News from the Headland

13.04.2017 RIB with Engine Failure  CG Ref. : 6799

Falmouth CG contacted St Agnes Head NCI to request whether they had sight of a small RIB with 2 Persons On Board. The vessel was visible from the Lookout and was being monitored. Falmouth CG stated that they had received a report that the vessel had suffered an engine failure. Falmouth CG requested confirmation of the vessels location and local conditions which were provided. St Agnes Inshore Lifeboat launched and attended the scene; the disabled vessel was recovered. It transpired that the 2 POB did not have a vhf radio, just a mobile phone which they used to call a friend rather than dial 999. The friend subsequently informed Falmouth CG but was unable to provide them with their number so Falmouth were unable to confirm their location or condition without NCI assistance.
Incident Conclusion and Outcome: 
RIB recovered. Educational advice provided to crew by ILB Crew at request of Falmouth CG.


10.04.2017 Gilbert & Goode are first to sponsor a watchkeeper

This week we received some fantastic news - Local Cornwall Builders - Gilbert & Goode have offered to sponsor a St Agnes Head NCI Watchkeeper for a year.   Mick Coates who has been a Watch Keeper at the Lookout since 2015 will now be sponsored by Gilbert & Goode for the next twelve months - with their donation covering his capitation and insurance costs and retrospectively his SRC Radio Training - a significant financial contribution. A huge thank you to Gilbert & Goode.
Cornwall based - Gilbert & Goode are a general building contractor who offer a broad range of construction services across Devon & Cornwall, from minor repairs and maintenance to major refurbishment, extensions and new build works. Investing and building in local neighbourhoods, generating significant business for the local economy and providing jobs for a large number of local people.
The Lookout receives no central funding and we are completely reliant on the support of the local community to provide us with sufficient funds to continue operating.  The Lookout with all of its watch keepers takes approaching £3000 per year to remain functional.  We are extremely appreciative of all the support, time and effort that goes into raising these funds, and the support shown by Gilbert & Goode is wonderful.



27.01.2017 Dog lost on the cliffs  CG Ref. : 1637

 On Friday 27th Jan 2017 15:55hrs a member of the public reported that a small dog "Jodie" had become separated from her owners and was believed to have gone down the cliffs and become lost.

 Falmouth Coastguard we contacted and the Cliff Rescue Team were dispatched. At 1625hrs the CRT arrived at the lookout and were given directions to the anxious owners. The CRT located Jodie and persuaded her to come back up the cliff and be reunited with her owners. The incident was closed with a happy ending at 1725hrs.

 Our thanks go to duty watchkeepers Ivan Tonkin and Lawrence Slater for dealing with the incident and also keeping the lookout open after dark in case further assistance was required.

We can confirm that Jodie is now safe and well at home and none the worse for her ordeal.

It is import in situations such as this to inform the appropriate Emergency Services as soon as possible and remain safe yourself. Do not try to descend the cliff yourself to effect a rescue.


11.11.2016  Object floating in the water  CG Ref : 29181

 At approx 1300hrs on 11 Nov 16 the Coastguard tasked Newquay Coast Rescue Team to investigate a report of an object in the water off Perranporth.  Gordon Grey, duty watchkeeper, heard this on VHF radio and contacted the Coastguard to inform them that there were large clumps of seaweed and kelp floating on the surface in the area. This info was passed to Newquay Coast Rescue Team who subsequently contacted the Lookout directly via VHF to confirm the details. 

In line with the Coastguard's new operating model, this incident was managed by Stornaway Coastguard who were extremely appreciative of the local input by Gordon.
The info was also confirmed by local Inshore Fishing Vessel "Loyal Partner". The incident was terminated with no further action needed.


Watchkeepers visit to Bristows SAR at St Mawgan

On 22nd July 2016 a number of Watchkeepers made  the short trip up to St Mawgan to meet the crews and see the new helicopters of the Bristows Search and Rescue operation. The watchkeepers were very impressed by what they saw and say they are confident that the SAR service is in good hands. Many thanks to Bristows for hosting the day.

Station Log 87/3

On Monday 25th May 2015 at 0830, the duty watchkeeper was contacted by Falmouth Coastguard and alerted that a yacht in the area had fowled her propeller. They requested that he monitor the situation and report. The yacht was quickly spotted some 4nm off the headland. At 0906, the watchkeeper contacted Falmouth Coastguard to report that the yacht appeared to have cleared the propeller and was now making way.


27.05.15 Station Log 97/8

At 1420 on Wednesday 27th May 2015 a member of the public came to the lookout to report a small gorse/heather fire in the vicinity of Tubby's Head. The duty watchkeeper immediately contacted the Fire Service and an appliance was dispatched from Perranporth.The unit attended the scene and doused the area of the fire.


07.03.15 - Re-furbished lookout re-opens

After a 5 day closure, the NCI St Agnes Head lookout re-opened for business. The console has been redeisgned to accommodate the equipment upgrades that have reently been installed. The highlight of the new design is the weather Station which is now connected to the internet 24x7 giving live weather data over the internet. In conjunction, we now have our own website giving access to the weather data and lots of other relevant local information. This project was partially funded by a very generous donation from Kernow Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and the Aero-Modellers Association.

Also see our new Facebook page at


24.02.15 - Redruth Ladies Tuesday Club

Station Manager Phil Ashman pays a visit to the Redruth Ladies Tuesday Club and gives a talk on the NCI and the St Agnes Head Lookout.  He was given a thorough interrogation; the ladies were not shy in coming forward with their questions - nothing like audience participation.  At the end he was given a nice cup of tea, chocolate biscuits and a very generous £20 donation for the Lookout.  The Ladies will be arranging a visit to the Lookout one evening in the summer to see first-hand the work that we do.


02.02.15 - New wind turbine safely installed



31.01.15 - Station Managers Update

The St Agnes Head NCI Lookout has no mains power and is wholly reliant on the wind turbine and 2 solar panels to provide the power for the radios, radar and other associated maritime equipment.  Unfortunately, during the strong winds experienced at St Agnes Head between the 14th and 15th of January the wind turbine installed on the roof of the Lookout suffered some serious damage.  The damaged wind turbine is of a relatively unusual design being a vertical model, specifically selected for the conditions experienced at the Lookout and has survived far stronger winds than those experienced when the damage occurred.  The LE-v150 turbine is produced by a small Herefordshire Company, LE Turbines, and is designed to survive the harshest of conditions with some turbines even being used in the Artic.  It appears though that the turbine was struck with some flying debris which caused the vanes to break, unfortunately LE Turbines advised that our turbine had been damaged beyond viable repair.  
Though insured it was vital that we replace the turbine at the earliest opportunity and it was fortunate that we had some fund raising events planned for the coming weeks.  Firstly our Watchkeepers undertook a collection at Newquay Morrison’s on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd January.  Thanks to the generosity of the Morrison’s customers and staff, we were delighted to announce that we raised a fantastic total of £677.70 after the 2 days.  Then on Saturday, 24th January, The Bolingey Inn, Nr Perranporth, held one of their great quiz nights in order to raise more funds for the St Agnes Head Lookout.  The Bolingey Inn has been extremely generous in their support of the Lookout over the years, for which we are sincerely grateful.  On this occasion The Bolingey Inn quiz night managed to raise a further £190.50 for St Agnes Head NCI and again a huge thank you must go to all those who attended on the night.  The new turbine has now been ordered and should hopefully be up and running within the week.

The St. Agnes Head NCI Lookout is run by a dedicated team of men and women who come from all walks of life.  They are all fully trained volunteers and between them man the lookout 365 days of the year during daylight hours.  The NCI is a registered charity and receives no government or central funding, and relies entirely on public donations. Local fundraising events and various collections throughout the year help to raise the funds required to maintain the lookout and its equipment.  Our watchkeepers receive no financial reward for their efforts.  In order to further develop our capabilities we are always looking for support to raise the funds necessary to achieve this.  Should you or your business be interested in supporting us please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our next project at the lookout is to replace our weather station, which has also suffered some damage because of the weather.  However, it has done us very well having been in use since the NCI first took over the Lookout in late 2006.  The new weather station will provide us with a far greater capability and will allow us to put the data on line allowing those who use the Headland with the most up to date weather information.  We are being supported in this by the Kernow Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association who can frequently been seen flying from the cliffs adjacent to the Lookout.

Looking beyond this we are also planning to replace our radar equipment that we were donated a few years ago by another Cornish NCI Station though it is now in excess of 20 years old.  This will be a serious financial investment for us but it will greatly improve our capability and aid us further in supporting the vessels operating in the vicinity of the St Agnes Headland.

Station Manager Phil Ashman and Watchkeeper

Roger Davies collecting at Morrisons (Newquay.


16.01.15 - Our Poor New Wind Turbine

At 0800hrs on 16 January 2015 our Watchkeeper arrived following a night of severe storms to find the new Wind Turbine (see below) had suffered serious, if not terminal, damage. Big shame as it was performing so well. Now returned to Manufactureres for repair / replacement.


16.09.14 - Gorse Fire

At 1729hrs on 16 September 2014 a Member of the Public reported a Gorse Fire adjacent to the car park at Newdowns Head. The Fire Service was alerted and promptly attended the scene. The Fire was quickly extinguished and the Fire Service departed the scene at 1815hrs.


10.09.14 - CG Incident Number:375486

At 1400hrs on 10th September 2014 the duty Watchkeeper, assisted by 2 Trainees received a report from a Member of the Public.

A member of the public reported seeing a fisherman fall on the rocks at the base of St Agnes Head. Falmouth Coastguard was informed and the St Agnes Cliff Rescue Team was dispatcched to assist. It transpired that the fisherman had a fractured ankle/leg and required evacuation by helicopter due to the steepness of the cliff path. The station assisted the Cliff Rescue Team with communicatsions.


06.07.14 - CG Incident Number:2464

At 1220hrs on 6 July 2014 the duty Watchkeeper heard a local fishing boat in distress having suffered an engine failure.

The St Agnes Lifeboat was launched to go to the aid of the vessel which was located off Portreath. The Lifeboat escorted the casualty back into Portreath and returned to station at approximately 1320. The situation was monitored by St Agnes Head NCI which was in regular contact with Falmouth Copatsguard to report progress while the Lifeboat had limited radio contact with the coastguard due to operating close to the cliffs.


22.06.14 - CG Incident Number:2233

 At 1525hrs on 22 June 14 the Duty Watchkeeper raised concern for the welfare of 2 kayakers off  Trevaunance Cove.   

He observed a single person kayak which was carrying both an adult male and a child who were in the area of Bawden Rocks, in excess of 1nm off shore.   His concern as to the welfare of the kayakers was raised when it was evident that they were having difficulty returning to the shore.  The kayakers appeared to be struggling to paddle against the tide and wind in a changing sea state.  Falmouth CG were informed who initially contacted St Agnes Beach Lifeguards who were unable to assist.  Falmouth CG then called out St Agnes Head Inshore Lifeboat.  St Agnes Head ILB checked on the welfare off the kayakers who were allowed to continue.  The ILB remained in the area conducting a circuit of Bawden Rocks until the kayakers safely returned to shore.


17.06.14 - CG Incident Number:2142

On 17th June 2014 a small vessel was observed operating between Trevaunance Cove and Bawden Rocks when one of the occupants signaled distress by waving an oar in the air. Falmouth Coastguard were immediately contacted who made contact with the vessel via mobile phone. The St Agnes Inshore Lifeboat was launched which made its way to the casualty and escorted the vessel back to Trevaunance Cove.

Falmouth Coastguard later confirmed that the vessel had suffered a broken fuel line and was recovered safely by St Agnes Inshore Lifeboat with no injuries.


Spring 2014 News Update

The clocks moving forward onto British Summer time signals the start of the summer watch schedule at St Agnes Head NCI.  The Lookout is now open from 0800hrs to 2000hrs and it’s great to see the days eventually drawing out and the sun peeking through the clouds.

The weather over the winter in Cornwall received a considerable amount of coverage in the National Media and the Lookout did not get away unscathed.  We lost a few watches due to the bad weather and one of the skylights decided to leave at a fantastic rate of knots during one of the many 70+ knot gusts.  The radar head and one of the solar panels also came loose from their mountings but managed to stay with us.  The National Trust was good enough to action the repair to the Skylight which was very much appreciated.  At the start of April we gave the outside of the lookout a well needed coat of paint and she is now looking bonnie once again.

A new wind turbine arrived in January but was unable to be fitted until March due to the bad weather.  Having killed off 3 rotary style wind turbines over the past few years we decided to try a vertical axis wind turbine.  Leading Edge Turbines in Herefordshire were good enough to give us a good deal on a LE-v150 Wind Turbine which was very straight forward to install.  The compact design and silent running turbine to date has been doing a fine job.  Our next step is to add to our 2 solar panels which when used in conjunction with the new turbine will hopefully get us through the winter with a more reliable power supply.  The lookout has no mains power and we run a completely off grid system which can cause difficulty with the shorter winter days.

Receiving no central funding and completely reliant on public donation, like all NCI Stations, fund raising is always important.  At the beginning of March, Morrison’s, Newquay, were good enough to allow us to do a collection weekend and thanks to the generosity of their customers we raised a fantastic £728.91.  A big thank you also goes to all the members of the Kernow Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association for their very kind donation of £100.  Looking forward to some future fundraising events we will be at the St Agnes Victorian Fayre on the 26th of May and at Sainsbury’s Truro on 7th June.

Over the winter we also welcomed some new watchkeepers to the lookout but are always delighted to accept more volunteers. Volunteer Watchkeepers come from all walks of life and they each contribute to an enthusiastic and dedicated group.

No previous experience is required as comprehensive training is provided for all new volunteers.  If you are interested in joining us please pop in, call the lookout or drop us an email.


Currently almost 60 National Coastwatch stations are operational and manned by over 2600 volunteer watchkeepers around the British Isles from Fleetwood in the North West, through Wales, to the South and East of England to Filey in North Yorkshire. 

National Coastwatch 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 National Coastwatch 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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