Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Another lookout for Coastwatch Institution

I have written before about the excellent voluntary work that is carried out by the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI). In effect they are taking over the role of the old manned coastguard lookouts and now they have just acquired the keys to the rebuilt lookout at St Agnes Head on the North Cornwall Coast. The old building was somewhat unsafe and so today's custodians of St Agnes Head, The National Trust, decided to rebuild it. Among the plus points are the fact that disabled access has been provided and that the NT have endeavoured to make the building carbon neutral in operation. So far as the latter is concerned they have used sheep's wool in the insulation and rainwater will be used to flush the toilets. Plans are afoot to install solar panels and a small wind turbine.

In previous posts I have been strongly critical, to put it mildly, about wind turbines, but in this location I have absolutely no problem with using one. It should be in scale with the landscape and, being right at the point of delivery in a breezy location, there won't be the power losses associated with cables carrying electricity over a long distance. It's a long time since I've visited the St Agnes area, I must try and do it this year.

It's worth remembering that the NCI started in Cornwall as a result of two fishermen losing their lives off the South Cornish Coast, a tragedy that might possibly have been averted if the nearby coastguard lookout had still been manned. Interestingly three of the charitable organisations that most resonate with me are the NCI, Shelterbox and the Cornwall Air Ambulance. Shelterbox of course started and still has its base in West Cornwall (Helston to be exact) and the Cornwall Air Ambulance was the first of its kind in Britain (and has always been funded by the public with no government money). This might be one of the poorer counties in Britain but we do have a great generosity of spirit.

I'm sure that I've supplied this link before but here it is again for the NCI if you want to read more about the organisation.

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