The Needles

Wednesday, 12th December 2007 by

Off the west coast of the Isle of Wight, England, stand the unmistakable white chalk stacks known as The Needles.

Whilst there's not a lot needle-like about them anymore (photo), The Needles were originally named for an actually needle-shaped rock known as 'Lot's Wife', which stood nearly 37 metres tall - here's a drawing of how it might have looked. When the precarious chalk stack inevitably collapsed into the sea in 1764, the resulting crash was said to have been heard from many miles away.

Other than the needles themselves, we can still see the lighthouse (photo) which has stood at the western end of The Needles since 1859, and overlooking the formation on the cliffs is the Needles Old Battery a military installation built between 1861 and 1863 as part of the previously featured Palmerston follies.

The battery was initially equipped with 7 inch Armstrong RBLs which were later replaced with 9 inch RMLs (two of which can still be seen today), which took a team of 9 men to load and fire! These were eventually moved further up the cliff, as the concussion from firing them actually caused the chalk cliffs to crumble.

Today, the battery is apparently home to the best tearoom on the island! You've just got to love England.

Thanks to andrea and Dee.