There is something very special about the first watch. We have our own parking area in the field above the Lookout, and this is a godsend.
The field entrance is the only route that the rescue services can take to get to the cliff path. We protect the area with great diligence and there are signs warning people to keep away. The narrow lane can be very busy in the summer, so it is good to know that the emergency service; which includes us, have access.
We are lucky that there are two routes towards the lookout. You can go in from the entrance at the bottom of the lane and follow the cliff path straight around to the lookout, or you can go in at the top entrance and cut across the field towards the cliff path.
I prefer to walk through the field. The contrast between the closeness of the lane and the openness of the field is striking. Suddenly there is this large green field that stretches down towards the cliffs and the sea beyond. Overhead is simply acres of sky, and ahead of you on the other arm of the little bay, (Porthcurnick) is Portscatho. It nestles quietly on that side of the bay, like a cat drowsing in front of a fire.
I take notice of how many people are on the beach at Porthcurnick; I spot as many vessels as possible and take account of any that look vulnerable.
This Sunday morning, I listened to a lark hovering high over head. Distracted, I searched for her in the clear blue sky, but never saw her. Her song contrasted sharply with the two buzzards calling from the sky over the field behind me, and all three of them contrasted with the more raucous and overexcited calls from the seagulls on and over the shoreline.
Warmed by the music from the bird life I slowly closed with the path and turned left towards the lookout.
You still can’t see the station at this point; it only hoves into view as you move towards it and go around the raised part of the field. Our lookout is nearer the sea and slightly lower than most of the area behind it.
All this wonder and I’m not even on duty yet. It’s a time to draw breath and admire the world we live in.
As the Lookout looms ever, closer it begins to give the impression of Britain’s Last Hope. The smallest station in the NCI, it is often said that if two of you are in there, then one of you would need to step outside so that the other could turn the chart over.
It may be a small station as regards its size; and we may be a small station as regards personnel; but we are big in stature as regards our commitment and dedication to the job in hand.
We are proud to be part of the NCI, and very proud to be part of the Portscatho team.
As I open the door and start preparing the station for the day there is one thing that strikes me…we may look a little like Britain’s Last Hope…but today, we may well be somebody’s last hope; and that I am really proud of.
There is nothing to stop you being as proud as me either.
Simply ring and ask to join our team. Ring Sue on 01872 530500, or ring Chris on 01326 270681