Manchester firefighters save Scots kayakers – in North Berwick

The kayakers were rescued by Manchester firefighters off the coast of North Berwick

TWO Scots kayakers had to be rescued by firefighters from Manchester who are sailing around the British coast for charity.

The two men, believed to be from Fife, got into difficulty just east of North Berwick at Tantallon Castle.

Lifeboats from Dunbar and North Berwick were called at 11.30am today (Fri) to help the 66-year-old and 51-year-old kayakers as one of them had ended up in the water.

But the coastguard also broadcast the call for help to see if anyone was able to assist.

And the firemen from Manchester were the first on the scene in their RIB (rigid inflatable boat).

Ambulance crews were waiting to assess the two men when they arrived on shore but they did not require any treatment.

The kayakers were trying to paddle from Milsey Bay in North Berwick to Dunbar.

But the strong winds stopped them in their tracks and they had to be rescued.

The 11-strong group of fire fighters were heading for Bridlington in East Yorkshire when they came to the aid of the kayakers.

Gary Taylor, 48, watch manager at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and part of the 999/911 Coastal Challenge, said: “This morning we left St Andrew’s and were on our way to Bridlington. There’s been some really heavy wind which forced us to move into calmer water to take some shelter.

“The coastguard informed us there was a mayday call for two kayakers and we were the first on scene.

“They were very happy to see us. We brought them back to shore on North Berwick.

Watch manager Gary Taylor was part of the crew who saved the kayakers

“One had been in the water for about 15 minutes and was holding onto the back of the kayak. The other kayak was actually sitting on the rocks.”

The firefighters are planning to circumnavigate the British coastline in 9 days, 9 hours and 9 minutes.

They are raising money for the Firefighter’s Charity and the Fire Department New York Association Fund on the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

The challenge started on September 10 when the firefighters set off from Southampton.

And they hope to be back in Southampton on Sunday.

But Mr Taylor said that the weather has hampered their trip as well.

He added: “We have had to put the boat on the van for a short distance because of the adverse weather conditions. It’s typical Scottish weather.

“We will keep our fingers crossed that we reach Portsmouth in time. We are just praying for the rain to go away.”

 A spokesman from Forth Coastguard said: “We put the distress call out at 11:30am this morning. One of the kayakers was in the water and the other was still in the kayak.

“Lifeboats from North Berwick and Dunbar were launched and we also put out a relay broadcast to see if any other vessels could assist.”

He said that the RIB boat of the firefighters was the first on scene and they took the kayakers to the North Berwick shore.

He added: “We had an ambulance meet them on arrival but they were fine. Cold and wet but they were fine.”