Well I was looking forward to my first Civic Day and in Weymouth & Portland too where I spent quite a bit of time when I was younger and still have a great friend there in Weymouth.
Unfortunately it was the first rainy day we’d had in a while, whilst it was quite nice to have slightly cooler temperatures, the wet stuff really does get in the way!
We all met at the Pavillion for tea and coffee before getting onto a coach to visit CEFAS who have a large operational base in the town. We were given a couple of talks about the work they do there which was fascinating and extremely interesting if you are a lover of seafood and fish generally! This organisation which works closely with the government are who we have to thank for the food safety and ongoing monitoring of fish stocks e.g. disease identification and management. We were given a quick tour but many areas were out of bounds given the strict (anti) contamination rules.
We left there and headed for lunch at Portland Castle – which as we learnt is actually a Gun Fort. Very interesting history – including it’s design being out of date by the time the build was complete and it having been a private family home at one point.
After lunch we were taken again by coach to the Lighthouse. On all the coach trips we were treated to many facts about the areas we were driving through! This was all courtesy of the Mayor’s husband and the coach’s microphone!
There’s a lot of development on Portland at the moment – I imagine it will look quite different in a few years. It was interesting to see what was the athlete’s village, unusually designed properties And of course we saw a few of the quarries where the very famous Portland stone is now mined.
The Lighthouse trip was a real highlight, we were given the opportunity to climb the 155 steps to the very top and stand next to the actual bulb! The Fog warning sound was going off every 30 seconds whilst we were in there but thankfully as it’s now an electronic sound, it was not a danger to our health and safety.
We were told that all Lighthouses give off their own particular length of warning sound and time delay between sounds. This signature sequence tells the people at sea exactly what Lighthouse is warning them – clever huh! There is also a dipping of the sound right at the end that tells them it’s a land based warning rather than a Lighthouse out at sea i.e. on a smaller rock.
Well I made the steps up, including the last few which were almost vertical (hand holes in the steps meant they were approached more as ladders than stairs)!! Coming down was much easier.
Thank you to our hosts for looking after us all day, it was a great day!