Zennor – Pendeen Watch (7.2 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 246.7 miles / Distance to Poole– 385.6 miles
Today I was all set to write about lighthouses. The end of today’s stage is at Pendeen Watch, where a lighthouse has stood for 111 years. It is one of many that I have passed on this journey, which is unsurprising when you consider the dangers of the mighty Atlantic Ocean meeting the rugged coastline. These lighthouses, over many years, have saved countless lives and avoided many boats and ships getting into danger on the rocks and in the turbulent waters. And they continue to do so.
But then something happened on the path to Pendeen. Ruth and I were happily walking along chatting away when the noise of a helicopter interrupted our conversation. We watched as the Air Sea Rescue hovered over Gurnard’s Head, a headland we had not long ago passed. Then we looked on with mounting horror as someone was lowered from the helicopter onto the rocks below, shortly followed by a stretcher. There had been a number of people around Gurnard’s head when we had been there about 20 minutes earlier and it looked like one of them was now in trouble.
Feeling sick to the stomach, yet unable to do anything constructive but watch and pray, I couldn’t believe how real it all seemed. I know that sounds silly but watching these kinds of things on TV, hearing about them from other people, reading about them in the press, I have always been removed from the actual experience. Today, despite the fact that I have no real idea what happened, someone, possibly just minutes after I had been there, was winched to safety by the Air Sea Rescue.
It seems apt that on a day I wanted to celebrate the life saving lighthouses I end up seeing the life saving Air Sea Rescue in action. So all I want to say is a great big THANK YOU to all those who have put their lives on the line to save others, particularly those brave folk who make the seas and coasts safer places for us to enjoy.