EYES (AND BELLS!) ALONG THE COAST AT NCI GWENNAP HEAD

19th October 2019. A group of bell ringers have dedicated one of their sessions to the National Coastwatch Institution to commemorate our 25th anniversary.

One of the watchkeepers at NCI Gwennap Head divides his week between West Cornwall and the West Midlands and, whilst up country, is the Tower Captain (or leader) of the local parish church Band of Bell Ringers. Once a month, as a training challenge, they organise a ‘Quarter Peal’ which involves a band of 6 ringers, ringing continuously for about 50 mins, with a minimum of 1250 changes, (i.e. strokes of the bell rope), in a specific routine. This is a serious challenge as the ringers have to memorise a set of patterns and rules for how that particular ‘method’ (the equivalent of a tune) works and then, to put it simply, pull their rope at the right time, and in the right way!

Obviously, this is anything but a simple exercise and tradition dictates that, if completed successfully (without a single error), the achievement is dedicated to a significant event or anniversary connected with the Band. NCI Gwennap Head is honored that the Band chose to dedicate a successful Quarter Peal of ‘1260 Plain Bob Minor’ to the 25th Anniversary of the formation of the National Coastwatch Institution and, specifically, Gwennap Head station where, as mentioned above, their tower captain is a watchkeeper. This Quarter Peal and its dedication has been submitted to the Ringing World magazine, where it is displayed for all to see and remains there, in perpetuity.

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About

Currently 56 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2500 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from Rossall  Point in the North West, through Wales, to the South and East of England to Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 

NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. They are trained to deal with emergencies offering a variety of skills and experience, and full training by the NCI ensures that high standards are met.

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