Friday, 12 October 2012

Top 5 Lighthouses

I've long been a fan of lighthouses. Partly inspired by the romantic notion that I might live on one and enjoy the isolation of being somewhere you could only get to by boat, partly imagining mad-cap adventures as witnessed in The Goodies episode "Lighthouse Keeping Loonies".

1. Beachy Head Lighthouse - Family holidays to Eastbourne would not have been complete without our traditional trip out to Beachy Head. this was the first lighthouse I ever saw and has therefore become the template by which I gauge all other lighthouses. To be frank, as far as I'm concerned, if it hasn't got a domed roof and red & white stripes it's not a proper lighthouse (though as you'll see below I do make exceptions). The current lighthouse replaced the equally famous Belle Tout lighthouse that sits atop the cliffs and has been seen in many film and TV shows, most famously "The Life & Loves Of A She-Devil".

There's a campaign ongoing to raise money to repaint the red & white stripes which are looking a little worse for wear after years of being battered by the waves. This was what got me thinking about a lighthouse top five in the first place. They only need another £5000 to reach their target so if you have a few spare pennies they'd be very glad of any contributions at

2. Start Point Lighthouse - I discovered this gorgeous lighthouse on a trip down to Dartmouth. Built in 1836 it has a wonderfully gothic crenellated tower and a very attractive leaded light window. Whilst some of the charm of lighthouses is their remoteness from the rest of civilisation, I think in reality if I was to pick a lighthouse to live in it would be this one.

3. Eddystone Lighthouse - Probably the most famous lighthouse in the British Isles, it is built in a spectacular location on a small and very dangerous rock 13 miles south west of Plymouth. It has proved a tough location for buildings to survive and for various reasons there have been four separate lighthouses constructed here. The current tower was built in 1882 and has lasted much longer by learning from the mistakes of its predecessors. There's a helicopter landing pad on top too which must be one of the scariest ways to enter a building you're likely to find.

4. Dubh Artach - Similar in location to Eddystone this Irish lighthouse was designed by Thomas Stevenson and was erected between 1867 and 1872. It's thought to have inspired Thomas' son Robert Louis Stevenson in writing sections of his novel Kidnapped. It has a cool name too which, I think, means "The Black Rock" in Gaelic.

5. Royal Sovereign Lighthouse - Undoubtedly the least attractive in this list but probably the one I see most regularly since my Dad moved down to Bexhill-on-sea. It's unusual silhouette is visible along the whole of the beach front and the Sovereign Light Cafe that takes its name has been recently made somewhat famous after Keane recorded a song of the same name and filmed the video outside.



Mr. Fatuous said...

No mention of Jollyrock Lighthouse from an episode of the goodies?

Chopper said...

Good memory Sir, I hadn't recalled the name or I think it might have made the list!