What is a Lighthouse Bagger?

Dunoon Coast Lighthouse, Scotland

A Lighthouse Bagger is a person who treks around the world and collects visual sightings of, well, lighthouses. The United Kingdom has just over 200 lighthouses, so it’s a mammoth nigh-impossible task to complete. It’s quite an obscure pursuit, yet there’s a ‘polite’ and official name for bagging – pharology. The term is derived from the ‘one of the seven ancient wonders of the world’, Pharos, the lighthouse at Alexandria in Egypt. Built in around 300BC, it has stood for over 1,500 years. The term pharology is only reserved for the academics on the subject, not the hobbyists amongst us, but there are societies you can join.

Start Point Lighthouse, Devon

With the number of coastal paths in the UK, fans of long distance trekking are well placed to ‘bag’ many of the more remote lighthouses. It’s walking with an extra purpose and like any hobby it’s a way of connecting with other people around the world with the same interest. There are even lighthouse museums as far away as South Africa or Australia.

Lighthouse at Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

Perhaps the most famous Lighthouse Bagger is HRH Princess Anne, and she is said to be in the lead, having journeyed to about 80 around the UK, some of which she sailed to on her yacht. Some lighthouses, like the Bell Rock in the North Sea off Scotland, or the tiny Chicken Rock near the Isle of Man, are located miles offshore. However the majority can be journeyed to over land. Nowadays, some are open to the public and some have even been converted into museums.

No two lighthouses are the same so it’s a great pastime to compare different ones. It’s a tough feat, even for the most dedicated to see, let alone visit a good proportion of them. There are four alone in North Devon - can you name them?

We specialise in coastal holiday homes, so you’re probably never too far from your nearest lighthouse whether you're visiting Cornwall, South Coast, Wales, and especially Scotland.

Posted by Ed on 13th May 2017