Over the August bank holiday weekend the tall ships were at Blyth before setting sail to race over the seas to Gothenburg. This year is the Diamond anniversary of the Tall Ships Race. The first Tall Ships Race was in 1956 and involved 20 of the world’s remaining large ships. It takes place annually and many of the crew are young people who are learning how to sail. The North East is no stranger to the Tall Ships race. Newcastle and the River Tyne has played host to the ships on three occasions, 1986, 1993 and 2005. The ships also visited Hartlepool in 2010.
Having been lucky enough to see the Tall Ships a couple of times previously we were looking forward to visiting them again. The tall ships bring a feeling of festivity and occasion with them and the myriad of sails are lovely to behold. The sight of the tall ships gives a real sense of the seafaring past of the British Isles. The event was popular as thousands of visitors flocked to Blyth to enjoy the live music, food and the chance to see the tall ships.
We have visited Blyth many times. There is a lovely beach there as well as the chance to eat fish and chips beside the sea. The last time we went Blyth had been taken over by soldiers and we had a look round Blyth battery. These are unique coastal defences from World War I and II which are now a museum.
Blyth also has a bustling port which handles 2 million tonnes of cargo a year. Blyth port played a major part in the shipment of coal in the time of the Industrial revolution. With easy access to railways and being near to Seaton Delaval colliery large amounts of coal could easily move though the port to be shipped elsewhere. The port is still busy today and is a base for the oil and energy sector. Seaton Delaval Hall is nearby and is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
While there was no parking near the tall ships, park and ride was available with plenty of space. The buses were frequent and we were soon walking along the quayside. The boats were decked in bunting for the special occasion and the masts made great silhouettes against the sky. A sense of excitement and celebration was in the air. The quayside was crowded and it was hard to get a good view of the ships as they were moored behind fences. They were still an impressive sight.
Our visit to the tall ships at Blyth was on the Monday which was a bright and sunny day. It was a direct contrast to previous day when the rain would not stop. The ships were getting ready to leave that afternoon. There was plenty of hustle and bustle going on aboard the ships as the ropes and rigging were got ready. It must be scary to climb that rigging. I would not like to do it on a dry warm day, never mind when out on a stormy sea. There were plenty of ships all different in size and design.
At the other end of the quayside there were also a selection of helicopters from small sized helicopters to the Royal Navy Rescue. It was fascinating looking inside the helicopters and realizing how small some of them were. We also found a Royal Navy ship which provided a good contrast between past and present. A fairground was also available for kids as well as plenty of food stalls.
It was lovely to see the tall ships in the region again and I hope it is not long until they visit again. Did you manage to see the tall ships at Blyth? Have you seen them when they have visited another port. Let me know below.