The Age of Chivalry

A quiet day on watch yesterday, unlike the last watch where Tony and I were introduced to an unexploded bomb. But that does not mean that there is nothing to report.

Often fishermen cross over and fish over the tide especially when the causeway opens twice in convenient daylight but on this day a photographer had called in to say that he wanted to ‘click over the tide,’ as it were. He was working on a project where he wanted to take images of varying levels of tide. He had thought sensibly about the situation and was kitted out with proper walking boots, two litres of water and a wide brimmed hat to ward off the sun.

The causeway was due to close at 11.10 and there had been many people who had made the crossing and as watchkeepers we are never so happy as when we know that all the pilgrims have made the crossing twice. That is, that all have safely returned. The work really starts about 45 minutes before the close and we look out for those who are perhaps cutting it a bit fine.  Half an hour before the close there was quite a large group returning and were between Devils Bridge and Low Neck. Low Neck is a bit tricky as it is bare rock and consist of thin, vertical strips, once over that the path is straightforward all the way to the causeway. Making up the rear of this group was a young lady and a child and I watched to make sure that they safely crossed the Neck. These last few would now be hidden from view for a while but within a few minutes they were in sight again and making for the causeway, they would just about make it.

But the mother and child were nowhere to be seen, closing time was getting dangerously near and the rocks of the causeway are not ones you can easily run over. I watched and watched, no sign but as no-one was in sight the siren would have had no effect other than to draw onlookers to block our view. Eventually they appeared but now there were three, a man was with them and was carrying the child on his shoulders. Initially the tide floods the causeway in a narrow band which then spreads as the flooding progresses but it was with great relief that we saw the man and child crossing onto our side. He went back to fetch the lady. And then he went back onto the island. We were intrigued.

I watched the mother and child until they reached the grass at the bottom of the path, they sat down, clearly glad of the rest. After a short while they made it up to the top of the path and I went over to have a word with her.

“Welcome to dry land,” I said “we were a bit worried about you.”

She was French and the little girl had sore feet. They wanted to know how to get to Rhosilli Beach so I gave them directions, but before they went I asked about the Good Samaritan.

“Oh, he was a young man who was staying over to take some pictures, he was really very kind.” She said.

What a lovely gesture from a responsible young man, I thought. Doesn’t it make you feel good to know that chivalry is far from forgotten?

If anyone reading this knows of his identity, please let us know.