St. Mary's Lighthouse
The tiny St Mary’s (or Bait) Island, lies just north of Whitley Bay on the coast of North East England. It’s a tidal island that is only accessible by foot or vehicle by means of a short concrete causeway which is revealed at low tide. It’s a popular spot for photographers and photography workshops. When I first visited for a sunset shoot there was a group at the start of the causeway, so after taking a few photos I ventured over to the left where there is a small beach. This viewpoint also provides some great compositions.
On the island is the lighthouse and lighthouse keepers’ cottage. It was all built in 1898 using 645 blocks of stone and 750,000 bricks. Prior to the lighthouse there was an 11th-century monastic chapel. The monks kept a lantern on the tower to warn passing ships of the danger of the rocks. The lighthouse lamp was powered by paraffin, and was not electrified until 1977, St Mary’s was by then the last Trinity House lighthouse lit by oil.
You can easily walk across to the island at low tide and there is also a small museum, a visitor’s centre, and a cafe.
Sunrise or Sunset
Both are great times to photograph this lighthouse. Here are some good viewpoints:
From the start of the causeway
The beach at sunset
Sunrise from the beach
Looks good in Black and White too
Getting to the UK
The UK is widely served by pretty much every airline around the world. If you are coming from within Europe then the following airlines are worth looking at.
Wizz Air: Personally I have always found them to be the best and offer the lowest fares.
Skyscanner: A great place to search and compare flights
Ebookers: Ebookers have been around for longer than most and have always offered a great choice of flights.
The national Express coach service connects most major cities and towns and is a great way to get around.
Stagecoach is the local bus service that operates across the UK. Use this for more local connections, and also express services between towns and cities. This is a great way to also meet some locals.
The national train service also serves a lot of the larger towns and cities. Great for getting from one side of the country to the other.
Trainline: A great website to search and book your train tickets online.
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