21st June 2021. Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal visited the National Coastwatch Institution stations at St Albans Head and Swanage before attending a Reception at Durlston Castle, Swanage, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, Mr Angus Campbell.

The Princess Royal, Royal Patron of the National Coastwatch Institution, first visited the NCI Station at St Alban's Head. The original Coastguard station at St. Alban's Head was built in 1895. When HM Coastguard ceased to man visual lookouts in 1994, the building was returned to the landowner, the Encombe Estate. Since 1995, the Estate has leased the lookout to the National Coastwatch Institution. The NCI facility was opened in May 1995 and was manned by local volunteers as a sub-station of NCI Peveril Point, Swanage. It became independent in 1996. In 2012 the station was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and underwent substantial refurbishment in 2020. The Princess Royal also unveiled a commemorative plaque at St. Alban's Head to commemorate its formal re-opening after refurbishment

HRH, The Princess Royal then moved on to visit the National Coastwatch station at Swanage. NCI Swanage (formally NCI Peveril Point) is one of the oldest of the 56 National Coastwatch Institution stations around the coast of England and Wales, opening on the Peveril Point site on 15 April 1995. The current lookout was built by the members in 2001 under the guidance of Ian Surface, the station's first manager, a local builder. NCI Swanage is a recipient of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Having visited both of these ‘Jurassic Coast’ NCI stations to mark the 25th anniversary of their founding in 1995, Her Royal Highness afterwards attended a reception at Durlston Castle, Swanage, where she met sixty local NCI watchkeepers and presented ten long service (10 and 15 years) awards.

The photograph, taken at Durlston Castle shows The Princess Royal with the Lord Lt of Dorset, Angus Crawford; Cllr Avril Harries, Mayor of Swanage; Ranger Alister Tuckey, Project lead, Durlston Castle; Mr Tim Colquhoun, PRO, National Coastwatch; Mr Ian Whalley, Deputy Chairman, National Coastwatch.

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Currently 57 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2600 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from Fleetwood in the North West, through Wales, to the South and East of England to Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 

NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. They are trained to deal with emergencies offering a variety of skills and experience, and full training by the NCI ensures that high standards are met.








The words National Coastwatch Institution and Eyes Along the Coast and the NCI logos are Registered Trademarks of NCI.

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