Scarborough Lighthouse more than just any port in a storm

PIC: Richard Ponter
PIC: Richard Ponter
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Originally opened more than 200 years ago and rebuilt in 1931 after being destroyed by a German warship in the First World War, Scarborough Lighthouse has seen off more than its fair share of storms over the decades.

But this dramatic image captured by Richard Ponter shows the impact of some of 
the most recent bad weather it has stayed standing through; the recent phenomenon known as the ‘Beast from the East’ which caused chaos across the whole country.

The polar vortex saw frigid arctic conditions sweep in from Russia and caused temperatures to plummet with widespread snow and ice. It then combined with Storm Emma to add high winds to the already difficult weather conditions.

Waves from the North Sea poured on to local roads, resulting in three streets close to the lighthouse being temporarily closed by the council.

One trader said he witnessed one vehicle almost being 
dragged out to sea and others described cars being “swamped” by waves.

Scarborough’s coastal position means it is no stranger to such weather and indeed the lighthouse and the town have seen worse before. In the ‘Great Storm’ of December 8, 1874, two men drowned and three others had to be rescued from the cliffs after their boat was sunk.

But it was man instead of nature that brought about the downfall of the original lighthouse, first built in 1804 and with a harbour master’s house added in 1843.

The lighthouse was seriously damaged during the bombardment of Scarborough by German cruisers in 1914 and the tower had to be dismantled. It was eventually rebuilt in 1931. However, the decline of the fishing industry in recent decades has meant the number of boats using the harbour has fallen considerably, thanks in part to European quotas making it more difficult for fishermen.

But whatever the future holds for Scarborough, it seems certain the lighthouse will remain a reassuring local landmark long into the future – whatever the weather.

Technical details: Nikon D3 camera with 80-200mm lens, 1/250th sec @ F5.6. 800 ISO

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