Eyes on the Last Saturday in September

It was a beautiful day and the weather had brought out lots of visitors and we could see many were still out on The Worm enjoying the sun as we walked along the cliffs. When we arrived at The Lookout to take over from our colleagues, Penny Marner and Chris Hodgens, for the afternoon Watch, we noted that the warning sign about the imminent closing of the Causeway was displayed. As we carried out the handover, we all observed two people on the Outer Head ..... and it was half an hour to the predicted Causeway closure! They could be cutting things a bit fine, so we kept a close watch on them and the rising water, scanning the paths and rocks systematically, as well as keeping an eye on all the fishing boats and pleasure craft.

The Causeway flooded a few minutes later than predicted, but just as the waters met, we noticed two people walking slowly round the back of the Inner Head. From our vantage point in the Lookout we knew that they couldn't make it safely back to the mainland as, by the time they got to the middle, the water would be about a metre deep. We contacted the Marine and Coastguard Agency at Swansea immediately and informed them of the incident unfolding in front of us.

We were instructed by the Coastguard Officer to use the megaphone to make sure that "the casualties" stayed where they were and didn't try to cross ..... so we did! Using the siren to attract their attention, and then a verbal message did more than stop the strandees in their tracks, however! Suddenly the cliffs on the mainland became a grandstand and crowds drew from everywhere to watch it all. A telephone message from the MCA to "stand down the loud hailer" was received and we were also told that the Horton Inshore Lifeboat had been launched.

We had played our part and the local Cliff Rescue Team from Rhossili soon arrived to direct the actual rescue, so we returned to watchkeeping duty. Later on we learnt that "the casualties" had managed to contact the emergency services by mobile phone, but NCI had alerted the Coastguard several minutes before, so the Horton ILB had already been launched. Horton RNLI Crew arrived twenty minutes later and it became a textbook rescue.

Jo and Pete Scott, with trainee Watchkeeper, Roy Tivey