A section of the Port of Blyth is to open to the public for the first time in living memory.
Officials at the port will open one of the secure terminals as part of the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta.
A large area of the South Harbour terminal will open for the duration of the regatta to allow for a greater number of ships to be included in the August Bank Holiday event and to ensure the public can get to see them.
Visitors will get unique access to an area normally closed to the public with the chance to see plenty of what goes on within a working port.
In addition to the historic ships, there will be several naval vessels, a number of RAF helicopters and a host of food and entertainment stalls.
Pedestrians will be able to access the terminal from two entrances – one on Wensleydale Terrace, via the Ridley Park car park, and the other from Quay Road, adjacent to the Blyth Boathouse Restaurant. The Tall Ships located in South Harbour will be just a few minutes’ walk from those hosted on the public Dun Cow and Commissioners Quays.
Chief executive Martin Lawlor said: “Opening our doors to the public is going to be a big moment for us as it is the first time in living memory we’ve done so.
“Obviously some areas will be fenced off to ensure safety and to allow us to continue with some work but we hope the attractions in the open area and the chance to see behind the scenes will prove popular with both local residents and visitors.”
In addition, Blyth Harbour Commission has announced some restrictions to access at the north end of Blyth’s South Beach for the duration of the event. West Pier and some surroundings areas will be closed from 8am on Thursday 25th August until 6pm on Monday 29th August, while access to and from the beach east of the bandstand area of South Beach will also be closed.
Capt Martin Willis, Harbour Master, said: “Public safety will be our number one priority for the duration of the Tall Ships Regatta.
“We would ask the public to respect these closures and understand that they are in place for everyone’s safety.
“Although we understand that the West Pier and the surrounding areas are popular with the public, the risk to public safety is considered too great to have these areas open whilst so many people are in Blyth for the event.
“There are many other excellent viewing locations both within Blyth and the surrounding coastline for all to enjoy the spectacle of seeing these wonderful vessels.”