Latest Incidents and News



  •  For the last 15 years or so, Gwennap Head’s primary spotting device has been an old pillar-mounted set of 100mm x20 binoculars (which were second-hand when donated!). Whilst functional (‘ish), they were certainly showing their age and, for the last few years, there was always an aspiration to replace them. Unfortunately, such a purchase was always out of our reach, and so we soldiered on with what we had.
    Recently, we were fortunate enough to receive a legacy donation specifically for the purchase of new spotting binoculars and these have now been installed. They are made by APM, have a magnification of 37x120 and give fantastically clear and bright images. When you look through them, you realise just how good modern optical devices really are and how much of an asset they will be to us, day-to-day. Because of their high magnification, the eyepieces have a smaller field of view than lower-powered ones. Thus, to make it easier to find small targets on a big ocean, they come with a Red Dot Finder aiming device. Basically, put the red dot on your target and the binoculars are automatically pointing at it – can’t get much simpler than that!
    Gwennap Head NCI - [Even Bigger!] Eyes Along The Coast
  • This morning, a bit of a surprise for our watchkeeper when they opened the watch at 7.30am – instead of one cardinal buoy (marking the Runnel Stone rock spike) in its normal position, one mile offshore, there were now two cardinal buoys happily bobbing around in the heavy seas (blowing 60mph, gusting to 80mph). After a bit of head-scratching and some quick chart work, our watchkeeper established that the ‘visitor’ was actually the Carn Base buoy which should (!) have been positioned some 3 nautical miles to the South West of its current position. Presumably, it had broken free during the previous night’s storms and was now engaged in a marine version of The Grand Tour around our local waters. Falmouth Coastguard were swiftly informed about the errant buoy and its current location. In turn, they informed Trinity House (who are responsible for maintaining lighthouses and navigation buoys around our coastline), issued a Sécurité warning message to all local shipping and requested our watchkeeper to maintain observation on the buoy and informed them of any changes in position. So far, the buoy has shown little inclination to move on but, due to sea conditions, I guess it might be a couple of days before Trinity House can get to it and 'take it back home'!


Currently 56 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2600 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from Fleetwood 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.








The words National Coastwatch Institution and Eyes Along the Coast and the NCI logos are Registered Trademarks of NCI.


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