We were recently invited to go out in the Barmouth Lifeboat for the start of the 2015 Three Peaks Challenge, which starts in the bay in the town. The TPC involves sailing from Barmouth in North Wales and ends up in Fort Will.I.Am in the Scottish Highlands. In between that, the crew climbs Snowdon in Wales (1085m), Scafell Pike in England’s Lake District (978m) and finish up with Ben Nevis in Bonnie Scotland (a massive 1344m). Why anyone would want to is, quite frankly, beyond me, but if the world was full of people like me then no one would EVER have done ANYTHING involving climbing mountains. Or big hills, come to think of it. I also have no idea about sailing.
Anyway, I digress. Because the Barmouth Lifeboat crew requires the services of a Doctor, LT was invited out to see if he fancied getting involved in the future. I tagged along to help him make up his mind, because I’m supportive like that. I really just wanted to go out on the water, but that’s not really the point.
I had little idea of just how massive the process of getting a lifeboat out of the RNLI boathouse and into the water was. I naively assumed it just, you know, sailed out, but I hadn’t taken into account that the boathouse is a good few metres from the beach. I don’t know much about boats but I do know they need water. This means that the boat gets dragged down to the sea by an enormous tractor. It’s quite an impressive thing to watch.
When we finally set sail, we headed rounded to the Harbour to check on the yachts and carried out a few patrols, making sure the competitors were OK and that everyone was safe and well. This gave us a chance to look at the competitors and hear stories of previous races and how successful some of the local sailors had been.
A half hour before the race, we motored up to the start line and got ready for the final flare to go off, which signalled that things were getting underway. We followed the yachts for a while to make sure everyone was on their merry way and then headed back to the bay for lobster and wine.
|The competitors lining up to get going in Barmouth Bay|
|Come on! Get on with it already!|
|Getting out in front before the final flare|
I’m thrilled to report that there were no casualties and we made it back to dry land unscathed. I’d like to say a massive thank you to the crew for letting us come aboard.