From the West Pier the Upgang Lifeboat’s slipway, in the small cove two miles along the beach, appeared tantalising close but, like Whitby’s boat Robert and Mary Ellis, the Upgang boat William Riley was incapable of being in the heavy seas.
Experience with the John Fielden had shown that it was possible to launch from The Scar if a boat could be taken to a position opposite the wreck.
At noon the decision was taken to haul the William Riley overland. It was a journey of more than three miles by road, there were some very steep hills and part of the way was across rough scrubland. It took six horses and about a hundred people to get the 36 feet long boat up to the clifftop. Then it had to be lowered down the 200 feet almost vertical face. The entire operation was accomplished in two and a half hours. The only place they could get down was on the other side of Saltwick Nab and it was too rough to launch.
Copyright © Ken Wilson 1981