What a Two Years it has Been!
On 10 Aug 2018, HHNCI reopened the coastguard station on the top of Hengistbury Head. In that time the building has gone from shabby to chic, our Watchkeepers have increased from 16 (plus four on loan from Calshot NCI), to over 100, with our watchkeeping hours climbing from a base of just three days a week to our current seven days a week.
We have logged thousands of vessels and kept eyes on many thousands more. We have been involved with over 80 incidents, have responded to hundreds of requests for radio checks and as many for local information. Just as importantly, we have become an accepted and respected part of both the local community and the Search and Rescue community. Thank you for your ongoing support, we couldn’t do this without you.
If you haven’t already, take a look at more pages on this website , including our Support page, or if you are considering becoming a friend visit our Friends page. You can also keep up to date with us via social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. However, if this is your first visit to our website, hello, and please visit us again. Whichever method you choose, do keep in touch!
A Facelift for the Lookout
Lockdown gave us a reduction in operating hours, so what did this mean to a team of our dedicated Watchkeepers? It meant an opportunity; they have transformed the exterior of the Station. Our door and window frames are now a vibrant NCI blue, the plinth and fascia are a brilliant white, plus a new banner message is visible to anyone passing the Lookout on the water. Thanks guys, a fantastic job!
SEVEN DAYS A WEEK WATCHKEEPING RETURNS
After four long months we have today, 20th July 2020, resumed Watchkeeping seven days a week. We are now operational between the hours of 08:00 to 19:00, with either two or three Watchkeepers on duty.
‘EYES ALONG THE COAST’ FROM 10am to 7pm EVERY DAY EXCEPT TUESDAY
Today the 6th July, marks the start of Maritime Safety Week 2020, also from today, we are able to increase our Watchkeeper numbers to a maximum of three per Watch. We will, of course, still be adhering to current COVID-19 regulations and advice. We also have a new internet service, this means our weather page should update every 10 minutes.
Operational Six Days from 17th June 2020
With effect from 17th June we will be operational Wednesday to Monday inclusive 10:00 – 19:00
More of our volunteer Watchkeepers have made themselves available, allowing us to become operational on six days. We will, of course, continue to work within all the current restrictions and guidelines.
OPERATIONAL NOW THURSDAYS TO MONDAYS INCLUSIVE
More of our volunteers have stepped up and enabled us to open an extra day, whilst still keeping everyone safe and working within all the current restrictions and guidelines.
With effect from 4th June we will be operational Thursdays to Mondays inclusive 10:00 – 19:00 and aim to be back covering all our normal Watches as soon as possible. In the meantime, stay safe and in case of an emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard
NCI HENGISTBURY HEAD RESUMES WATCHKEEPING SATURDAY 23 MAY
We are re-opening the Lookout on Saturday 23rd May 2020.
Initially we will be operational only on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Mondays from 10:00 to 19:00. Our procedures have had to be significantly revised in line with COVID-19 guidance, advice and regulations. Watches will be kept by two Watchkeepers operating in fixed buddy pairs, with one Watchkeeper in the Lookout and one outside. More days/watches will be added as Watchkeepers become available, updates will be issued accordingly.
All at NCI Hengistbury Head are excited to be back as ‘eyes along the coast’ and thank you all for your continued support.
TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF NCI HENGISTBURY HEAD DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
Following on from our earlier post of today, we are truly, truly sorry that we are having to temporarily cease operations due to the spread of the Coronavirus. We honestly thought that we had a chance of riding this out, at least for a while longer but, ultimately, the decision was taken out of our hands.
To this end, and with eﬀect from 17:00 today (Wed 18th March), the Lookout will be closed until further notice.
However, we stand united as a Station and aim to be back serving our community as soon as we are allowed.
In the meantime, the donation box will still be available outside the Lookout for you to pop your spare change in, you can still buy lottery tickets for our cause via the BH Coastal Lottery website and you can still become a Friend of Hengistbury Head Lookout via this website.
Also keep in touch via social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where we will keep doing posts (possibly more pictures than words but that may not be a bad thing!) We will be making regular visits to the Lookout for housekeeping purposes, to pick up any messages left on our phone etc. Interesting snippets and up to date weather information will still be available on this website.
Apologies to all our four legged friends too as they have come to expect the water bowl to be ﬁlled and ready for them; hopefully they’ll understand and forgive us.
Your support has always been hugely appreciated by everyone involved with HHNCI and we hope that we can continue to count on it in these diﬃcult times.
Remember, if you see anyone in trouble call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. The Coastguard and the RNLI are still operational (at the time of writing) and your call will be answered.
Thank you. Look after yourselves and each other and we will see you as soon as we get through this and out the other side.
HHNCI is committed to remaining open and operational for as long as possible but the safety and wellbeing of our Watchkeepers and their families is paramount.
With the fast pace of Coronavirus, and in light of yesterday’s Government guidelines, we are making some changes to our operations to try and ensure that we can best serve the interests of both our volunteers and the public.
We realise that some of our local community will feel that the best way to keep socially distant will be to get out on the water and for others it may mean walking their dog on the Head and the shoreline and we want to be there for you.
But we also know that we have a signiﬁcant number of Watchkeepers are over the age of 70 (but very young at heart) and that, regardless of age, not all of our volunteers wish to continue Watchkeeping for the time being. This we fully understand and totally accept.
With the above in mind, from today (Wed 18th March) we are bringing in some changes which, among other things, will result in less Watchkeepers on duty at any one time.
We are keeping to our normal opening hours but there will be a maximum of three Watchkeepers on any one Watch. Volunteers who wish to continue Watchkeeping will be asked to spread their Watches out, leaving 7 clear days between shifts, and to remove themselves from the Watch rota if they feel at all unwell. Of course, our current policy of no visitors and scrupulous hygiene in the Lookout remain in force. We will also not be putting out our public use binoculars or allowing members of the public to use any of our binoculars. All of these measures will help keep us safe, well and operational.
Today we have had news of a number of NCI Stations around the country having to close their doors due to operational diﬃculties in light of the spread of Coronavirus and we are not complacent; we realise that we too may have to take this course of action at some point but until that time comes, it’s business as usual – just a bit diﬀerent.
One ﬁnal point… Now is a time for us all to pull together and to be there for each other. HHNCI is a community, a family, and we are supporting each other through these strange and sometimes tough times (humour seems to be our medicine of choice at the moment).
We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world – let’s be thankful for that and get out and enjoy it when we can (there’s more than enough space for us to be socially distant together).
Stay safe everyone – and give us a wave if you pass the Lookout. It’s likely to be a bit lonely up there for a while.
Two years ago on 3rd March HHNCI was born – and compared to the weather on 3 March 2018, today is positively balmy! The ‘Beast from the East’ hit as Ed Essery was up a ladder being held by Chris Lloyd-Smith mounting VHF aerials on the Southbourne Beach Office. The sky went dark and they were literally engulfed in a blizzard resulting in delaying the start of our very first Watch until 12:00. Since that day we have never cancelled another Watch.
BOURNEMOUTH DAILY ECHO
helps our appeal for safety reach its target audience.
The following item was published in the Daily Echo on 28th February 2020.
Daily Echo retains copyright
Andy Patterson from the Echo Camera Club captured the windsurfing action at Avon beach during storm Ciara.
Hengistbury Head NCI warn surfers after storm incidents
By Greg Luckhurst
HENGISTBURY Head National Coastwatch Institution are appealing for windsurfers and kite surfers to be vigilant and stay safe in the water after a spike in the number of recorded incidents.
The Hengistbury Head Watchkeepers have released that they have been involved 10 incidents so far this year, five of which involved wind or kite surfers and three of those involved the RNLI. The other five related to a kayaker, a swimmer, a dog, a member of the public and a motorboat. This compares to a total of 54 incidents recorded in the whole of last year. Eight of those related to wind or kite surfers with five involved the intervention of the RNLI.
In a post put on the Hengistbury Head NCI Facebook page, they said: “From the Lookout at the top of Hengistbury Head, we watch, monitor and log all surfers in our Watch area, especially those using the waters off Avon beach directly to our east and Southbourne beach to our west. “It is part of our duty as NCI Watchkeepers to log all ‘vulnerables’ within, or passing through, our Watch area. “Surfers, including wind and kite surfers, fall into this category as do swimmers, kayakers, canoeists, paddleboarders, jet skis, small watercraft, single-handed sailors, if we deem it necessary due to weather conditions etc.”
The UK has been hit by four major storms so far this year including, most recently, Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis. Although these storms produce favourable conditions for wind and kite surfers, the unpredictability of gusts and big swells during experienced during storms can not only be dangerous for leisure users, but for rescue teams called out if an incident was to occur.
In the same Facebook post, the Hengistbury Head NCI said: “We believe that the vast majority of our local surfing community are very knowledgeable and experienced, properly equipped, and fully aware of the local sea state and weather conditions when they go out. We also know that they very much appreciate our presence keeping watch over them and are hugely grateful to the RNLI, as we all are, for being there should they run into difficulty.”
A Thank you to the Burley Literary Club
On the 17th December, a wonderfully atmospheric lamp-lit Burley Village Hall was transported back in time, as a packed audience enjoyed “A Thomas Hardy Christmas”, presented by The Burley Literary Club. The atmosphere was further enhanced by mulled wine and mince pies, as the West Gallery Quire gave a joyful lively mixture of carols, folk and dance tunes, which was enjoyed by all.
Profits raised on the evening were donated to Hengistbury Head NCI. £687 on the night, Vodafone added a further £350, bringing the total for the evening to over £1000. A huge thank you to everyone involved.
Unusual and delightful ‘first’ to share with you
A couple of weeks ago Gavin Townson asked if we would be willing to place some words that he had written in the Lookout Window; he wanted to propose to his girlfriend outside. We said Yes!
On the 21st December the sun shone at just the right moment and Gavin proposed to Katie in front of the Lookout. Thankfully Katie said ‘yes’ and we invited them in to share their moment and raise a glass to toast this very special occasion.
Gavin and Katie are a local couple and Katie has very special memories of spending time at the Head as a youngster. I’m sure today will be added to that ‘Special Memories’ bank.
HHNCI wish Gavin and Katie a wonderful, happy and healthy life together.
It just so happens that two Dorset Marine Police Officers decided to visit at the same time – and they were very impressed that we drink bubbly on Saturday mornings! (They were good – teas and coffees only).
Congratulations and Merry Christmas
Hengistbury Head NCI
Christmas Carol Service
Book the date now.
Bring family and friends. Some of our Watchkeepers have compiled a special nautical version of The 12 Days of Christmas (what could possibly go wrong)😳and the service is being officiated by our very own Watchkeeper Rev. Chris Colledge. Please RSVP: email@example.com
Broadcast on BBC South Today – Lunch Time News, 4th December 2019
BBC South Today have been filming at the Lookout 28 Nov
The BBC have been up at the Lookout filming us for a short piece on South Today. The item is being aired invarious forms throughout today 4th December, on BBC1 in the South Today Region.
Visit by Dorset Freemasons Lodge of Meridian
On Thursday 7th November we were pleased to welcome members of the Dorset Freemasons Lodge of Meridian. Peter Meade and Rob Bury brought with them a cheque for £250, HHNCI being one of their 2019 charitable causes. Their donation and support to HHNCI is greatly appreciated.
After the obligatory photo call Chris gave our visitors a brief overview of our operations, the specialist equipment we use and how the work of the Watchkeepers is carried out.
Photo: Rob Bury (Lodge of Meridian Charity Steward), Peter Holway (Acting Station Manager), Peter Meade (Lodge of Meridian Assistant Director of Ceremonies), Chris Lloyd-Smith (Deputy Station Manager)
Winter Operating Hours
To coincide with the clocks going back on Sunday we are altering our operating hours for the winter – 0800 to 1700 (or end of daylight) seven days a week.
Hengistbury Head a Winner
Last night (16th) saw the 36th Bournemouth in Bloom Awards Ceremony at the West Cliff Hotel in Bournemouth. This year Hengistbury Head was the winner of the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce Cup which is presented to a group of people who give their time, either by employment or in a voluntary capacity, for the well-being and advancement of Bournemouth. The cup was accepted by Brian Heppenstall, Hengistbury Head Senior Ranger, on behalf of all BCP staff and volunteers, including NCI, who make Hengistbury Head the special place that it is. Huge congratulations to Brian and his team – and thank you for letting us hold the cup for a photo! Pictured are (l-r) David Wilkins, Ed Essery and Station Manager Peter Holway.
Hengistbury Head NCI 2020 Calendars Now Available
By buying our calendars you will be helping us to continue to assist in the protection and preservation of life on our local waters, cliff paths and shoreline. They make great Christmas presents too!
Message us on Facebook to order your copy for £5.00 each (+p&p)
Calendars are also available from the Regent Centre shop in Christchurch High Street and Newsagent/Post Office on Broadway. From these locations the cost of the calendars is £6.
14th September 2019 - National Coastwatch Day
It is National Coastwatch Day and, also, the 25th anniversary of the National Coastwatch Institution. To commemorate the event, we decided to assemble a flotilla of small boats in the area below the Lookout and, hopefully, form the letters “HH” for Hengistbury Head. After several attempts, and despite some pretty tricky conditions for all the vessels taking part. We did it!
Well done to all who manoeuvred their vessels magnificently and those coordinating everything from the Lookout.
Brian presents Peter with the Station Manager Epaulettes.
Change at the Helm
At our first AGM there was some big news; our station manager, Brian Roberts has stood down and Peter Holway has taken over as Acting Station Manager. Brian has worked tirelessly for 4 years (with Ed and Chris) to bring Hengistbury Head from a pipe dream to the reality of an established NCI station. Brian was fundamental in creating such an awesome station. Thank you, Brian.
But Brian is not leaving, he is going to be Watchkeeping and training whilst Peter, who has been a Watchkeeper and our H&S Officer HHNCI since we started, leads us onwards and upwards.
First AGM on 2nd September 2019
We met for our first AGM and could not have asked for a more beautiful backdrop, Hengistbury Head and a dramatic sunset.
On 25th August 2019, some of our Watchkeepers attended a service at The Priory in Christchurch which recognised the work of HengistburyHead NCI. The Priory is such a stunning building and we were warmly welcomed and greatly supported by both the church and its parishioners, for which we were very grateful. Our Station Manager, Brian, gave a great talk too! Our information stand and drawing competition will be in the Priory for another week so there’s still time to pay a visit.
A Brave Walk in Windy Conditions
These lovely ladies from Tesco braved a very windy day and walked up to the Lookout on 19th August 2019. They presented us with a fabulous cheque for £1,000 following our inclusion in Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us. Here Donna and Sally from Tesco present the cheque to Chris, one of our deputy Station managers.
An excellent item by Meridian News was aired on 15th August 2019. This excerpt from the piece relates to HHNCI Lookout.
If you would like to watch the entire Meridian News item it can be viewed on our Facebook Page.
(c) ITV Meridian MMXIX
A Fabulous Donation from our Friends at Waitrose Christchurch
On 3rd August 2019 our Station Manager, Brian, received a donation from Christchurch Waitrose through their Community Matters scheme. Thank you so much everyone who voted for us. Every penny will go towards keeping Hengistbury Head NCI operational.
Meridian TV News Filming at Hengistbury Head
On 10th July 2019, Richard Slee from Meridian TV was filming at the Head. He interviewed Ed, one of our duty station managers, also Adele, one of our trainees. We understand the item will be aired on the Meridian News slot one day next week at 18.00, from Tuesday 16th onwards.
Please feel free to join us for our Sea Sunday celebration at St Nicholas’ church, Broadway, Hengistbury Head on 14th July at 3:00pm.
Thank You Cadenza Choir
What an amazing evening the Cadenza Choir event in aid of Hengistbury Head NCI turned out to be! A cheque for £987 was presented to Station Manager Brian Roberts by Dr Jane Oakland, Cadenza Music Director and with a last-minute donation of £15, a grand total of £1002 has been donated by Cadenza for which HHNCI are extremely grateful.
Hengistbury Head NCI & Cadenza Choir of Christchurch
Invite you to a concert on 10th July 2019 at 7.30pm
St Katharine's Church, Southbourne, BH6 4AR
Please join us for an evening of great music, good company and wine and nibbles. we are holding an evening concert to raise much needed funds to enable us to maintain and develop our 364 days a year operation. We can’t do it without you lovely people so please support us. Invest in us so that we may continue to invest in the lives of eveyone who uses the local waters and cliff paths.
NCI Hengistbury Head and Tesco Bags of Help Scheme
We’re delighted to announce that from May 1st to June 30th we are one of
three Charities to benefit from the Tesco token scheme.
Simply shop in one of the Tesco stores listed, and you will receive a token to place in a slot to vote
for your Charity of choice. We will receive a donation of up to £4,000 from Tesco to put towards binoculars for the Station.
Binoculars are the one piece of potential life saving equipment that every Watchkeeper uses each time they are on Watch and this donation will go towards adding to, updating or replacing equipment.
What are you waiting for? Let’s go Tesco shopping!
This is the list of stores taking part in the voting on our project, please feel free to share this list of stores amongst our supporters and within our/your community.
2164 BOURNEMOUTH BH7 7DY.
2282 CHRISTCHURCH EXPRESS
3075 NORTHBOURNE BNMTH EXP
4413 BOURNEMOUTH TUCKTN RD BH6 3AA EXPRESS
4423 KINSON BH10 7BB SUPERSTORE
5027 MUSCLIFFE BRNMTH EXP BH9 3PE
5073 MOORDOWN BOURNMTH EXP BH9 2EG EXPRESS
BH23 2AY EXPRESS
BH10 7AG EXPRESS
5352 POKESDOWN EXP BH7 6DW EXPRESS
Thank you for your continued Support.
5394 CHARMNSTR RD BMTH EXP
5631 SOUTHBOURNE GROVE EXP
6202 WEST PARLEY EXP BH22 8EB
6316 BRNMOUT HOLDEN RD EXP
6533 BOURNEMOUTH DOLPH EXP
BH8 8UE EXPRESS
BH6 3RA EXPRESS
BH8 8FT EXPRESS
BH8 8AY EXPRESS