Leading Light

Roa Island lifeboat station and ferry pier
April 28, 2009, 10:29 pm
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Roa Island lifeboat station

 this is the 5th Roa Island lifeboat station. The first was built in 1864 and this one was opened in 2001. The pier is where the Piel Island ferry (12 passengers max) arrives and departs. Be careful in high winds – on our last visit a resident told us that she was blown off!


Leading Light No. 4 (Rampside Beacon)
April 27, 2009, 4:20 pm
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Rampside beacon

Another shot of Rampside’s wonderful ‘listed’ beacon – taken in late January’s afternoon sun. The tower is 46 ft high and I estimate it to be about 5 feet square. On the side facing Piel, the bricks have been rendered with a white coating (now quite flaky) which makes it stand out so well in the sunlight.

When I was at Rampside in April 2009 (I stopped at Clarke’s Hotel which provided a view of the beacon from the bedroom window) the light didn’t appear to be working – although most accounts say that it still flashes. That’s a piece of research for my next visit. I’ll report back!

the ferryman begins his day
April 26, 2009, 10:57 am
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starting the day

starting the day

Try not to panic when the ferryman arrives and picks up a tiny rowing boat which he carries down the jetty! His beetle-like shell is NOT your conveyance to Piel Island. He’s about to row out to where the real ferry is moored. ‘Enterprise 2’ – a far less alarming prospect – will be with you shortly.

Rampside ‘Sands’
April 25, 2009, 4:24 pm
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Rampside - near the beacon

Rampside - near the beacon

The coastline surrounding  the beacon is an area that forms tiny grassy ‘islands’ when the tide is high. Slightly further north (within walking distance) this section of coast does live up to its name – Rampside Sands.  This photo was taken in late January 2009.

Return to Roa
April 24, 2009, 12:39 pm
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the return ferry from Piel Island

the return ferry from Piel Island

The ferry leaves Roa at 11:00 each day (from Easter). No charge for the outward journey to Piel Island – but £4 to get back! (Do not be tempted to swim the kilometre of treacherous currents – just pay up.) The service may not always run on time – we waited to photograph it leaving the next day but by 11:30 no one had arrived so we gave up. Charming unpredictability?

The small ferry is called Enterprise 2 . When we travelled it was worryingly full of campers (with a huge amount of equipment and supplies) for the outward journey – I couldn’t help wondering what happened to Enterprise 1! 
I have to report that the journey was both enjoyable and completely safe.

The beacon at Rampside
April 23, 2009, 7:09 am
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the beacon at Rampside (Leading Light No.4)

This photo shows the elegant, Victorian beacon at Rampside. It was one of 13 navigation lights built between 1850 and 1870. This is the only remaining brick example. It isn’t a lighthouse (though often referred to as such) – it is ‘Leading Light Number 4″

Here’s the map reference if you want to visit – SD 242662. Information about Rampside and the nearby area is available in a leaflet entitled ‘Historical Guide’, available from Rampside Village Hall.