Dog walkers cut off by high tide

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Dunbar RNLI lifeboat volunteers rescued two people and their Staffordshire terrier from the foot of steep cliffs after they were cut off by a high tide and in strong winds on Saturday (August 31).

UK Coastguard requested the assistance of both Dunbar’s inshore (ILB) and all weather (ALB) lifeboats at 2.45pm after the walkers found themselves stranded on the rugged coastline near Bilsdean, southeast of Torness.

The volunteer crew quickly arrived at Dunbar lifeboat station and began co-ordinating their rescue efforts. The ILB launched from the harbour just five minutes after the initial call and the ALB left its mooring at Torness Power Station ten minutes later.

The two female dog walkers had raised the alarm after becoming stuck on steep ground with the rising tide and very strong winds hindering their ability to make it safely back to dry land.

Against a strong northerly wind, the ILB made the eight-mile journey through very rough conditions, joining the ALB at Torness just as they were launching. Both boats travelled further south to Bilsdean and after a short shoreline search by the ILB the casualties were spotted and the crew began planning the safest route for recovery.

The ILB helm skilfully dropped two of his crew ashore to assess and reassure the casualties. With both casualties and their dog being unharmed and able bodied they made a short traverse of the shore to a safe and more sheltered spot to recover onto the ILB.

Grateful to be out of immediate danger, the casualties were transferred to the awaiting ALB and transported to Dunbar Harbour where they met with Coastguard teams from Dunbar, Eyemouth and Berwick for further checks to their health and well-being.

With both casualties and their dog safely ashore and in good health the ILB and ALB were stood down and happily returned to station to dry off.

A spokesperson for Dunbar RNLI said, “We have a lot of beautiful and dramatic coastline along the south east coast which is a joy to explore most of the time. However, today’s incident highlights that, even when prepared with tide times and knowledge of the area, many external factors can have an impact upon your safety.

“The strong winds today provide a prime example of this, as in effect, the wind pinned the casualties to their somewhat precarious location while the tide quickly rose around them. Thankfully they were able to recognise their limits and called the Coastguard for help: two factors that greatly added to the happy outcome to today’s call out.”