Tuesday the 27th May - As National Trust members we parked free in the National Trust car park at the beginning of the White Cliffs Walk (non members pay a small fee for the car park and entry to the Lighthouse),this route overlooks the Dover Port, it took us about 50mins to walk along the Eastern path, clearly marked and with work in progress to make it easier for disabled access. The rain had stopped but the pathway was muddy but still enjoyable.
We got to the South Foreland Lighthouse around 4.15pm and the last tour was due to start another couple joined our group of 4 and the 6 of us were given a first class tour, starting from the outside looking up and across to what we were assured was France, then from the bowels of the stack right up to the top taking in along the way all the back up systems that were put in place to ensure a light was always there, the mechanical clockwork like structure was in full view and in full working order we climbed the last stairs to include a walk outside the top, where by now a Westerly squall had started, it was at that stage the 4 of us all looked at each other thinking how wet we were going to be after walking 1 hour back to the car.
The tour guide was exceptionally knowledgeable, amusing and with an excellent way of describing the workings and procedures of this one time pioneering lighthouse. We were astounded that this Victorian masterpiece of engineering and weighing 5 tons could be moved with one push of a finger.
This visit is not just a walk up and down the stairs in a lighthouse, it's an inside look at just how dangerous the sea can be to unsuspecting mariners and how the ingenuity of the earlier designers, inventors and keepers of lighthouses kept so many of them alive and out of danger.
Finally a big thank you to the excellent tour guide who took us around the lighthouse and then on driving out of the staff car park insisted we jump into his lovely clean car to run us back to the visitors centre, a true gentleman, thank you again.
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