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It’s been 11 years since the RNLI led a guided walk to the wreck of the Wyre Light – a lighthouse built nearly 200 years ago. Stephanie Cottle headed out to sea with her camera.

During lockdown I wrote a piece for Blackpool Social Club about the Wyre Light. It seemed fitting at the time, when the idea of isolation was dominant in our minds, to consider lighthouses and the people that formally inhabited them.

Since writing the article we have returned to a more communal way of life but still, lighthouses sit stoically on the horizons of my mind. Seeing that this year the RLNI would host their famous Wreck Trek – a two mile walk out to the remains of the Wyre Light – for the first time in 11 years I eagerly signed up. 

Built in 1839-40 the structure, originally named Port Fleetwood Lighthouse, was the first screw pile type lighthouse ever to be lit. Relatively cheap and quick to assemble the lighthouse consisted of seven constructions piles, usually made from wrought/cast iron and wood, which were driven into soft ground such as sand or mud. The 16ft piles then supported a platform on which the light and modest quarters for the lighthouse keeper sat.

On the day it was hard to recall those pandemic months, hundreds of jovial individuals stood on the beach outside Fleetwood’s Marine Hall, obediently awaiting instruction from the members of staff working at the event.

People of all ages (and their dogs) had turned up to pay respects to the fallen sentinel who lies off the beautiful Fleetwood coastline. I overheard a conversation between two people, one of them saying they had travelled from Manchester to take part.

Once we set off, the walk itself entailed quite a bit of slushing through knee high sea water but all obstacles were overcome with great enthusiasm by the event participants who could be heard taking it all in with high spirits.

 

It was emotional as we neared the structure. Since it’s retirement in 1979 the world has changed in then unimaginable ways. We’ve waded through ‘80s culture, ‘90s technological advances, ‘00s economics and the rough seas of recent years. Despite it all, on that Sunday afternoon we gathered, and walked together to see the light. 

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