Why are some people so bloody stupid? Those who know the Northumberland coast will also know that there is an island a few miles off the coast called Lindisfarne, reached by a causeway that is only accessible at certain times of the day. The reason for this is because of the tide. The north sea takes no prisoners; it is a ferocious span of extremely cold and dangerous water that should be treated with respect. Tide times vary day to day, and it is stressed so clearly how quickly the tide comes in, thus covering the causeway and making Lindisfarne an "island", rather than an island-connected-to-the-mainland-via-a-causeway. It isn't difficult to read a time table, to work out that if safe crossing times are (for example) between 7.30am and 12.30pm, that it gives the visitor five hours to get onto the island, look around, then get back to the mainland before the tide starts to come in at 12.30pm. The times are very clearly stated at both ends of the causeway. They are there for a very simple reason; to keep you safe.
Why then, do we keep watching the RAF rescue helicopter going towards stranded passengers who have taken no notice of the signs and have crossed the causeway two, and sometimes three hours outside the safe crossing times? What are these people trying to prove? They disgust me, for several reasons:-
1. The majority of the stranded vehicles are carrying children. Irresponsible adults make me sick.
2. An elderly couple have recently been stranded and gave a barrage of abuse to their rescuers. WTF.
3. The County Council are doing a job; they are protecting visitors for their own safety. That's a decent thing to do.
4. Rescuers, including RAF and Lifeboats are volunteers. They are putting their own lives at risk in order to rescue utter idiots from a situation they shouldn't even be in.
5. The ignorant fools who get stranded don't get fined or prosecuted (which I think they should) and so assume they've got away with it. Yet they don't seem to give a flying fig about the safety of their rescuers, their other passengers, or indeed themselves. Don't they value their lives?
6. The north sea is a treacherous place. The tide comes in extremely fast and far too many people have found themselves stranded. The majority of these people then have to declare their vehicle as 'written off' due to the salt that has got into the engine. These people then expect to be carried to safety and need assistance to get home. As the majority are tourists from afar, this means their holiday is ruined and their children are most likely distressed by the whole experience.
It isn't difficult to read a sign. It isn't difficult to respect the sea. And it isn't difficult to realise that crossing the causeway hours after the safe crossing time is going to mean a rescue operation, a written-off vehicle, stressed kids and a ruined holiday. Being rescued isn't fun. It is an inconvenience, a danger and a very expensive operation.
This week alone the RAF helicopter has had to deal with two separate incidences where tourists thought they could "make it" 2 hours after the safe crossing time. One elderly man was abusive to his rescuer, I have no idea why. The driver of the other vehicle made an attempt to cross while the emergency services were rescuing the abusive pensioner! He was forced back to land, but how utterly stupid can people be? Does going on holiday make our brains turn to mush? If not, then the north sea sure will.