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A marvel of its age
Souter is a special place all year round and was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity. Opened in 1871, decommissioned in 1988, the National Trust acquired it and opened it to the public in 1990.
Souter remains an iconic beacon, hooped in red and white and standing proud on the coastline midway between the Tyne and the Wear.
The Leas is a two and a half mile stretch of magnesian limestone cliffs, wave-cut foreshore and coastal grassland. The cliffs and rock stacks of Marsden Bay are home to nesting Kittiwakes, Fulmar, Cormorants, Shags and Guillemots.
On June 22 ships will gather on the North Sea to perform an ambitious musical score, marking the disappearance of the sound of the foghorn from the UK’s coastal landscape. Foghorn Requiem is performed by three brass bands, ships at sea and the Souter Lighthouse Foghorn. Conducted and controlled from afar, ships will sound their horns to a score that will take into account landscape and the physical distance of sound. The composition, performed live to audiences on the coastal cliffs, will be played across a space of several miles around Souter lighthouse. The mournful sound of a foghorn is a product of the landscape through which it travels, but up close the foghorn is probably the loudest, most exciting sound you will ever hear. At a distance the sound is different, softened and transformed by a million echoes and interactions with the space through which it passes. The sound itself is an embodiment of the landscape and history of the place. Artists Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway have collaborated with composer Orlando Gough to create an event that incorporates this sense landscape, memory and space into the musical composition. New technology will allow ships' horns several miles off shore to play with a gathering of musicians on shore, three of the finest historical brass bands of the North East. More than 50 ships and 75 musicians will gather at Souter Lighthouse to perform the Foghorn Requiem with the Souter Lighthouse foghorn itself. Foghorn Requiem is a celebration of the sound of the foghorn, and a gathering of people and ships coming together to listen to its majestic honk, one more time. Participating vessels will be taking their positions offshore during the morning with the performance starting at 12.30pm. Please check the Foghorn Requiem website, www.foghornrequiem.org.uk, for updates.
An outdoor adventure is always around the next corner or under the nearest rock at Souter Lighthouse. And our list of 50 things to do before you're 11¾ will set you on your own adventure here. Go bug hunting in the coastal park, bird watching on the cliff top or hunt for a geocache. Pick up a self led pack from the entrance desk and start exploring today.