/ accident at Catle Troughs, Swanage sunday 9th march
We were hit by freak waves whilst approaching the start of Fallen Block Climb, on a legde 4m above high tide.
He's doing ok, he has a few fractures and a lot of scrapes/bruising and will probably be kept in hospital for a few days until he is back on his feet again.
I'll be organising some sort of sponsored fundraiser so we can give something to the RNLI at least (apparently the volunteer coastguard can't accept donations)
We were in the Ruckle and wondered what had happen. Hope he gets back on the rock as soon as possible.
How did they get him off? Was he still in the water when the rib turned up?
Glad to hear it sounds like your mate will make a full recovery. Best wishes for it to be a speedy one.
If you want to make a more specific donation to the Swanage lifeboat then their Boathouse appeal is the best option:
It's a pleasure, I glad we could help out. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time to give assistance when it was needed.
Here is a bit more info for the forum. It was a a lovely day down and Swanage yesterday. I have climbed down there for a number of years and would have described the sea state as "moderate", in fact "moderate" enough for there to have been several parties in the Ruckle which is far more tidal.
Having seen the odd bigger set come through, everyone decided to avoid the new sectors in the latest Dorset guide and stuck to the higher ledges. These non tidal ledges are 4 to 5 m above the high tide mark and were fine all day until a set of 3 large rouge waves came through.
All three parties had been putting ground anchors in, the two guys caught out were unlucky enough to have been traversing to the start of their route when the set rolled in.
You could argue that they should belay each other across the traverse, which is a fair point but in reality nobody does, (as it is long and pretty straight forward), apart from perhaps across the odd "bad step".
The change in the sea state for the next 5 minutes after the big set came through was quite dramatic. Within seconds the poor lad was 50 m offshore, in ice cold choppy seas with breaking swell, fighting for his life.
Having yelled to the party at the top to call 999, we were able to deploy 2 climbing ropes pretty rapidly as we tend to use rope bags as opposed to coiling between climbs. We could see the lad starting to flag as he was swimming against a pretty strong rip that was dragging him offshore so we put the first line in the water to give him a target to swim for which spurred him on and brought him in range for the second line which he managed to hang on to.
During this time we were lowering one of the team down on a third line to the waters edge, to help fish him out and just as well because the poor lad was completely spent and going into shock by the time he reached the rocks where he took an absolute thrashing from the waves before we could reach him and clip a sling to him. How he managed to hold on is beyond me, but I guess when you are fighting for your life, you just do.
At this point he was secure, but unable to stand and a few more hands arrived to help get him back on the ledge. One helicopter and two lifeboats arrived shortly afterwards and delivered a first class service to people that really needed their help.
I hope the young lad is ok. His name is Neil, and he showed great courage and tenacity to swim for and hang onto that line while being battered by the sea.
Lastly, we were a party of 4 that helped out and while we all did our bit, I think a chap called Will (not a regular UKC user) needs a special mention, as he calmly took control of the situation as well as putting himself in the hot seat on the end of the line to fish Neil out.
Wow! Thats some story. Well done to everyone involved, and glad it Ended well.
Good effort from all involved by the sound of it.
You're right though no one ever belays across the ledges, just bad luck I guess.
I Expect some might now.
Flipping awesome job guys!
A big round of applause to everyone involved in the rescue-sounds like a job well done. Hope the injured chap gets well soon too.
I got sweaty palms reading that. A fantastic effort for saving the guys life.
I've been in a similar situation many years ago rescuing someone from a fall onto lower ledges at Subluminal and that was pretty full-on and scary - your epic sounds much worse.
I've never roped-up for such traverses at Swanage - I'll think again next time.
Amazing job! You saved a young mans life by the sounds of it.
Not sure exactly where abouts you were in cattle troughs, but those ramped ampitheatres at cattle troughs can be a bit of a nightmare in moderate to rough seas as they channel the waves up the cliff face and the ledge you walk along isn't very big and the walls don't always have much to hold on to. I've nearly been swept off there many years ago and the guide book does mention cattle troughs in this regard too.
Fantastic job everyone. It was worrying enough just watching it from a belay in the ruckle, must have ten a major taurma for those there.
Thanks, that sounds like a good option, I'll try and organise something when Neil is back on his feet again.
His Father and sister climb too, so are keen to help get him back onto the rock.
I'd echo everything taddersandbadger said. we'd done a few routes already, and not even been splashed.
I've climbed at the Cattle Troughs several times before, and always had a good day's climb. It was awful timing, Neil was quite close to me at the time, with both hands on decent holds. Had those waves come a minute earlier it would have been me on that section, or a bit later it could have been the other guys close behind. I was fortunate to get away with a soaking whilst I was beginning to sort the rope out at the base of the climb, when I heard someone shout a warning, by the time the waves drained away and I'd untangled myself Neil was being washed out from the base towards the guys who also posted (sorry I forgot your names) who were already rigging up to help.
Thanks again to everyone, I'll try and keep you updated.
Hi all Andrew here, been busy this a m. I was that soldier who helped fish him out. Really glad to hear he is ok. I would be interested to hear about his injuries. Although a first aider I didn't want to 'poke' him about as he was clearly in pain and totally spent and his heart was goin like a train. He had large grazes and bruising. I just checked for major injury or fluid loss and attempted to calm him down and reassure him. His actions were remarkable to survive the battering he got in a big sea against hard jagged rocks. The rescue services were truly remarkable and a small army were involved. Marion did of course as I would expect prove totally reliable in running all the way to the lighthouse phone shouting at everyone on the way for phones that had a signal. Beer is not required you have given enough thanks. I will however like to hear when the event is and help consume it and of course see a recovered Neil. Andrew
This has prompted me to visit Swanage rescue's JustGive page. Some proper heroics from all involved. Get well soon Neil. Sounds like Will is a useful guy to be around, one of these mysterious non-UKC proper climbers, reminds me of Stan Ridgeway's Camouflage.
An amazing story. So good to hear about such a good outcome in a hopeless situation. The waters must have been freezing and it is incredible that he managed to get out of that, particularly after being swept out to sea and with broken bones. Sounds like he was really lucky to have you all on hand to help - your quick actions undoubtedly saved his life.
Could these big waves perhaps have been caused by the Weymouth Condor Ferry leaving Weymouth?
I have seen local beaches at Ringstead and Greenhill swamped by waves from the Condor. I think they stopped it going full speed in Weymouth Bay until it was out passed Portland to limit the waves.
Might not be but perhaps a similar vessel passing nearby...
You did well. A friend of mine died when traversing near Boulder Rubble (about 50 years ago) when he jumped in attached to a rope to save someone who'd fallen in and we couldn't get him back over the undercut ledges.
Take care, it's more dangerous than it looks.
This is a great story and shows all the best stuff that clinbing parties do for each other. Congrats to everyone involved.
Doubt it, just unlucky.
Hi Andrew, was the Will who assisted in the rescue also a soldier?
And I had my rucksack swept out to sea from the gearing up platform after I left it there to go back up to the path to see where my friends were.
Neils dad asked me to post on his behalf:
Needless to say how much I appreciate and thank everyone involved in Neils rescue - the more I read and hear the more amazed I am that he survived with just the injuries that he has. A huge thankyou to the rope team, Will, and all the Emergency services for their speedy practical and brave actions.
Neil and I are indebted to you all. Thanks again.
Thanks Andrew for your support. I did indeed run all the way to the lighthouse shouting at everyone on the way to get a 999 call out if they had any kind of signal! I must have appeared to be a mad woman but I knew if Neil wasn't out of the water quickly he would be in serious trouble. My efforts weren't in vain and by the time I got to the lighthouse and made the call there, the rescue was already activated. For my part, my thanks goes to all those people who ran around with their phones to get a signal while I charged on. Hearing the the helicopter in the distance was music to my ears. I had done my job. I had confidence that all who were at the scene were doing theirs and the rescue crews would soon be on it too! It seems crazy but I ran all the way back too saying a multitude of prayers. It has a happy ending thank God. I have a number of photos and will be happy to send them to anyone who wants them. Finally, best wishes to Neil. I wish you a speedy recovery. Thanks to everyone involved. I have been climbing for seven years now and the support and camaraderie never ceases to amaze me.
Fantastic job - well done everyone involved.
wow serious pats on the back all round. You've got to think odds wise a happy ending isnt that likely in the situation. Very brave and smart actions by people in a crisis :)
No it was just an expression, a joke. I guess from the description I am the Will, they just got the name wrong! As far as I am aware there were no soldiers there, but if there were I am sure they could have been relied upon too. It was a great team effort that paid off. Looking forward to the pub celebration.....in the Square? Andrew
Good effort to all involved, speedy recovery to the poor guy.
Hi Andrew, please refer to my original post:
"..a chap called Will (not a regular UKC user) needs a special mention, as he calmly took control of the situation as well as putting himself in the hot seat on the end of the line to fish Neil out. "
You were one of the helping hands that played a VITAL role in getting Neil from the waters edge, once secured, back onto the ledge when he could not manage it under his own steam, and I am certain that the cavalry would not have been on scene as quickly as they were, had it not been for the efforts of your climbing partner, Skinnylegs !
It has been quite humbling to read the overwhelmingly positive response to this thread, and equally sobering to hear that others, when faced with a similar situation, have not been so fortunate (see the reflections of Mike TS).
Perhaps what has moved us to respond this way is the fact that for many climbers, over the course of our climbing lives, we are schooled accept that the toast tends to land "jam side down" and the chance to celebrate it landing the right side up is not to be missed ;)
The hero is Neil himself, as for the rest of us, we were just in the right place at the right time, and did the right things when it mattered most.
My nod to Will was not to detract from the efforts of everyone else there, but simply to vocalise the fact that in my opinion he put himself in a position to help Neil at the precise instant when he needed it most, that is to say when Neil had given everything to get himself back to the base of the cliff, to present himself for an instant to be grabbed before going back onto the maelstrom.
I appreciate that this is my personal perception of events and that others may see it differently. As I said earlier there is one winner, who will hopefully be home soon ;)
Bloomin' 'eck - that all sound terrifying. Well done everyone. Great the outcome were only injuries that should heal with time.
I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped my brother Neil. Thank you does not even begin to cover how grateful the whole family are to you guys. I think he was so very lucky you reacted so quickly and probably saved his life.
Neil has already said he will climb again - after the injuries are sorted. I think he is making good progress recovering.
Once again - thank you is nowhere near enough.
Maddi - and the rest of Neil's family.
Climbers for happy endings! (.com)
We have all been there but for the "phew" - all experienced that moment where we feel we've put it on the line but been let off.
Hurrah for the clan of other climbers!
During the melee someone has inadvertently picked up my guidebook. It has my sons name, Michael porter, in the front I think. can you all check please. thanks andrew
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