Walton Lighthouse Nova Scotia – Last Original in Hants County

Walton Lighthouse is the only remaining original lighthouse in Hants County Nova Scotia and it’s worthy of a visit. While filling time in between low and high tides at Bay of Fundy I drove to the Walton Lighthouse to learn about its history. Afterwards I enjoyed a tasty seafood lunch at the Walton Pub, then drove 30 km back to Burntcoat Head Park to watch the highest tides in the world.

Basically, one of the most perfect day trips in Nova Scotia.

Although Walton is not the most photographed lighthouse in Canada, Peggy’s Cove holds that title, in some ways it is more interesting to visit. For one thing, you can climb up the stairs inside Walton Lighthouse whereas at Peggy’s Cove you can only look at the lighthouse.

 

Walton Lighthouse is the last original lighthouse in Hants County Nova Scotia Canada

Walton Lighthouse is the last original lighthouse in Hants County Nova Scotia

 

Where else can you receive hands on instructions of the duties of lightkeeper? During my visit to the Walton lighthouse I got to wind the 145 year old clockworks and learned how the Fresnel lens operated. Ever since I’ve been telling people that I’m the backup lightkeeper :)

 

Susan Moore winding the Walton Lighthouse NS clock mechanism

Susan Moore winding the Walton Lighthouse clock mechanism

 

Finding one’s way on the water is essential and it’s particularly important during foggy weather conditions. While kayaking at Blue Rocks I remember the groaner buoy and its eerie sound, realizing how useful it is for navigation when land is hidden from view.

For centuries lighthouses around Nova Scotia kept mariners informed about their position and where to safely navigate near the coastlines.

 

Walton Lighthouse Nova Scotia history

  • Built in 1873 by Timothy Parker who became the first lightkeeper at Walton
  • Cost to build: $620
  • Initial light source: 2 flat-wick lamps with 18-inch reflectors and 2 lamps with 12-inch reflectors
  • In 1986 the light was converted to an automatic system with an electronic flash
  • In 1999 a gas light matching the original was installed

An important feature that is unique to each lighthouse is the light signal pattern as well as the design pattern painted on the outside.

 

Fresnel lens at Walton Lighthouse and view of low tide

Fresnel lens at Walton Lighthouse and view of low tide

 

In order to create the light signal pattern at Walton Lighthouse a black screen revolved around the outside of the lamp.

Walton Lighthouse pattern: visible 10 seconds and dark 3 seconds then visible 4 seconds and dark 3 seconds.

 

80 gallon lamp oil storage tank at Walton Lighthouse in Hants County Nova Scotia

80 gallon lamp oil storage tank at Walton Lighthouse

 

Mining and shipbuilding in Walton Nova Scotia

When you visit Walton Lighthouse you’ll drive by some concrete silos formerly used for storing the mineral barite. In fact the barite mine near Walton was one of the largest barite mines in the world and operated from 1941 to 1978.

Before the silos and barite mining there stood a shipbuilding operation in Walton, first operated by Francis Parker. William S. Vaughn acquired the shipbuilding operations in the 1870’s.

The highest and fastest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy. So the Walton Lighthouse performed the important task of helping guide ships through the Minas Basin, an inlet of the Bay of Fundy.

 

Low tide in the Minas Basin, observed from Walton Lighthouse Nova Scotia

Low tide in the Minas Basin, observed from Walton Lighthouse Nova Scotia

 

Walton Lighthouse almost a restaurant?

After the Department of Transportation chose to declare the lighthouse ‘surplus’ its future turned uncertain while up for sale. Rumor has it that someone wanted to turn the lighthouse into a restaurant. Some concerned citizens took action to save the lighthouse and turn it into a tourist attraction for Hants County.

As a result the Municipality of East Hants acquired the Walton Lighthouse and it is now a designated Heritage Site.

 

Walton Nova Scotia and the lighthouse is a perfect road trip stop

Walton Nova Scotia and the lighthouse is a perfect road trip stop while visiting the Bay of Fundy

 

Walton Lighthouse Heritage status

In 1991 the Municipality of East Hants acquired the Walton Lighthouse. Subsequently, on August 12 1992 Walton Lighthouse received Municipal Heritage Property designation.

Later on April 12, 2012 the Walton Lighthouse received Provincial Heritage Property status.

 

Volunteer William Thompson helps visitors learn about Walton Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

Volunteer William Thompson helps visitors learn about Walton Lighthouse

 

Walton Lighthouse volunteers make a difference

What really makes your visit to the Walton Lighthouse special is the volunteers. For instance, I read the information about the history of the lighthouse and walked up the steep narrow stairs to see the view as well as the lens and clock mechanism.

 

Steep and narrow staircase at the Walton Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

Steep and narrow staircase at the Walton Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

 

I walked back to the gift shop and started chatting with the volunteers about my fascination with lighthouses.

 

Gears of the clockwork mechanism at Walton Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

Gears of the clockwork mechanism at Walton Lighthouse

 

That’s when volunteer William Thompson asked if I would like to learn about the clockworks and how to wind the clock. Of course I said yes and we went to the lighthouse for some basic instruction in lightkeeper duties. That’s when I learned to wind the clock mechanism, essential to keeping the light operating correctly.

And I enjoyed receiving a souvenir certificate for performing the duties of lightkeeper at Walton Lighthouse.

 

Lighthouse volunteer William Thompson presents Susan Moore with certificate

Lighthouse volunteer William Thompson presents Susan Moore with certificate

 

Walton Lighthouse Nova Scotia visitor info

Address

119 Lorne Smith Road, Walton Nova Scotia

GPS coordinates

45.2343° N, 64.0115° W

Hours

8 am to 8 pm daily from May 15 – October 15

Admittance fee

FREE

 

Walton Lighthouse is a wooden structure built in 1873 in Hants County NS

Walton Lighthouse is a wooden structure built in 1873 in Hants County NS

 

Even if you can’t make a visit to the Walton Lighthouse in Nova Scotia you can take a peek at the Walton Lighthouse webcam here to see what is going on right now.

Want to know more about Nova Scotia lighthouses? Find out about all the lighthouses in Nova Scotia and info for each one at the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society.

 

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 4 of living a nomadic life, roadtripping around the USA and Canada and writing about her experiences. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

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