The Lost Watch at Lindsway Bay

It was another summer holiday in Pembrokeshire and our family had now grown to four children. Lindsway Bay by the village of St. Ishmaels had became our favourite. We would drive there and park in the Sports Club car park and then everyone with a rucksack would walk to the coast path and then down the steep flights of stone steps in the cliff face to this lovely sandy beach with good swimming. It is famous in Pembrokeshire as the beach where the young Queen Elizabeth II swam during a visit of the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1956. There is a memorable photograph of the Royal yacht with a Sunderland from Pembroke Dock flying overhead. In the evening we would climb back up the long flight of steps in the cliff face and return to St Ishmaels where we would all have a good evening meal at the Brook Inn with our hosts Hugh and Joan. Joan was a splendid cook who quickly served up good meals usually in the pub garden on tables and benches. Afterwards we would drive back to our holiday cottage for the night. They were happy days and we made friends with several of the villagers who frequented the pub.

The lost watch adventure occurred on one of these summer days. The whole family spent the day at Lindsway as the tide was receding and we played and explored the increasingly bigger beach as the tide went out. Then in the late afternoon the tide returned and the beach got smaller and smaller. We had made ourselves a base camp on the sand against the large boulders of red sandstone at the top of the beach. All went well and we followed our routine of an evening meal at the Brooke Inn. Finally we were driving home in the dusk. Suddenly from the back of the car a great wail went up followed by weeping. Our youngest son then aged about 6 years had been enormously proud of his Christmas present of his first working watch. He had discovered in the car that he had left it behind on the beach. It was already too late to go back as it would be dark by the time we returned and also the tide had been coming in when we left and our base camp would be under water. We reassured him that we would return early the next morning to look for the watch as it seemed unlikely that anybody would find it as we were the last to leave the beach. However our young son was inconsolable and wept that night even in his bed until he fell asleep.

First thing next morning we packed another picnic and returned to the beach determined to find the lost watch. The tide was again going out and the previous days base camp was dry. We all went there and carefully searched around. But there was no sign of the watch. So we all sat down and had a war council. We knew where it had been left, nobody had been on the beach afterwards and we were the first people there that day. It had to be there somewhere, so we searched around again. As we were doing this I heard a faint beep of the kind that watches can make. It was coming from somewhere amongst the large boulders at the top of the beach. We checked with young Mat and he confirmed that he had set the watch so that it beeped every hour. We searched again but there were deep cracks between the boulders that were up to 3 and 4 feet high and it could be in the bottom of any one. So we decided that on next hour we would all spread ourselves around the search area and listen. Sure enough there was another beep this time heard by several of the family. The watch was there somewhere and it was speaking to us. We guessed a better location and on the second hour were all posted carefully around the rocks listening. Sure enough the beep was heard again, but again we were not able to pinpoint the site well enough. So once again we wandered off around the beach to congregate for the third time to listen for the beep. This time our scatter of people was good and when the beep finally came we were able to identify which deep crack the watch was in. It was soon recovered and had in fact only travelled a few feet in the water but was hidden in seaweed. Happily it was a good quality water proof watch. Our son was absolutely delighted to recover his watch for it made his day, and the rest of the family were mighty relieved and happy for him.

– John Roobol

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