Annual lighthouse tour review 2012

How my lighthouse progress stands at the end of 2012
How lighthouse progress stands at the end of 2012 (red dots show lighthouses visited)

For those of you who may have visited this blog recently, you might have noticed that there is a slight difference now in the title. Where previously it was uklighthousetour2012, you will notice that there is a distinct lack of 2012 about it now (although this still remains in the web address). There is one, probably very obvious, reason for this: that there is just one day left of 2012 and the lighthouse tour is simply not complete. As far as I can see the tour won’t be finished for quite some time. With 140 island-based lighthouses and a further 14 on rocks in the middle of the sea there is certainly a lot more ground to cover.

I think it’s safe to say that 2012 has been rather good to me. However, I won’t let the year itself take all of the credit as I was the one to make the decision to travel the coast when I did, which has ultimately changed my life completely and will continue to do so next year.

I would like to say a huge and massive thank you to everyone who has supported my lighthouse endeavours this year. There is a full list of you wonderful people here. I would like to highlight, in particular, my parents who saved the day when, just a few weeks before I was due to set off, Little Car’s service and MOT cost me a ridiculous amount and they assisted financially to ensure that I was able to go ahead with the trip. Thanks also to Weiner (Liz) for the emergency bank transfer to cover the last few days of the trip and also for keeping the map up-to-date as I moved around. Big thanks too to Gavin Williams at Premier FD for the sponsorship.

My biggest thanks, following the conclusion of the month-long tour, should go to Bob for making sure that the end of the month did not mean the end of the tour. Since July I have been to so many news places and lighthouses as well as getting much closer to some of those lights I saw during my month-long trip. Also, I should thank Bob for being in the right place at the right time on 27 May, of course!

There is so much to look forward to in 2013. Firstly, clearing up the 32 UK mainland lighthouses we (yep, Bob is officially involved now) have yet to visit and beginning the challenge that the island lighthouses present and maybe some rock lighthouses too! Secondly, there’s the move to Scotland and I very much look forward to seeing three things in particular every day: Bob (the best man in the whole world), the North Sea and Dunnet Head lighthouse flashing at night (well, most nights hopefully). Finally, there’s something about a wedding… Big yay! Very very excited about that!!! 🙂 I hope you will keep following progress and thank you again for your support this year! 🙂

A hint of lighthouse and returning to the scene of the crime

Unlike most of my recent weekends spent with Bob, the one just gone was, in fact, surprising lighthouse-free – almost!

We had a great weekend in the Lake District and Ayrshire, starting off with a visit to the Castlerigg stone circle, which I had visited a couple of years ago whilst in Keswick. We then took a boat tour from Ambleside on Lake Windermere and had a very enjoyable evening of Christmas dinner and dancing (apparently, the only dance that was recognisable as a genuine ceilidh dance was The Gay Gordons, which Bob requested).

The lighthouse at Troon in Ayrshire

The following day we travelled to Troon in Ayrshire where Bob’s parents live. This was the first time I had been to Troon since “the bird incident” and it was great to see the place again and realise how much of it I recognised. We did pass the place where I plucked the bird out of the front of the car and I couldn’t quite bring myself to look at the spot. This was where the only two lighthouses of the weekend appeared. Troon lighthouse is on the end of the pier, which we were unfortunately not able to access as it always seems to have railings preventing you from doing so. We did stop off and have a look at the lighthouse though, mostly because it would have felt wrong not to! Nearby we also had a great, if distant, view of the lighthouse on Lady Isle. As the light was fading we were able to see this one in action. Hopefully we will make it out there at some point in the not to distant future. After paying visits to some of Bob’s family and former neighbours we spent a lovely evening with his parents.

The following morning we had to leave early to get to Whitehaven (back to Cumbria it was) where Bob had a meeting. On our way back to Carlisle from Whitehaven we stopped off at the Honister Slate Mine and took a tour in the old mines. The mine itself is still very much in operation, but you can join tours of the fascinating caverns that were left inside the mountain after it was mined earlier in the century. The tour guide has some rather dramatic and pretty scary stories to tell about young children working in the mine and the poor conditions in which the workers found themselves. It was a really interesting place and I would encourage anyone to go and visit. You also get a free piece of slate too!

Although the weekend, unusually, did not revolve around lighthouses it was still a great three days and really nice to get back to the Lake District and to see Bob’s parents again 🙂