Kyles Too escorted to safety by Campbeltown lifeboat

campbeltown lifeboat

This should not be read as  any sort of prediction on the result of tomorrow’s all-Argyll Camanachd Cup shinty final at Oban’s Mossfield Park between Kyles Athletic and Inveraray. Argyll has everything to win, so may the best team do the same.

This Kyles Too, a 26ft sail boat, needed as much athleticism as the one in action tomorrow, with a severe storm to deal with – Force 7 winds – proving a bit too much of a challenge and in a hairy position off the Mull of Kinthre. Not the place to be..

By after midday on Tuesday last, 11th September, she was in distress.

Campbeltown’s all-weather lifeboat launched to her assistance at 12.30pm, its volunteer crew responding to their pagers in minutes.

With Coxswain, David Cox, [are they born to jobs like this?] in the driving seat, the lifeboat was on scene within 30 minutes, locating the yacht about two miles from its originally reported position. The tide had carried her towards the Mull.

David Cos says matter of factly: ‘Had she carried on round the Mull, she would have been in grave danger.’ And so might her crew.

By the time the Ernest and Mary Shaw arrived on scene, the yacht was in the overfalls at the southwest end of the tricky Sound of Sanda.  Overfalls occur when strong winds oppose a strong tidal stream, resulting in extremely dangerous sea conditions.

Overfalls occur when a tidal current is running over a submarine ridge of rock, often off headlands which protrude underwater. They are worse at specific points of the tide. There is a famous overfalls Campbeltown’s fast passenger ferry, Kintyre Express, must know all about – the Sloughnamore Overfalls, moving between Fair Head and Sheep Island, straddling Ballycastle, the service’s destination on the north east Irish coast.

If you are unlucky enough to get wind over tide on overfalls, you’re really in a nasty situation,

One crew member on the shout to Kyles Too reported, ‘in those conditions, her crew were mighty relieved to have the lifeboat turn up.’ We bet they were.

Having assessed the situation, Campbeltown lifeboat escorted Kyles Too through Sanda Sound to the safety of Arranman’s Barrel buoy, where conditions were much improved.

Once assured that the two crew members were comfortable and confident in continuing their sail, the Ernest and Mary Shaw made for home, arriving back at the pontoon by 15.00.

Shopping for the lifeboat service

campbeltown lifeboat shop

The RNLI is wholly funded by public subscription and run by volunteer crews. Only the coxswain and the engineer are salaried staff.

This is a service we all obviously value because we choose to make sure it is provided to keep ourselves and our fellow safe. It’s ours and we are endlessly proud ot if – with the best of reason.

Campbeltown has its RNLI Shop, which raises funds for the service – so everyone who has recently bought a gift there has a stake in the relief felt by the Kyles Too when they saw the powerful form of Ernest and Mary Shaw shouldering the way  through the overfalls in the Sound of Sanda.

The RNLI shop will be switching to its Autumn/Winter opening schedule this Monday 17th September:

  • between 12.00m and 2.30pm, Monday to Saturday until 29 September;
  • closing for the month of October;
  • reopening the week beginning 5th November for the Christmas season with the same hours as above.

The shop is on the Old Quay, next to the lifeboat station.  Volunteer Manager, Lorna Fowler, says “We have a wide selection of RNLI Christmas cards, 2013 calendars and diaries, and stocking fillers suitable for all ages.’

The shop has also expanded its Campbeltown embossed souvenir and clothing range to include pens, key rings, mugs, polo shirts and fleeces. And as we’ve said, every gift bought there helps to save a life in peril on the seas.

The start of the RNLI’s Christmas Fundraising season will be marked by its traditional coffee morning on Saturday 3rd November.  More details of this event will be announced nearer the time – but it’s in the Events Calendar here to remind you.

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