Dramatic rescue for Eyemouth swans

SBBN-13-11-14 Eyemouth swan rescue
SBBN-13-11-14 Eyemouth swan rescue

An Eyemouth family braved awful weather conditions as they rescued a group of swans from rough seas on Wednesday night.

The family group, including parents known locally as Jock and Jenny, found themselves in trouble during the harsh weather late on Wednesday November 5.

Jay Gibson, 20, noticed the swans were in difficulty when she was out for a walk at around 11pm.

Having seen the birds stranded on a small stretch of sand as waves crashed around them, she knocked on her father’s window to tell them.

Jay’s father, John Mackay, said: “We were wondering what Jay wanted at that time of night, and then she told us about the swans and the danger they were in.”

Gary and his wife, Joanne Patterson, joined Jay in trying to move the swans from the spot of sand, which the heavy waves were rapidly approaching.

“It was really crashing down, it was like washing machine conditions in there,” said Gary, who stepped into the sea in an effort to shepherd the birds to safety.

“At first the water was up to my knees, and then eventually my waist.

“There were people passing by, and some of them stopped to help - Adele Dougal was one of them, she was a great help.

“Gary McLaughlin of Burnmouth, and John Jameson, who is known as Pookie, were helping us as well.”

The difficulty facing Gary was that the birds, panicked and tired, struggled to get up the steps to dry land, but eventually, most were helped up.

“We were using the flood barriers in the same way that you move sheep, just to try and herd them up out of the water,” Gary explained.

The rescuers managed to herd seven of the swans onto dry land, but Gary said that one - Jock, the male of the group - would not join them.

“The male, Jock, he went out to sea on his own at that point. We thought he was lost, the breakers were so heavy, but that at least we’ve got the others.”

“This all took about an hour and a half, all told,” he went on.

Those seven others were eventually corralled in two separate groups, one behind the Co-op building and the other further in a seating area along the seafront.

They were then lowered into the calmer waters of the harbour, following their mother.

“And then we look up and who else do we see sailing through into the harbour, but the male swan himself! It was miraculous, really.”

Jay, Gary and others checked up on the swans the morning after their ordeal - feeding them a little bit - and the birds seem to be in fine condition given their stressful night.