St Bees Lighthouse, St Bees, Coast to Coast

How to Find St Bees Lighthouse

<center>St Bees Lighthouse</center>
St Bees Lighthouse
St Bees Lighthouse is a prominent landmark near the start of the Coast to Coast path, atop the cliffs forming the North Head of St Bees and set back 200 yards. A path from the lighthouse leads to the look out tower built on the edge of the cliff and adjacent to the Coast to Coast path.
There are remarkable views from the look out tower on a clear day, including the Isle of Man which appears as a large grey blur on the horizon.

History of St Bees Lighthouse

The lighthouse was once owned by Trinity House and was erected in 1718 by Thomas Lutwig, who rented the land under a lease at an annual rent. He was able to finance its continuance by raising charges of 3.5 pence per ton of cargo carried by sailing ships heading to nearby ports.

It was not a very reliable lighthouse at that time, being subject to the upkeep of a coal burning fire to light its tower. In 1822 it was burnt down and was replaced by an engineer, Joseph Nelson, using 14 oil burners to power its light. In 1865 it was replaced by the current lighthouse, which has a round tower of 17 metres height (102 metres above sea level). This was a considerable improvement in visibility from the original tower of 9 metres height.

In 1987 the lighthouse was fitted with electricity and automated, which provided a beam of light equivalent to 134,000 candela, visible from 18 nautical miles distant. During the same year the fog horn was discontinued.
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Coast to Coast Trail Guide

St Bees Lighthouse

St Bees Lighthouse

Lighthouse from Coast path

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Lookout Tower

St Bees Lookout Tower

Frequently Asked Questions for St Bees Lighthouse

Have there been many rescue events associated with St Bees Lighthouse?

The only incident I am aware of involving a sea rescue from St Bees was In 2015, in the early hours of the morning, when a lone sailor in a 26 foot yacht called Freya 2 fell asleep and was not sure of his position. He called the Coastguard on his mobile as his VHF radios were not working. St Bees RNLI was initially tasked but were unable to find him. The boat fired distress flares which drew someone's attention in southern Scotland, and reported it some 40 miles north of where it was thought to be. Kirkcudbright Coastguard then joined in the rescue, and were successful.

What is the white building on the cliff top opposite to St Bees Lighthouse?

The small white building on the cliff edge of the North Head, about 100 yards from St Bees Lighthouse, is the Coastguard lookout tower.

Why is St Bees Lighthouse set back so far from the cliff edge?

St Bees Lighthouse is set back about 100 yards from the cliff edge, presumably because this is the highest elevation on North Head and therefore the light shining from it can be seen further out to sea. The elevation is about 90 metres above sea level. To attain a higher elevation would require moving much further away onto Hannah Moor, which would be too far away.

Who owns St Bees Lighthouse?

When St Bees Lighthouse was originally built it was done so by Thomas Lutwig who leased the land from Trinity House, the owner. This was in 1718. It was subsequently destroyed by fire and rebuilt, and has since been modernised. It is still owned by Trinity House and is operated from its planning centre in Harwich.