News from the Lookout
The news this month is that there is no news! That is to say there have been no dramatic rescues or other noteworthy incidents at sea or indeed on the coast path. So I will tell you instead about our annual dinner which was held this year on Thursday 16th November when a total of 34 watch keepers, members of their families, friends and assorted guests sat down to a first class meal in the splendid surroundings of Silver Bay’s excellent Deck House restaurant.
The dinner was beautifully organized by Jo Jones (left above) and Caro Wilson who worked closely with Silver Bay’s Stephen Knight, who, as well as being Silver Bay’s on-site director is one of our qualified watch keepers. The sumptuous menu featured chicken breasts in a rich mushroom sauce (yum yum!), a wonderful, creamy vegetable risotto and good old fashioned fish and chips. Starters and puddings were also excellent. So (with my other restaurant critic’s hat on) I can safely recommend the Deck House as a great venue for a high-quality meal. Though it is not widely known the restaurant is open to the public and Stephen assures me that local people will be made especially welcome. You are advised to book, especially in season.
Our principal guests this year were Nigel Dennis and his wife Isla. Nigel is one of the volunteer coxswains of the Holyhead lifeboat and he sang for his supper by giving a memorable illustrated talk on the RNLI, and specifically the relationship between the RNLI and the National Coastwatch Institution. He also spoke about Anglesey becoming a Mecca for kayakers of all abilities who come to the island to experience the fantastic coastal scenery and to practice their skills and achieve their thrills in our off-shore waves and over falls. We see literally thousands of kayakers off Rhoscolyn Beacon every year and though the vast majority of them are well-equipped and highly skilled, sooner or later some of them, especially those who paddle alone or in pairs, will get in to difficulties. This is one area in which Dennis could foresee the local lifeboats and the National Coastwatch Institution working together to effect rescues. Speaking for myself, in the light of what Dennis had to say I was greatly heartened to realize that all the training we do is absolutely relevant to the possibility of assisting HM Coastguard and the lifeboats in the vital work that they do.
Nigel Dennis, seen here (left) with Carol Wilson and with Jo Jones.
Rhoscolyn NCI was opened on 20th July 2011, and after a much training and a series of searching inspections, achieved final accreditation as a fully-fledged member of the national search and rescue organization in April 2013. We have therefore been in existence for almost six and a half years. At the dinner the following members of the team were awarded their five year service badges: John Wilson, David and Georgina Roberts, Mike Shaw, Jo Jones, Caro Wilson, Simon Williams, Rolf Kraehenbeul, Auguust Savijn, John Dolan and Bruce Williams. Well done to them all.
An after-dinner raffle raised £103, and an auction of two magnums of Veuve Clicquot champagne, very kindly donated by local residents Johnny Berguis and Ed Godrich, raised a healthy £212. We thank them both for their kindness and generosity. Cheers everyone – and a very happy Christmas to you all.
(with pictures by Mike and John David Geary)
Afternote from Mike:
Nigel Dennis is in fact one of the UK’s (and the world’s) leading kayakers. In 1980, for instance, he was the first to paddle around Great Britain, while in 2005 he circumnavigated South Georgia Island in the freezing waters of the South Atlantic. It was a great privilege to have him as our guest and we now look forward to the joint training in the New Year between ourselves and Holyhead Lifeboat that Nigel has promised. Those interested in Nigel Dennis and his kayaking experiences may like to view a short on-line film of the international kayaking symposium he organized on Anglesey in 2012. You can find it at https://vimeo.com/57661776. You’ll certainly recognize some of the scenery!