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Sea Trip from Whitby to Saltburn: A 150 Celebrations Excursion

“I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, even getting wet now and again from the spray!” says Saltburn resident, Melanie Hood. “The trip was well organised and the crew were really informative and helpful. There was a really good atmosphere on board – everybody appeared to enjoy themselves.” Fifty local people enjoyed the September boat ride,

which was organised by Saltburn 150 Committee member, Peter Davison, after his July trip was sold out. Earlier in the year, he suggested pleasure boat rides as a way to celebrate 150 years of Saltburn history and as he has a boat in Whitby, began to investigate hiring a local vessel.

“It was a bit of a nail biter,” says Peter, “as I knew

that there is a fifteen mile limit to the journeys that pleasure boats can make from their home port and Saltburn is over twenty miles away.” However, by sea, the distance is shorter and Peter was able to ask Bryan Clarkson of Whitby Coastal Cruises, who owns the Esk Belle II, if he would make the trip. At high season rates, it was viable if eighty

passengers were charged £20 for the return journey and the trip was duly advertised for Sunday, July 9. Through advertising in Saltburn and in Guisborough Bookshop, tickets sold like hot cakes. “We then crossed our fingers for the weather,”

remembers Peter, “and overall we were lucky. Although it was very showery at first and there was a dramatic dark sky, it then turned out nice and was very pleasant for the return.”

On the day, the tide was out and it was interesting

to see the full breadth of Saltburn beach. By contrast, the tide for the second trip on Sunday, 11th September was high, so it was possible to get closer to the coast and nearer to Saltburn prom and pier. “Skipper Bryan Clarkson was also able to take us

into Staithes harbour because of the tide,” says Peter. “He provided an excellent commentary and with the other four members of the crew, went out of his way to provide us with a good experience.” The weather in September was more risky,

especially since gales were forecast for Monday, but passengers were pleasantly surprised to be able to sit on deck comfortably for the whole journey. An initial shower gave way to dry conditions and sunshine. The smaller number of people on board on the second trip meant that it was possible to spread out and have unobstructed views for photographs. Almost everyone had a camera and Peter has put some of his photos on the 150 site and on his Facebook page. Also on the trip was David Jinks, who is making an official record of the celebratory events in 2011 in Saltburn. Among the enthusiastic photographers was

Saltburn’s Lesley Luckhurst, who was fulfilling a dream on the Esk Belle II: “Having lived in Saltburn for about forty years, we always wanted to view it and the coastline from the sea, so when we had the opportunity to go on the boat trip, we were delighted. We thoroughly enjoyed it!”

40 She continues: “The best aspects were the views of

the cliffs, seeing where the old alum mines were and sailing into Staithes harbour. The views of Sandsend, Runswick Bay and Skinningrove from the sea were excellent. When we arrived off Saltburn, we were able to approach close to the end of the pier and wave and call to friends and family. From the sea, Saltburn looks very impressive and elegant with all the tall buildings on Marine Parade and the old Zetland and Alexandra Hotels.” A highlight for Peter was the view from the sea off

Saltburn northwards. He was intrigued to see the outline of Cliff House at Marske, Henry Pease’s holiday home, the recently rescued steelworks and Teesmouth. He felt that the boat trip harked back to Victorian times, when excursions were run from the end of a longer pier and our thirty minutes close to its current end was marking 150 years in a unique way. Peter’s family experience of Saltburn also added

poignancy to the trip. He spent lots of childhood holidays in Pearl Street with his grandmother and his grandfather was Councillor Ralph Dixon Davison, Chairman of Saltburn and Marske Urban District Council in the 1920s. The July and September trips were so successful that

Peter and the team are considering running another next year. “But it wasn’t just me doing the work,” he wants to emphasise. “Thanks are due not only to Bryan and the crew for providing such a welcome and a spick and span boat with refreshments, but also to Peter Neal, who looked after the finance and with Wilma Gardiner-Gill worked on the ticketing, getting an electronic booking system working for the second trip. Debbie Whitwell designed the poster and did a good job distributing the tickets for the first excursion and Janice Crombie was invaluable on the days. Michael Morrissey put out crucial press releases for the second trip.”

Would the passengers recommend a trip next year?

Melanie is in no doubt: “I would definitely encourage others to book a seat on the trip, if it’s repeated. Saltburn looks magnificent when approached from the sea!”

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