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Three horses and their riders rescued after being stranded for hours off north Norfolk coast

11:49 13 October 2015

The horses after being led to safety from Scolt Head. Picture: RNLI

The horses after being led to safety from Scolt Head. Picture: RNLI


Three horses and their riders have been rescued after they were marooned on an island off the north Norfolk coast for several hours, having been cut off by the tide.

The horses being led to safety. Picture: RNLIThe horses being led to safety. Picture: RNLI

The three women had taken their horses out for a ride at Burnham Overy on Monday afternoon and crossed to Scolt Head Island on the other side of the harbour at low water.

But they miscalculated the time of the tide and got cut off.

The trio were rescued at 2am today, after a crew used a transporter tractor to escort them, on foot, safely back to shore. All horses and their riders got across safely, following behind the tractor.

Wells Lifeboat coxswain mechanic Allen Frary said he had seen nothing like it in more than 39 years with the service after the drama unfolded after 6pm last night.

Scolt Head IslandScolt Head Island

The lifeboat crew shipped out a tent, food, warm clothing and horse rugs to keep the marooned riders and the horses warm.

The women decided not to wait until 2pm today when the next low tide was due and crossed back to the mainland in the early hours of this morning.

John Mitchell, Wells lifeboat press officer, said: “This certainly was beyond the call of normal duty. It was a very unusual rescue indeed.”

Lifeboat spokesman, Chris Hard added; “The crew are trained for most eventualities, but it is not often you rescue peoples and animals on foot.

Wells lifeboatWells lifeboat

“Thankfully, all ended well and no-one was hurt.”


  • The Press Officer is correct; it was beyond the call of normal duty because the Purpose of the RNLI, according to their website, is to save life at sea. As ever, they did a splendid job but call outs to such incidents where life is not directly in danger and on land, potentially compromise the lives of those at sea who require their services. In true Diver fashion, I would expect the RNLI to receive a very handsome donation in recognition of their outstanding service of their Lifeboat Crews plus another £1.50 for the purchase of a set of Tide Tables.

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Peter R , No where do you mention that these people were irresponsible and should take responsibility for theactions. Their cost the RNLI a lot of money, I hope they fund raise to pay it back

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    Realistic Rob

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • This post is getting quite a lot of negative comment and that is simply not fair. These riders got into trouble when they realised that they had become cut off by the tide, they weren't the first and they won't be the last. Lifeboats and their crews operate a first class service to save life and to prevent the loss of life wherever they can and I can say with certainty that none of them want to go to a rescue and fail. Consequently they are all agreed that it is best for anyone who thinks there may be a problem to report it as quickly as possible - without guilt and without having to think about cost. These riders were cut off at 6pm, they were informed that it was too dangerous to attempt the crossing back to the mainland until low water. This meant they had to remain on an uninhabited island for 8 hours, in the dark, in a storm, with their horses. They did this, successfully supported by the RNLI and the Coastguard. The riders decided that they would prefer to cross at the first opportunity, which was at approx 3am rather than waiting until 3pm the following day. They were well within their rights to do so and maybe this was a good call given the situation they, and their horses were in. With the help of the Coastguard and the lifeboatmen all ended well. For sure it would have been a really worrying experience for the riders and they did well to keep their horses calm and biddable for so long in a strange and hostile environment.

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    Peter R

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I agree with all of the above. They disagreed with all professionals involved and didn't accept the things that were rallied round for them Ie tent, food clothes!!!! Utter disgrace!!! Well done wells crew shame those ppl weren't more grateful. Keep up the good work

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    Amanda Hastings

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I hope they will be decent enough to make a large donation; if not do send them a very large bill-thoughtless, selfish and stupid.

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I do hope they made a sizeable donation to the lifeboats,but I have always said the lifeboats should bill those they rescue.

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Absolute bunch of eejits...they should be named and shamed for their utter stupidity and recklessness...I don't give a monkeys about the riders frankly, but the thought of those poor horses, undoubtedly in some stage of distress during this whole experience, is heartbreaking.

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I donate to the RNLI for 50 years but stopped a couple of years ago when I realised that it had be come a free recovery service for idiots and ill prepared amateur sailors.

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    Realistic Rob

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Makes a refreshing change from Norfolk people (and their dogs) falling off cliffs..........

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Yes please, bill them for being unprepared and thoughtless of their horses, never mind themselves.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Unreal. So the big orange taxi service brought them everything they needed, yet they didn't fancy staying so some brave sole had to walk them back???? Wow. How thoughtless of them.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Send them a large bill, idiots for getting in a pickle in the first place, then not taking advice from professionals and putting others lives at risk.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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