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Monday, July 24, 2006

Danger at Worm's Head, Rhossili

Daytrippers and holidaymakers are still ignoring safety warnings, by attempting to swim ashore from Worms Head. The BBC's south west Wales news section has reported that, over the weekend, Rhossili coastguards once more had to rescue foolhardy people not just from the Worm itself, but from the sound. Four people leapt into the water just yards from a very prominent and strongly worded warning sign, alerting them to the tragic consequences of such behaviour. I hate to have to say this, but is it not time Worms Head was made off-limits to anyone without a good reason to be there, e.g. the National Trust, conservationists, etc?

The relevant authorities have made every effort to alert visitors to the perils of attempting to fight the sea. They make no bones about the suicidal nature of swimming the sound when the causeway's inundated by the tide. Yet, for some reason, visitors are abandoning their brains somewhere in the region of the National Trust shop. Certainly many, once through those gates, seem determined to indulge in all manner of kamikaze behaviour, whether it be swimming the sound against multiple strong tidal currents, or attempting to get to the beach by descending the cliff face without the requisite climbing gear.

Very recently, an inquest was held into the death of Ian Reynolds from Pontarddulais. He lost his life whilst still a young man in his twenties, because he tried to swim the sound. It's one hell of a price to pay for a single moment of impetuosity. My mum knows members of Mr. Reynolds's family. They have been devastated by their loss. So, if you're someone who is contemplating a visit to Worms Head, check your tide times first. Make sure at least one member of your party has a well-charged mobile phone. If you get cut off, either sit it out until the tide recedes, or if that's not practicable, dial 999 or 112 on your phone and ask for the coastguard. They would much rather the inconvenience of plucking you alive and well from the Worm, than the horror of retrieving your corpse from the water.

Tide times may be checked here. Although the chart shows times for Mumbles, the times are valid for the whole of Swansea Bay and Gower.

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