Call for daredevils to take on abseil challenge at Souter Lighthouse

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Dare you take on the challenge to abseil down one of the region's most famous landmarks?

The National Trust has thrown down the gauntlet to brave souls with the chance to descend down the outside of the 76ft Souter Lighthouse tower on two dates this summer.

Picture care of the National Trust

Picture care of the National Trust

The events will raise money to help the conservation charity maintain the historic property and its visitor facilities, as well as giving people the chance to experience the red and white hooped landmark in a unique and exhilarating way.

The Tackle the Tower abseiling events take place on July 14 and September 15 this year. Last year’s challenge events helped the National Trust raise £1,590 towards restoring weather-damaged historic tiles in the Foghorn House.

This year sponsorship money will help fund new outdoor play equipment in the Foghorn Field.

Vicki Johnson, visitor welcome and retail manager for the National Trust at Souter Lighthouse, said: “Regular visitors to Souter will be familiar with the Marsden Rattler and pirate play ship in the Foghorn Field, which children loved climbing on.

Picture care of the National Trust

Picture care of the National Trust

"Both of them have seen a lot of wear and tear over the years and, sadly, we had to remove the pirate ship this year.

"We’re in pretty desperate need of some exciting new equipment so that younger children have somewhere safe to play while parents or grandparents can relax at the picnic tables nearby.”

Everyone who signs up to Tackle the Tower is asked to raise a minimum of £75 each, which the trust says will help young families enjoy outdoor adventures at Souter for years to come.

No abseiling experience is necessary to take part in this event and those taking part will be under the expert guidance of outdoor activity specialists Pinpoint Adventure.

Picture care of the National Trust

Picture care of the National Trust

Children are welcome, but must be aged eight or over. To find out more and for details of how to book, visit the Souter Lighthouse website or call Vicki Johnson on 0191 529 0902.

If abseiling isn’t your thing but you’d still like to help, funds are also being raised for new play equipment via donations and National Trust raffle ticket sales in Souter’s Lighthouse Shop.

Every £1 spent on a raffle ticket means £2 towards the project, as well as a chance for the buyer to win the first prize of £10,000.

Built in 187, Souter was the world’s first purpose-built electric lighthouse. It was decommissioned in 1988 and opened to visitors as a National Trust property in 1990, welcoming an average of 26,500 to 28,500 visitors a year.

The site consists of the landmark lighthouse tower and associated buildings, including lighthouse keeper’s cottages - two of which are converted to holiday cottages, Foghorn Field picnic and play area, and a wildlife garden.

The lighthouse is surrounded by The Leas National Trust property - two-and-a-half miles of Magnesian limestone cliffs, wave-cut foreshore and coastal grassland.

Next to the lighthouse is Whitburn Coastal Park, reclaimed colliery land which was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 2003.