Storm ‘Eunice’ batters NCI stations in Cornwall

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storm at the sea

Funding regular maintenance on NCI stations takes some doing, particularly as Covid has prevented routine fundraising activities of late. Watchkeepers in some of the south west Cornish stations felt the burden in the last couple of days when Storm Eunice came to call. Another NCI station in Porthcawl, South Wales (pictured) shows the incredible powers of Storm Eunice.

Some of the stations are remote and gaining access alone can be tricky. Eunice made it impossible to simply get to the station at Bass Point without endangering duty Watchkeepers, therefore the station was temporarily shut down. At Cape Cornwall, the station lost the VHF aerial array and consequently its communications with the outside world. In true mariner fashion, the Watchkeepers rigged the aerial in atrocious conditions and communications were re-established.

Much worse conditions hit St Agnes Head and severe damage was sustained to the wind generator and the solar panels, denying the sustained use of electronic equipment. The Watchkeepers stayed on site and continued their watch using the trusty binoculars and a mobile phone.

At St Ives, part of the station roof was lost and damage was sustained to the gantry. Whilst most stations in the NCI estate escaped damage, watchkeeping was maintained throughout. The cost of repairs continues to be a drain on resources and with a relatively aged and diverse portfolio of buildings, funding maintenance will continue to be a major element of the work for the Watchkeepers.

In the next few days, NCI will launch its new Five Year Business Plan featuring projects and aspirations for the future. Keeping the current estate in good shape is a key part of this. Future fundraising activities will focus on keeping things progressing well,  along with new station developments.

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