A blog covering life and happenings in Cape Town

Monday, February 27, 2006

Touring with TurtleSA can be a blast

Lion battery on Signal Hill

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The guns that are fired daily on Signal Hill

For the last 194 years every day, Monday to Saturday the gun on Signal hill has been fired.

The tradition started way back in 1806 when the gun (cannon) was first fired from the Castle of Good Hope on the beach front in Cape Town.

As ships had no way of determining the real time it was fired to advise the ships in the bay that it was noon.

In 1902 it was decided to move the gun from the Castle to its present position on Signal Hill from where it overlooks Cape Town, the harbour and Table Bay.

The Lion battery has been fired in excess of 31300 times since it was installed on Signal Hill.

On the 4th August 2002 the gun celebrated its centenary of being on Signal Hill.

Two cannons are utilised, one as a back up to the other.

They were cast in 1791 and 1794 respectively.

Each day Chief Petty Officer Dudley Malgas has the duty of loading the cannons with a 1.5kg charge of gunpowder.

At three seconds before twelve o’clock one cannon is electronically fired from the Astronomical Observatory in Observatory, about 8 kilometres away.

The firing of the Noon day gun is a tourist attraction and can be watched every day on Signal Hill.

If you are a visitor to Cape Town and happen to be walking the streets of Cape Town at noon you will get the fright of your life when the gun fires at precisely 12 o'clock.

The pigeons all take off in fright and even the locals who know that the gun fires will jump before continuing with what they are doing.

The Noon day gun is a great tradition and has been firing for close on 200 years .

Next time you visit Cape Town contact Turtlesa for a tour to see the firingof the gun.

See you all here soon.

Geoff Fairman

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