Lifeboat mission leaves Portree crew member in a lather

Iain Beaton, with a head full of shampoo
Photograph: PORTREE RNLI

A Skye lifeboat crew member is helping the RNLI to launch a new fundraiser by featuring in its list of amusing ‘pager moments’.

RNLI volunteers have been sharing some of the stranger situations they have found themselves in when their pagers go off to herald the lifesaving charity’s Mayday Mile appeal.

Iain Beaton, a member of Portree lifeboat, was enjoying that post-lockdown highlight, a trip to the hairdresser, when his pager sounded one day last summer.

Iain, a builder who has 10 years’ lifeboat service in two separate stints, said: “I hadn’t had a haircut in months and I was desperately looking forward to it. I had not long sat down in the salon in Portree and was getting my hair washed when my pager went off.

“I just sprinted out the door with the cape still on and my head full of shampoo – you don’t think when you get a shout, you just go. Morven the hairdresser didn’t know what had happened and I certainly got a lot of funny looks running down the pier!

“We went to the aid of two women who had got cut off by the tide at the back of Raasay, and they kept looking at me. Needless to say I got endless ribbing from the crew. I’m just glad Morven hadn’t started cutting or I would have looked even stranger. Morven came up to the house the next day so I did eventually get that haircut.”

The RNLI is preparing for a busy summer with more families than ever expected to opt for holidays in the UK because of the pandemic. Many of them will be heading to the coast.

To keep lifesavers kitted out and trained it has launched the Mayday Mile which encourages folk to cover a one-mile distance, be it walking, running, swimming, skating or cycling, to help raise funds.

For people who want to ‘answer the call’ themselves, go to and find out how to make a donation or hold a socially-distanced sponsored event.