Saturday, July 19, 2008

19th July 2008 A visit to Souter lighthouse

Rather than drive through the many built up areas along the coast we dropped into Harlepool to shop at the Morrison's supermarket then headed out of town to pick up the A19 north.
We arrived in bright sunshine and the lighthouse was picked out against a dark cloud background, just right for photography.
We were a little early for the opening, so walked round the exterior and got some shots of the buildings, and also the fine flowers in the kitchen garden, which included some very fine poppies.
Once inside we were invited down to the foghorn room out at the front of the lighthouse, the horns are powered by compressed air which is stored in large pressure tanks both in the main buildings and down by the horns themselves and when the horn was sounded for our benefit, a walker passing in front of the lighthouse just about jumped off the cliff in fright!

Boy, was it loud!!!
This is the view back towards the main buildings

We then climbed up the tower to the light itself, which is a massive construction of glass lenses which float on a bath of a ton and a half of mercury, we were allowed to rotate the light by hand , which took virtually no effort at all.
The original light was an oil pressure light, but this was the first light house in the world to be converted to electricity, and we were shown the various different lighting systems that had been fitted.
Originally the light had been rotated by clockwork powered by falling weights in a tube that had to be wound back up every hour, but of course now they are electrically driven.

The last flight of stairs was not for the faint hearted as this picture shows, but it was well worth going up the tower to see the light.
We had a fine dinner in the light house tea room then went for a local tour inland, the finalk picture today is of the folly above Durham, apparently it was paid for by a local eccentric millionaire to provide work for local people in a time of a depression.

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