buildings stand apart as having uniquely fascinating histories, St Mary's has been at centre stage for quite a number of grisly events.

Chief amongst the tales to frighten younger visitors with, is the tale of Micheal Curry, who on the 4th of September 1739, was executed for the murder of the landlord of the Three Horseshoes Inn at Old Hartley. As was the custom at the time, his body was hung in chains from a gibbet within sight of the scene of his crime. Since these events, the spot near the mainland end of the causeway has been known as Curry's Point. What is believed to be the exact location of the gibbeting is now commemorated with a plaque.

Also of note were the unfortunate events of New Years Day in 1861, when the "Lovely Nelly" a brig from nearby Seaham struck a submerged reef in heavy weather and began to sink. The Cullercoats coastguardsmen were called, who were able to rescue all but one of the crew, a young cabin-boy named Thomas Thompson.

"Did any remain on the ship? Yes: how overlooked, how so left to die, we know not - but the little cabin-boy remained." - Richard Lewis.

Penmon Point Lighthouse
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 22:37

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Penmon Point Lighthouse, Anglesey

A lighthouse should get it's feet wet at least twice a day in my opinion. It always seems a terrible shame to me that such a beautiful, and invariably historic structure as a lighthouse should be placed out of reach of it's raison d'être, the sea. Penmon Point lighthouse at the eastern tip of Anglesey has no such failings; it stands at the end of a low-lying rocky point, it's base submerged and tantalisingly inaccessible to we landlubbers.

This is an atmospheric location; it's history speaks of the wreck of the Rothesay Castle, which departed Liverpool in 1831 to meet its end here, taking the lives of 117 passengers and crew with it. Every 30 seconds, a 178Kg bell tolls, warning other ships of the fate of the Rothesay Castle, and ensuring that seafarers do not founder on the same rocks in the thick fogs that can occur here.

Click the Play button below to listen to a short audio clip of the Penmon Point bell on a very quiet and still morning:

All things considered, Penmon Point lighthouse (also known as Trwyn Du in the Welsh language) is one of my favourite locations on one of my favourite islands. It's appeal is as much in it's variability as in it's natural beauty; I've seen this location with millpond still winter morning seas, and on scorching summer days with a gentle swell lapping the shore. The seas here can be wild also, with monstrous waves crashing against the foot of the lighthouse, and whipping winds blowing spray far inshore. Penmon Point is truly a location that should be visited in more than one season in order to capture the different sides of it's character.

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