Friday, 5 July 2013


Coals to Newcastle
We locked out of the Royal Quays marina and motored up the Tyne in bright sunshine and with a fair tide. This is an interesting journey. There is hardly any of the old heavy industry that made the Tyne famous - I think we saw only one ship repair yard in an area that used to be a centre of shipbuilding. We saw coal being unloaded from a freighter having been presumably imported from abroad.  There are quite a few decaying quays and derelict factories. But there is also a lot of regeneration and new industry. 

Svitzer's tug berth
Notable among these are the fine new floating jetty for Svitzer's escort tugs which has been designed by our sponsors Beckett Rankine to replace an old fire damaged wooden wharf. It was in active use as we passed by.

A Gaggle(?) of Gaffers

After the voyage up the lower Tyne, the city of Newcastle comes as a great contrast. There is the bustle of a busy city centre and the river is crossed by a series of dramatic high level bridges. The Gaffers passed under the 'winking' Millenium Bridge which rotates around a horizontal axis.

There are about 20 gaffers here rafted up in the city centre, dressed overall with many flags. The boats look good, although we wonder what the citizens of Newcastle make of us as they go out on a warm Friday evening. Like us many of them are also dressed up to draw attention to what they consider to be their finer points.

This is our first large gathering of gaffers since Plymouth, since we took a shortcut up the Irish East coast. A busy program of activities has been laid on for us including folk singing this evening. Click here for details.

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