Sheep rescue in Leenan Head featured in new book on RNLI lifesavers

An Inishowen lifeboat rescue features in a new book launched today (Thursday 14 April) which details first-hand accounts from RNLI lifesavers about some of the most dramatic and heart-warming animal rescues that they have carried out.

Saved from the Waves takes the reader on a journey with RNLI lifesavers, as they face a myriad of dangers to save beloved pets, wildlife and livestock.

Among the stories, is the rescue of a young sheep who was spotted trapped on a cliff ledge in a ravine at Leenan Head with no means of escape after it had fallen hundreds of feet. Lough Swilly RNLI volunteers teamed up with a kayaker to save her.

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John McCarter, Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We have had our fair share of animal rescues over the years and on this occasion the young sheep had fallen about 200ft with nowhere to go and was shaking from her ordeal by the time we took her onboard so we were delighted to help. In bringing an animal to safety, our volunteers know they are also ensuring the safety of pet owners or farmers who may risk their own life in attempting to bring their animal safely back to shore so that is important too.’

The sheep was rescued at Leenan Head. Photo: Lough Swilly RNLI

This remarkable book shines a light on the bravery of RNLI lifesavers, and the necessity of these rescues, not only to save animals at risk of drowning, but to prevent people putting themselves in danger when trying to save a cherished furry friend. Each mission requires courage, determination and an unrelenting commitment to helping those in danger.

The new book goes on sale today, Thursday 14 April, with royalties from all sales supporting the lifesaving charity.

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RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘Saved from the Waves is a heart-warming collection of stories which highlights the bravery of our crew when it comes to saving lives, whether that is a person or their pet. As a dog owner, I can identify with anyone who would instinctively head into the water to rescue their pet and we know only too well there’s a chance their fellow humans will enter the water to attempt a rescue themselves. This can and has led to tragedy. As such, many of the rescues featured in this book have indirectly saved human lives.’

Steve Backshall, explorer, presenter and writer, wrote the foreword for the book. He said: ‘I have always been grateful to the RNLI. My career as a wildlife broadcaster and my passion for marine life have often taken me on and in the water around our coasts. To know that there are these skilful, courageous volunteers ready to launch at a moment’s notice is incredibly reassuring and humbling when you’re afloat or diving. I also deeply admire the RNLI lifesavers who are prepared to preserve the lives of animals as well as human beings.

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Lough Swilly RNLI

‘Saved from the Waves is a fascinating range of stories, showcasing how the RNLI’s crews and lifeguards have gone to the aid of all sorts of wild animals over the years, from seabirds and deer to a humpback whale. If you love animals, I know you’ll really enjoy reading this book. It’s also wonderful to know that it will help to raise the funds that equip and train the lifesavers, ready for the next rescue.’

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Saved from the Waves is available to buy from the RNLI online shop It will also be available to order online from Amazon and all good book shops.