Summer Walk Report No 9, Quay to Sea Cruise, River Tyne - Sunday 27th July 2014.

                                                      

On Sunday 27th July 2014, Morpeth Camera Club had a visit with a difference as we took to the water to sail down the
River Tyne on a " Quay to Sea Cruise ".
Members boarded the River Escapes " Fortuna " passenger vessel, moored on the Newcastle quayside opposite the Baltic
Arts Centre and sat on the outside decks in the warm sunshine. As we waited to sail we had excellent views the busy
riverside area, the bridges, the Sunday market and several boats from a local rowing club training on the calm water.
Soon we were on our way, passengers watching with interest as sirens sounded and stewards cleared pedestrians from
the Millennium Bridge which opened to allow our passage. Travelling a short distance up river our vessel turned to head
downstream on our journey to the coast. As we sailed back under the Millennium Bridge both banks of the river took on
a whole new perspective from our unique viewpoint.

         

Passing the Ouseburn Barrage and the Cycle Hub building on the port side, we continued on around a bend in the river
which brought us to the St Peters riverside development complete with its own marina. On the opposite bank stands the
strangely named Friars Goose boatyard and the Elephant on the Tyne hotel.
Whilst on the river you soon realise that it twists and turns many times as it heads down to the sea, a fact that goes
un-noticed whilst on land. The on board commentary gave passengers information on the history of the river and items
of interest to look out for, as well as a mention for the Camera Club as we ate the excellent bacon sandwiches.

       

Although most of the heavy industry has gone with the demise of the shipyards other new technology's have replaced
them, one example being the huge drums of cable and pipes, destined for the offshore market, lined up on the dockside
ready at be loaded onto ships at the Neptune business park. A ship in dry dock at the A & P yard at Hebburn & the giant
53,000 tonne oil production vessel, " EnQuest Producer " berthed at Willington Quay, showed that repair and modification
work is still carried out on the Tyne.
Crossing the point where the pedestrian and vehicle tunnels run under the Tyne and the ventilation shafts appear on the
skyline, we approached the main working part of the river. The Port of Tyne loading and unloading facility for containers,
bulk cargo and vehicles on the south bank and the passenger ferry terminal on the other. Cruise ships also bring business
to the area and the " Thomson Spirit " was berthed at the Northumbrian Quay providing another photo opportunity.

       
 
The river widened as we passed the shields ferry's and the North Shields Fish Quay, time and tide were in our favour as
the captain of our vessel took us to the mouth of the river between the piers before turning to head back. The views
from this location were spectacular with Tynemouth Castle and Priory, Collingwood Monument and Knots Flats to the right
and South Shields, Littlehaven beach and Souter Lighthouse in the distance to the left. Windsurfers, jet skiers, sailing
dinghy's and ships at anchorage just offshore completed the picture.

        

The return journey was just as good as we viewed things missed on the way downstream. At one point we had to change
course as the " Meridian Ace ", a Panama registered vehicle carrying ship guided by two tugs, loomed above us as it
headed out to sea.
Drinks and snacks on board kept us sustained as the general chat and humour amongst members continued. Aircraft that
were heading to and from the Sunderland Airshow flew past at regular intervals providing further subjects to photograph
as we moved upstream at a leisurely pace.

       

As we returned to our departure point on the Newcastle quayside a passing shower of rain failed to dampen the spirits of
those on board and a final drama when we had difficulty mooring due to the running high tide, just added to the experience.
Thank you to everyone who supported this club outing making it a very enjoyable social and photographic trip.
                                                                                                                                                   Davy Bolam.