This weekend sees a small clean up of debris from the Landslip at the north end of the beach.
Owners of the beach huts have under guidance been given permission to remove certain items from near and around their huts.
Natural items like clay will be allowed to be place on the beach and allowed to be taken out by the tide. This is the normal process which supports and replenishes the beach. Concrete and metal items will be collected by a contractor and taken away for proper disposal.
This does mean during this weekend there will be machinery on the beach and we ask members of the public to keep clear.
Its hard to believe the landslips at the north end of the bay were nearly a year ago.
Thankfully we haven't had the heavy rain we saw last year however it doesn't mean things have stopped.
After the incident we sat down with several partner agencies to ensure a clear understanding of everyone's roles if and when these types of incidents happen again. Move on 11 months and after several meetings and workshops with the public a lot has happened.
Warning signs, Gyones numbered to identify areas quicker, Part of the gyones removed to ensure safer access, Emergency policy covering the whole county in place, Emergency sign storage set up, one in Swanage, Partnership working with Dorset Fire and Rescue, Long term signage designed, Monitoring system in place, Expert reports on the cliffs from Ocean Bay to Sheps Hollow, Clearance plan, Study on Japanese Knot Weed, Owners of beach huts identified and groups formed to work together for the future.
Last week there was a meeting of the Swanage Coastal Forum which some of the above points where highlighted.
It would appear that following one of my daily Coastguard Station 'security/how much chocolate is left in the fridge inspections' ...that the team have AGAIN managed to munch their way through a fridge load of chocolate.
Only Bounty Bars left....
I've told them before that if they keep eating chocolate at this rate they won't fit through the door!
...and that's the cue for a fat ginger cat to try and squeeze through a door.
Awww soooo cute.
Disclaimer: Any similarity between the cat and a team member is purely coincidental.
Roger's first descent at Anvil Point , it was moments later that he developed the new skill of viewing the cliff from a different angle.
Thanks to the high standard of the equipment and training methods Roger was soon back on his feet and continued down to the lower ledge. Safety is so important in any of our exercises and the learning and checks continue from the moment we leave the station till we get back.
This morning some of the team had an early start at a local cafe.....before official training starting at 8.30.
We headed up to Anvil Point with the aim to get all technicians ( that's the person who goes over the cliff) down onto the lower ledges. (not all at the same time)
Brian was up first and performed a near perfect demonstration followed by Steve. The Station Officer was up next and just after this photo was taken got rather wet when a large wave dumped on top of him (despite the team thinking he had an accident).
Roger and Nick were next up for their 1st Anvil Point run and did ever so well despite at one stage Roger performing an interesting descent which the team have now called 'doing a Rog'. Sadly, we cannot say what this manouevre involved, but it has to be said it was impressive. No, really it was. Its such a pity that we cannot let you, our dear readers, know what variation and artistic element Roger brought to the task but thats the way it has to be.
As many will know from their geography field trips to Swanage we have a varied geology. To the north we have chalk, then some limestone, then some um ..other limestone.
"So what's this got to do with Coastguarding?"
Well have a look at these three cliffs:-
All very different with different challenges and dangers; and as a team we train on all three so we know what to expect.
The first Durlston Bay is less steep but very slippy with numerous holes towards the top. Easy to get stakes in and get the cliffman over but easy to trip on the way down and turn ankles etc. Lots of undercuts and sharp ledge. Pretty flowers though in spring.
Old Harry, vertical and undercut, again easy to get the stakes in on top, but loose gravel at the top makes the first 5m difficult. On a dry day it's dust in your eyes and the cliff top safety officers. Below 5m and the keen eyed viewer will see big 'square chunks' of rock which are easily dislodged. You try and kick off the loose ones and carry on. Issues here are rocks following you down or the ropes twisting in the wind and catching rocks, again they like to follow you down. Anything larger than a tennis ball can do serious damage to the cliffman or casualty below. You spend most of the time looking up and dodging. On the bottom move away from the cliff face quick. Out of interest a stonemason has cut a face in the rock at the bottom.
Anvil Point, big cliffs, vertical. It's hard rock not very forgiving on our kermantle ropes which can become desheathed (outer lining cut) even with loads of line protection. Really difficult to get stakes in, but the rock face is nice and stable. Very slippy on the bottom. It's a nightmare bringing casulties over the top without them getting cut and bruised, we use the 'quadpod' (a four legged crane thing) here a lot. If we are going over here its normally a climber and we would be playing for keeps so to speak. It's an exposed site to the weather so othen cold, wet and windy. Not my favourite site.
So you don't need a geology degree to join the Coastguard, just an understanding that each type of rock brings up different challenges.