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We can see from an article in the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette, dated Friday, 21st January, 1887, that a steamer had a narrow escape off the coast of Bude back.
The article, available from the British Library, told of a large steamer, making its way up the channel, probably in ballast, nearly hitting the rocks off Bude during fog and drizzling rain. I’ve just had to look ballast up, and it is fascinating that empty ships filled a tank with water or stone to aid stability. Who knew(probably everyone but me)? The wind was west-south-west with a heavy ground sea.
What is interesting is mention of Bude’s Storm Tower. The article says:
“The Coastguard’s man on duty at the Storm Tower, Bude, between 8 and 9 in the evening, noticed a steamer’s light just north of Widemouth Bay. Knowing that the steamer was altogether out of her reckoning, he immediately burnt the Coastguard signal light. The steamer at once steered off seaward after answering his light by burning another and whistling”.