Jo’s Monday walk : Tall Ships Regatta at Blyth


You might know that I couldn’t stay away from a Tall Ships return to the north east of England.  I spent 4 happy days admiring them when the race came to Hartlepool in 2010.  This time it was the turn of Blyth, on the Northumberland coast.  I didn’t think you’d object to coming along and having a look over my shoulder.  I can promise you a little fun, and a pirate or two.

Although it’s only 50 miles north of me, and the birthplace of my late Aunt Isa, I have seldom visited Blyth.  I was surprised at the amount of information it generates in Wikipedia.  The name Blyth comes from the river of that name which flows through the town, blithe being an old English adjective meaning ‘merry’ or ‘gentle’.  Isa would have liked that.  Back in her day the town thrived on the industries of coal mining and shipbuilding. During the First and Second World Wars the local shipyards built many ships for the Royal Navy.  Among them, the first aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, in 1914.  Like many another, the town has struggled to reinvent itself for the changing times.  A visit from the Tall Ships is a real coup.

What a thing of beauty they are!  I knew my Dad would be bursting with pride at the Polish representatives.  Dar Młodzieży, The Gift of Youth, is a Polish sail training ship and the largest of the ships present.  It made me smile that comparatively tiny Fryderyk Chopin is the youngest of the Polish Tall Ships.  Let’s stroll along the Quayside and take a closer look.

The British contingent was headed up by Lord Nelson, the flagship for the Jubilee Sailing Trust.  Their mission is to promote the integration of people with disabilities, enabling them to meet the challenge of sailing tall ships on the open seas.   Quite a formidable challenge it seemed to me, as I looked up at all the ropes and pulleys.


Next in line I found Oosterschelde, the last remaining representative of a large fleet of schooners that sailed under the Dutch flag in the early 20th century.  The name comes from the eastern part of the River Schelde, which flows through Belgium and the Netherlands on its way to the sea.

Now I realise that not all of you share my fascination with ships.  Let me just introduce you to a pirate ship and then your attention can wander.  The Shtandart is a replica of the 1703 frigate built by Peter the Great, in St. Petersburg, Russia.  You can imagine the excitement that this one generates, with its swashbuckling appearance.  I think it had the longest queues for boarding.  And where there’s a pirate ship…  “arr, Jim lad!”


In addition to the amazing vessels themselves, every effort has been made to beguile and entertain.  There are fairgrounds, trading stalls, and a grand stage.  An invitation to observe the activities of Port of Tyne includes a wind hub and renewable energies centre, looking to the future.  A band marches smartly past, and I cease the opportunity to ‘guess the number of Lego bricks’.  A minibreak to Amsterdam surely has my name on it!

Strolling on into Ridley Park, I’m glad to see that the children have not been neglected.  Magicians perform their tricks, eliciting broad smiles from the parents and the usual serious attention of the youngsters.  I applaud the dexterity, and cheer along with the crowd.

But it’s impossible to ignore the presence of the great ladies.  Their masts loom on the waterfront and the crowd sways toward them. Some of the ships are open to the public for a few hours each day.  The Polish ships and Lord Nelson have already closed but I still have one option.


My Dutch friend comes with a bonus.  Tethered just behind her is the clipper Morgenster.  When I have looked my fill I can clamber over into the smaller ship.  I’m helped aboard by a smiling crew, and just look at this little beauty!


See what I mean about all those ropes and pulleys?  Morgenster has an interesting history.  She started life in 1919 as a herring lugger named Vrouw Maria.  In 1927 she was motorised and given her current name.  She worked as a fishing boat until 1970, when she was sold and used for sport fishing day trips.  Certification problems led to her being sold again, this time to a Rotterdam singer, who apparently wanted to use her for ether piracy.  Prosecution was unsuccessful but the ship was allowed to degenerate into a terrible condition.  Happily she was bought in 1983 and lovingly restored.  It would not be until 2008 that she made her way back to sea.  The life of a boat!  Many such facts are found in the event guide.

Nothing more to do now than absorb the atmosphere of so many people having a good time.  At the main stage the Irish Dance music has toes tapping.  Mine too!  It was a reluctant farewell from me.

I hope you didn’t mind my little bit of self indulgence.  The event guide has full details, just in case you can make it in time for the Parade of Sail this afternoon.  Torrential rain caused car park difficulties on Sunday but the skies are clear again today.  A cuppa now, I think!

walking logo

Many thanks to all of you who read and encourage me each week, not to mention those who walk with me.   As always I have some great walks to share.  If you’d like to join me at any time, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be very welcome.  Just click on the logo above.


Starting with a bit more of Toronto from Jackie this week.  Quite a big bit, in fact!

High Park

Walking with tigers could be dangerous!  You’d better stay on the bus :

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Violet Sky has some quirky carvings for you this week.  You’ll like them!


Kathrin has a beautiful time spotting elks, and admiring ferns :

Fern Canyon, Humboldt County

This city has been waiting for me eternally!  I’ll get there one day, Biti!

Rome again

The rough with the smooth with Drake this week, and some superb shots :

Quiet flows the River Rhine

A perilously placed chateau caught my eye, over at Denzil’s place :

Modave: A Chateau and a Country Walk

Not so far away, Susan check’s out Amsterdam’s rival.  A good-looking city!

Walking Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Make time for a canalside stroll with Adam and Harriet?  I’ve done some of this one :

Kennet and Avon Canal – Bath to Bradford-on-Avon

And Becky just barely scraped in!  I haven’t even had time to read it yet!

Returning to Wells for an ecclesiastical stroll

Wishing you all a very happy week, and if you can make it to Blyth today I can highly recommend it.  Take care till next time!


  1. Nice tall ship regatta. On this side of the pond, the USS Constitution and USCGC Eagle are the only two tall ships still active military vessels. The Constitution is occasionally taken out though they do not unfurl all of her sails. The Eagle is used by the US Coast Guard to train future Coast Guard officers.

  2. It is last minute, but I just finished a post that would be a good fit for this week’s Monday Walk, Jo. It’s late Sunday night here, so already early Monday where you are – if it’s too late for me to tag along this week, I understand! Regardless, I’ll enjoy your new adventure this week, as well as those of your guests. In case it will still fit in this week, here’s the link to my post: Hope you have a good week! Best, Susan

  3. Hi Jo. Superb pics and text on the tall ships – I saw them when they called at old Hartlepool (I was born on the Headland but am now in Whitby).
    I’ve neglected my own blog (1513fusion) and have just found your comments locked in the spam box – they are free now.

  4. Jo, what an exciting wondrous day out! 😀 You’ve excelled yourself here, fantastic photos and so much information – almost felt like I was there! Oh, wish I was! These ships are something else and the pulleys and rigging look an art to themselves – amazing they don’t get all messed up! Thank you for sharing this special day of the Tall Ships!

    1. It’s great to find another enthusiast, Annika 🙂 Thank you, and yes, it really was a wonderful day. One of my blogging friends, Karen/Kaz, has been sailing on one. Not sure that I’ve got good enough sea legs but what an experience! 🙂 🙂

  5. What a glorious day …all that riggin’ and odd pirate … what’s not to like 😉
    Seriously though Jo what a great spectacle to enjoy , you certainly made the most of it too by these photos . Lovely !

      1. Going aloft is not compulsory on the JST ships, you know. (Though I’m afraid scrubbing the “heads” and washing mountains of dishes are compulsory.) And you don’t need to know what each rope does — just pull the one you’re told to pull.

  6. Such beautiful and historical interesting Tall Ships, Jo. I can see why you are drawn to them. It’s not easy to photograph such large structures, and I think you really did a beautiful job of sharing them with us!

  7. Nice to see all your beatiful photos. If you want to see an interior of Dar Mlodziezy, please watch on YT: “Dar Mlodziezy po remoncie”. 0:07-0:11 shows how big the captain’s lounge is. That shows what unique four big stern’s windows mean. Last year a lot has been refurbished, cadets’ bunks etc. 35 years old bunks, tables were replaced. Dar Mlodziezy – The Gift of Youth – is one of 6 sister sail ships designed and built in Poland: Soviets realizing that Poland has built something so impressive and useful, in 80s ordered 5 such sail ships for their naval academies. All six ships (another are Mir, Pallada etc) are in use however one of them has a troublesome history last years. Greetings from Warsaw.

    1. Hi Wojtek 🙂 So nice to have you here. I’m a huge admirer of the Tall Ships and Dar Mlodziezy was closed to visitors soon after I arrived. Thanks a lot for the information.

  8. They are magnificent, you lucky girl getting to see them. The pirate ship is my favourite and they can swash my buckle anytime 😉
    I like how the street lamp looks as if it’s part of a mast in the first photo and wouldn’t it be fab to climb up to the crows nests?
    I know there have been tall ships down my way a few times, but I only get to hear about it on BBC Spotlight after it’s over.
    Hope you’re doing okay darling, happy Wednesday 🙂

    1. I’m pretty sure I’d be a rubbish sailor and get all my knots in a tangle, Gilly, but I do love being around them. The crews were really friendly and there was a lovely atmosphere. Hanging on to Summer! Quite amazing 🙂 🙂

  9. Such stunning looking ships, Jo. I’m not at all surprised that you couldn’t get enough of them. What an altogether wonderful event. Such handsome pirates too. 😉 The figurehead of the Morgenster is really stunning, but all those ropes and pulleys would have me totally flummoxed. 😀

  10. I’d love to see something like this. I always think that travel by a tall ship would be a very romantic way to journey, but I know the reality of it would be hard graft (unless I was just a passenger with a very comfortable cabin!). Your photos are marvellous and I feel as though I was there with you.

  11. Those ships really are mighty tall. Really makes you dream or at least imagine pirate’s life. I’m surprised nobody tempted to swing on the ropes. 😀 Very nice pictures esp. with the blue sky and some clouds on the background.

      1. If may I added something, Jo, Poland last year completed 67 metres long three-mast sail ship named Le Quy Don for Vietnamese navy. The same designer as for Dar Mlodziezy despite 35 years gone! And an unusual requirement of the Asian navy was to place four platforms for 0.50 machine guns on the deck. “Podstawy pod 4 karabiny maszynowe kal. 12,7 mm”. The guns were added later when the ship was delivered to Vietnam. The ship was equipped with such weapons probably for self-defence against pirates when the ship visits Philippines, Indonesia etc. The sail ship is slow, on engine max. 12kn. So real pirates still exist in the world but not on the route Blyth – Gothenburg.

  12. I LOVED this post – and I am so envious. I am a huge fan of the tall ships and never have enough opportunity to see them! I tour the USS Constitution and Constellation whenever I’m in Boston and Baltimore.

    1. I would have loved to go back yesterday for the Parade of Sail, Noelle, but we were out with walking friends. The TV gave good coverage so I got to wave them off 🙂 🙂

      1. Mine died quite a few years ago but she was from the North East….I had honestly never heard of anyone else with that christian name.x

  13. Jo I think Blyth should hire you on straight away! What a fabulous tour you give and I want to head straight over the pond to have a visit. I think my top pick will be the pirate ship for sure. Is that Johnny Depp by any chance? 🙂 Your photographs show every perspective. What fun for all ages!

    1. I’ve just been watching the Parade of Sail on TV, Sue. Blyth did themselves proud! It’s only a small town but what a welcome they put on. It was a pleasure to be part of it. Thanks, darlin. 🙂 🙂

  14. What beauties! I can admire a ship when I am on the land. And it looks like you had a gorgeous day for it. I’m not a happy bunny today. Damn car bonnet wouldn’t open (needed to put windscreen wash in) then managed to get it open, but it won’t close! I am a woeful mechanic and now fretting as we need to leave next Monday! Do I call the RAC or do I call a garage? This is the time when I need a practical man about the house.

    1. Oh heck! Sorry- just paused a few minutes because the Parade of Sail was being shown on TV 🙂 🙂 We’ve had the same problem with James’ car and we called the RAC. The chap just gave it a good slam and it closed! But you might be as well to get the garage to have a look? Mick says either would do it. Good luck! Report back 🙂

  15. Pingback: My weekly ramble |
    1. Hi Kathrin 🙂 Yes, it’s just 50 miles north of us but takes 2 and a half hours to get to by public transport. Worth every second. 🙂 🙂
      Thank you very much for the link.

  16. RJo – even the description – ‘tall ships’ – sounds romantic, but your photos are more remarkable. We have one that pulls into our tiny harbour every once in a while, and it’s thrilling! I can imagine the excitement of many ships!

    1. Thanks, Susan. We actually have one moored in our own harbour in Hartlepool. It was restored locally and makes me feel proud every time I see her. She doesn’t sail though. Magical to see them all together like this. 🙂 🙂

  17. Hi Jo,
    Thanks for taking me there – virtually. 🙂 But couldn’t you have let me know early enough to fly over and see these fantastic ships in person??!! 😉 I simply love to see them. Makes my old sailor’s heart overflow with joy. Thanks again. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the day so much.
    Have a wonderful week,

  18. I can just see your big smile all the way here, Jo, when you walked amongst these beauties. The tall ships are so big that they don’t even fit in a photo. 🙂 It is an extra treat that the organizers make the visit and regatta an event for all with a lot of other activities. I’m glad you had such an exciting weekend!

    1. The event was bigger when it was held in my home town, in terms of ships, but the atmosphere and entertainment was wonderful, Liesbet. Yes, ear to ear grin 🙂 🙂

  19. I think you must have been a sea-woman in an earlier life, Jo. These ships are magnificent and you had the perfect day on which to see them. A blue sky makes everything look chipper! I would have loved seeing all the sights too. I love those enticing little nooks with their fanciful quotes. And the details of the ships show them to be ever-so-lovingly maintained. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      1. I am still sick, Jo, and just made a doctor’s appointment for this afternoon. I hope she can give me something to help me get better! I’m glad you had such a grand day. 🙂

  20. Absolutely lovely shots. There’s something about all the intricacies of a sailing ship that is completely beautiful – maybe because everything is so perfectly functional. I love the “Morgenster” particularly – all that lovely fresh white. Would you sail the seas in one? And what is it with pirates?? Hugs on a quiet Monday – time ven to scrub the bathroom floor.

    1. I just gawp at all the rope and pulleys, Meg! I think that people in a wheelchair who attempt to sail one of these are very brave. I’m good with them in harbour but I don’t have the best sea legs in the world. (sheepish admission 😦 ) Swab the decks, me hearty! Pirate’s Moll hugs 🙂 🙂

    1. Hiya darlin’. 🙂 🙂 After heavy overnight rain we’re back to blue skies again today. Most unusual for a Bank Hol. The Parade of Sail must have been awesome. I was down on the Moors with the walkers so I’ll have to catch it on TV later. Hope all’s well in your world.

      1. The Moors would have been lovely in the beautiful weather Jo! Mlle in London says it has been over 30 some days there – she’s loving it!! My dad took my aunt for a drive up the Yorkshire Dales on the bank holiday and said it was gorgeous. All well here – dashing out the door for my weekly German class soon! 🙂

  21. Wonderful, so so wonderful. Was lucky enough to have ‘sailed’ on a Tall Ship for four days in the Whitsundays a few years ago. Incredible experience albeit no winds so we were under motor throughout 😦 . . .however one day they did get us to hoist two sails. Well all the girls did the boys were too shy. Four worked on one, and I was given my own. Apparently the one and only sail one person can hoist on their own, but even I struggled with that!!

    1. It must be fantastic to sail one, Becky! I’m not sure how much use I’d be as crew and I definitely prefer calm seas but I absolutely love looking at them. 🙂

      1. If you are ever lucky enough to be in the Whitsundays in late summer or early Autumn then look out for a Tall Ship cruise, you don’t need to do anything apart from enjoy being on board!

    1. Hi darlin’ 🙂 Sorry I’m late getting here. I was out with the walkers on the Moors this morning. Just going to read yours then retire to the garden with a book. The good life! 🙂 🙂 Thank you!

  22. I’m a ship lover like you Jo and once caught the ships in St Katherine dock in London. I found the story of the Morgenster simply fascinating!!

    1. There weren’t as many ships as when we hosted in Hartlepool but the entertainment was well done, Kate. I’ll have to read your link later… walking again! Happy Monday! 🙂

      1. Ooops, accordion….. Alas, I’m not in the least musical other than loving to listen to a good Classical concert… Been enjoying the Proms from my TV and radio… Time was when I would have gone, but the trains into London are a nightmare this year

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