Les Hanois Lighthouse

This year I have been fortunate enough to visit the Hanois Reef, with its distinctive lighthouse, twice.  On following days but in contrasting weather conditions.  On the Saturday, low cloud, drizzle and steady force 5 from the south west created interesting kayaking conditions.
By the following morning the wind had dropped, the sun had come out, it was a different world
Les Hanois is built on a reef off the south west corner of Guernsey, protecting generations of seafarers from the hazardous conditions which are found in this area.
From the early 19th century it was felt that a lighthouse was needed in this area but it wasn’t until early 1860 that the first stone arrived on the Island.  Cornish granite was taken to Castle Cornet, at St Peter Port, where it was worked on by craftsmen from Cornwall before being transported around Guernsey by barge.
The work was frequently interrupted by poor weather conniptions and if that was the case the builders who were living in Fort Grey, helped to build the Trinity House Cottages on the way to Pleinmont.  The light was lit for the first time on the 8th December 1862.
I remember on bleak October day in the early 1980’s running and Advanced Sea Course in the area.  we left from Rocquaine Bay, with fresh milk and the papers, which were the calling card of sea kayakers in those days.  A little gift almost invariably resulted in being invited in.  Our excitement for the day was being allowed to climb out onto the helipad.  Added in 1979 it is 33 metres above the sea and standing on it, with the sea breaking over the reef below, was one of the most terrifying things that I have ever done.
Those hospitable days are long past though as the light was automated in 1996. That said any sea kayaker who is visiting Guernsey should plan to visit the Hanois, its a great couple of hours.
Looking out towards the Hanois from Pleinmont headland.  On a day when sea conditions were relatively calm.

Just off the Hanois in June this year, in conditions more reminiscent of the autumn than early summer.

Heading back towards Lihou after failing to land.  Not all of us made it back to the island upright!
Approaching the Hanois on the second day.  Conditions had improved significantly although landing was still a challenge.
It is only when looking up the lighthouse that the true beauty of the construction can be appreciated.
Although it was much calmer the easiest way to land was to swim in whilst leaving the kayaks in the care of somebody offshore.  Lihou island is just visible through the rocks behind the kayaker furthest left.
John Richardson enjoy the benefits of a salt water bath.
A visit to Les Hanois is always memorable so I am hoping for good weather next week when I am on Lihou with a school group for the week and should be able to get in a visit to the reef if conditions allow.