Last weekend the decision was made to take the children and dog to a beach for some bracing sea air. "Which beach?" my wife asked. That was music to my ears, because the answer was easy "Burnham-on-Sea". For a long time I've wanted to photograph the Low Lighthouse at Burnham in Somerset, it's a 100 mile roundtrip from deepest, darkest Wiltshire, sure to be worth it. Many years ago I occasionally played golf on the links there so I knew my way around - apparently. The car parking facilities aren't the best it has to be said, lord knows what it's like in the summer and things gets busy. The beach is six miles long, treacherous as it has the second fastest tide in the world, many have been caught out over the years. We parked outside a church and followed a path left (totally missing a sign "To The Beach"). "Leave this to me, I know where we're going" I said. After 20 minutes a lady riding her horse gave us directions (straight from the horses mouth so to speak), we turned around and trudged all the way back to the church! Then through a path, over part of the golf course and Bingo we were on the beach and what a gorgeous beach it is -
Ok, now for the Low Lighthouse, simple, head right and off we all went. After some while a quick shower of rain caused us to take shelter in the dunes and along came some more ladies and their horses. "The Lighthouse is this way I presume?" I asked, "No" they said, "Wrong direction, you should have turned left". Really? Is it even possible for me to get a 50/50 choice wrong again? Isn't there a law of odds? Confidence in my leadership abilities were at an all time low! -
We went left, re-tracing our footsteps. My wife announced that the children were tired (secretly so was I) and therefore time to head home. No Lighthouse in sight and so, disappointed, I reluctantly agreed -
Don't get me wrong, we had a fabulous time, but I missed out on that Lighthouse which was frustrating. The very next day I posted a shot on Facebook, Richard Bland commented "No photos of the Low Lighthouse John?". How did he know?! I went straight onto Google, found the exact location and what's more an Avenue on a housing estate to park my motorbike that was literally three minutes from my subject matter. Start the BMW1200GSA, set the Satnav and off I go. I parked the bike in said Avenue, which was found through a network of various streets that lead form the main road, walked through the path and there it was - The Low Lighthouse. Standing on nine legs, built in 1832. Typically the light wasn't as good on the second visit, but here's some shots -
When I first walked onto the beach I started chatting to a lady with a small puppy and in doing so didn't make a mental note of which path I'd used to enter this area (there's lots of them leading through the dunes from the roads). Tried one, but clearly it wasn't the right one. I asked another lady who said "Don't worry I'll use Google Maps, which road or avenue did you park your bike in?". I couldn't remember the name of it!! So I walked up through the dunes and arrived at some length in a road that wasn't familiar in the slightest. Have you ever had the feeling that you're absolutely lost? I did and was! Fortunately I also have Google Maps, recognised a road after searching that sounded correct. Great, apparently I was only 1/2 a mile from it. Rest assured, I've made plenty of "Notes To Self" regarding this whole saga, it will not happen again (hopefully)! Here's the shot I chose as the best, mainly because of the composition with the dog walker to the right -
What you may notice throughout this is that whenever I went wrong I asked a woman for help or directions, there lies a lesson for all men to heed. I even got the idea of using Google Maps from a woman, which hadn't even crossed my simple mind. They're always right, let's just face it! As a side note, my wife also had the answer as to which way to go (I neglected to mention that earlier), had I listened to her then only one trip would have been needed.
Thanks very much for reading and looking at this blog, it's sincerely appreciated. Please leave a comment if you wish, as always I'd be delighted to hear from you.
All images taken with Leica M fitted with 50mm Noctilux lens.