THE 125th anniversary of one of the area's most incredible feats of human endeavour and bravery will arrive at Porlock this weekend.

The rescue boat will be hauled from Lynmouth over Exmoor to Porlock Weir to mark the Overland Launch as well as the 200th anniversary of the RNLI.

The event celebrates the response to the Forrest Hall ship with 18 crew on board being reported in trouble off Porlock on January 12, 1899, during a horrendous storm.

It was too rough to launch the lifeboat from Lynmouth so around 100 people, 80 of who later dropped out on the way, and 20 horses helped haul the 10-ton vessel across Exmoor during a furious gale and in spite of other difficulties.

Once in West Somerset, they were miraculously able to safely navigate their way down the hazardous terrain of Porlock Hill using drag and safety chains on the wheels, before knocking down residents' walls so the vessel could get past.

Despite problems with access, the men finally reached the sea at Porlock after a journey of almost 11 hours, immediately launching the lifeboat.

It took another hour rowing through a ferocious storm. Two tugs arrived to get a rope across to tow the ship and several lifeboatmen boarded the Forrest Hall, which was tugged across the Bristol Channel to Barry, in South Wales, where it arrived safely at 6pm.

The next morning, the lifeboatmen had to row the Louisa back to Lynmouth, although they did get a tow from a steamer for part of the journey.

Following a celebration concert in Lynmouth this Friday (January 12) to honour the 125th anniversary of the Overland Launch, a sponsored haul of Lynmouth’s rescue boat The Gilbey will set out from Lynmouth at 7.30am on Saturday, travelling over the moors to Porlock, to arrive at approximately 3.30pm.

A welcome party will be held at Porlock Weir in conjunction with The Bottom Ship Pub, featuring shanty punk group Skinny Lister, Bridgwater Sea Cadet band and Lynmouth Shanty Crew.

Rear Admiral Peter Sparkes, chief executive of the Taunton-based UK Hydrographic Office will speak at the event.