The Newquay NCC Symposium by Mark Kelly
Updated: Jan 5
The National Coasteering Charter Symposium took place on a windswept and interesting weekend in Newquay, Cornwall. This gathering of like minded folk assembled in the newly renovated, Newquay Rowing Club, situated at the harbour, overlooking the stormy Celtic Sea, a fitting venue for such an event. With formalities, tea and biccys dispensed off, Jorrin from Newquay Activity Centre outlined the upcoming workshops, which included, incident management, environmental impact, use of equipment, jumping from height, technical advice and more.
The motley crew that had assembled from all corners of the UK & Ireland choose their poison and off the marched to meet their workshop leaders. I opted for 'Jumping from height' with JP Eatock of Lizard Adventures and Vice chair of the NCC.
We discussed, heights of jumps, depth testing, impact forces, NOP's, somersaults and data collection. It was interesting to hear views and options from all over the country from some highly experienced coasteering providers.
One big subject of conversation was jump training and depth testing experiment run by Go Coasteering, click here to view, a great article that sparked a lively debate.
ROPE, ROPE, ROPE!
Trainee guide Em, opted for a workshop on, throwlines, towlines, tubes and rescues with fellow Irishman, Steve Bowen of H2o training. They started of with an intro to the equipment at the harbour, then headed off to the Gazzle, for a bit of dry land practice, discussion, sharing ideas and then putting it all into action in the salt. The howling northerlies made the throwline practice interesting but big Owen from Land & Wave bowled a few winners!
This dryland session was packed with handy hints and helpful tips that were quickly put into action in the water. The keen put themselves froward as both victim and rescuer and the sensible watched on from dryland! Conditions were great to action some of these rescues in dynamic water, but in a controlled way so that everyone could learn and observe. Highlights were the use of the throw line for a double rescue and contact tows in the bumpy water.
A great session was had by all and everyone went away having learned something new.
Handrailing, double roping, assisted spinal tow and buoyancy aid tow.
Seeking shelter in the serpents mouth!
In the afternoon I opted for JP's workshop on the role of Technical Advisers for coasteering, which brought up lots of interesting discussion, but, the real action was taking place in Pentire Point. It was decided to seek some shelter from the cold Northerly winds here for the local coasteer and incident prevention workshop. No shelter was to be found, instead a swirling cauldron of froth! By all accounts, fun was had as well as some 'emotional moments' for those not used to power of power of the swell on the Cornish coast! I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story!
Sam Starkie of vertical Descents in his element.
Heading for a Cornish jacuzzi!
Whitewater paddlers, will be familar with the phrase, 'rocks are your friends' , not sure the same saying applies to coasteering?
Words by Ziggy Austin, pics by Ziggy and Steve Bowen.
At the National Coasteering charter symposium this year we had the real pleasure of working with the RNLI lifeboat crew in Newquay!
It's not often as a Coasteering guide that you get to actually work with the emergency services as a team and it was a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas and best practice. These guys have adapted their methods especially for the type of terrain and injuries which they are likely to encounter while working with local adventure companies in the dynamic environment of north Cornwall.
All guides got the chance to practice rolling a casualty with a suspected spinal injury and giving neck support for as long as necessary. Different towing techniques were practiced, and the use of the submersible basket (Scoop Stretcher MK) which the RNLI in Newquay use for recovering people with spinal injuries from the water.
The Standard technique is to tow the casualty out into open water where the boat then comes along side and deploys the basket which is submersed under the casualty, neck support is maintained throughout.
The team then work together to lift the casualty clear of the water on a three count in three stages.
Overall, the consensus from the attendees was that, the symposium was very enjoyable, hugely informative, a great success and even though this years will take some beating, hope that next years, will be bigger, better and with even more attendees.
Big thanks to all the organisers, sponsors, and Newquay Rowing Club for providing their facilities.