Cornwall Castaway will make you realise that jumping in to the sea in the winter isn’t totally crazy!
New years eve charity event a huge success
Report by Warren Wilkins, Newquay Voice.
An activity centre marked the 100th anniversary of the historic sinking of a Newquay lifeboat for its New Years Eve charity coasteer. Newquay Activity Centre’s ocean adventure ‘Cornwall Castaway’ in aid of the Armed Forces charity paid tribute to the valiant efforts of the lifeboat volunteers onboard the James Stevens No5 who launched into a gale on December 16, 1917 to rescue sailors from the steamship SS Olsen off Penhale Point.
The group learned how the lifeboat was wrecked on rocks soon after setting sail from her station at Towan Head. The men, swimming hard against the tides, fought hard for survival, eventually managing to get washed towards the rocks where they traversed the rocky cliff edge and made it to the safety of the Tea Caverns, which was where the Cornwall Castaway inspired adventure got underway.
The old lifeboat slipway was the first iconic landmark for the exploration and the participants were immersed in the detail of the rich cultural heritage of Newquay’s coves and caves by activity centre’s knowledgeable experts. The adventure provided participants with information about the active Cornish coastline, from its ecology to its rich history and smugglers tales. The New Year’s Eve adventurers climbed, traversed and leaped from the mid-level rocks into the ocean, experiencing the winter tidal swell and eight degree sea temperature! The group were caving, climbing, scrambling and leaping in to deep water plunge pools.
The group found refuge at a secret cove and were taught bush craft survival skills including foraging, fire lighting and were rewarded with toasted marshmallows in order to re-enact the heroic display of the lifeboat men 100 years ago.
The annual charity fundraiser finished with over £300 in the pot to give to Newquay Activity Centre’s chosen charity SSAFA, which helps military families. Newquay Activity Centre director Rob Barber said:
“We’ve been truly inspired by the heroic story of bravery and survival of the lifeboat men that rallied to save the SS Olsen in December 1917 and it was only fitting that we paid tribute to that this year, on the 100th year anniversary. It’s a very hands on way to explore an area of Newquay that you would never otherwise see and learn a variety of ocean based and bush craft skills. While also hearing about the heritage of the area. And it was also a great way to welcome in the New Year fresh from an adrenaline-fuelled adventure in the Cornish seas. The Cornwall Castaway adventure will run throughout the year and the tidal changes, full moons, wild winter, spring or summer weather all add to the excitement of this adventure.”
The crew of the SS Olsen survived their ordeal. The steamship, which had been the cause of the launch, drifted rapidly along the coast and was eventually towed to safety by a naval patrol boat.
The Cornwall Castaway activity is available all year round and includes Coasteering, Super SUP and Bushcraft firelighting.