Robson Green embarks on a voyage of discovery in the third episode of Further Tales from Northumberland, which is screened on Monday on ITV.
During the show, which starts at 8pm, he is shown the ropes aboard a tall ship off the coast of Blyth and joins community choirs at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea which have teamed up to turn the town’s seafaring past into song.
Robson meets Clive Gray from the Blyth Tall Ship charity. The group has purchased and is restoring a 100-year-old vessel, in an ambitious attempt to recreate the 19th-century voyage of local skipper Captain William Smith, who discovered the South Shetland Islands, an archipelago of Antarctica.
Robson joins the crew aboard the tall ship and during his sailing adventure on the North Sea, he climbs high above the deck to check the rigging and helps to hoist the sails. Robson says: “Climbing the rigging is a right of passage for any new seafarer. It is terrifying, but exhilarating.”
The Blyth Tall Ship charity is helping to transform the lives of young people through heritage boat-building and volunteers – including unemployed teenagers and experienced maritime engineers – are working on the restoration project, which is expected to take two years.
Robson says: “It is an ambitious project, but if they can follow in the footsteps of Captain Smith, it would be the perfect way of celebrating the seafaring history of this proud Northumbrian town.”
His next stop is to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea for a sing-song with a number of community choirs who have combined for the Haalin’ the Lines initiative.
Robson says: “This musical project has turned the stories from Newbiggin’s past into song. There are songs which tell tales of tragedy at sea and about the men who toiled down the mines. It is all the more poignant as these stories have come from the mouths of the Newbiggin people and are told in their dialect.”
He learns about Newbiggin’s lifeboat station – which is the oldest operational lifeboat station in Britain – and showcases the courageous tale of the women who, in 1940, helped haul a lifeboat for more than a mile, so it could launch and rescue crew from the stranded vessel Eminent.
He also visits Red Row-based blacksmith Stephen Lunn, whose work is inspired by the region’s coastline.