Day 4 |
Jun 08, 2010

Newcastle, U.K.

By Stefan Kredel, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 54°58’N, 01°35’E

Weather: (partly liquid) sunshine

Air Temperature: 19°C

As planned, we arrived at 06:00 in the morning alongside in Newcastle. I had woken up earlier as we had to go up part of the River Tyne backwards (don’t ask me why, I didn’t really understand it!) and as that is obviously an uncommon direction for a ship, going backwards, it caused some unusual noises and vibrations. Anyhow, I still managed to get enough sleep and when I got up at 07:30, I saw that we were straight in sight of downtown, and alongside. This will be my 3rd time here in Newcastle, and I have to admit that I like the town, with its 7 famous bridges, which are connecting both sides of town along the River Tyne.

In previous years I joined the full-day tour to Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island. It is definitely a great tour with the visits of Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island, the latter only accessible at low tide! Otherwise the causeway becomes flooded!

Anyhow, today I joined a tour to Bowes Museum and Chester’s Roman. Our first stop was the main attraction of this tour. We visited the Museum, which was built in the 19th century by John and Josephine Bowes. This museum has a wide collection of very different things, from paintings, clothes, furniture, pottery, clocks, coins, and many other things as well. Before the tour started we were greeted by the Principle Keeper who gave us a brief introduction to the history of the museum. Then we went for a guided tour through the museum. Before lunch we had some time to see some of the exhibitions in more detail.

After a superb lunch in an exclusive room within the museum, we had a bit more of a guided tour before the main attraction of the museum came into action! The mechanical Silver Swan!!! Every day at 14:00 this mechanical masterpiece of three different clockworks gives a 30-second long show! It was built in 1773 and is the most expensive thing the family purchased at the time.

After this we went back on the bus and drove through the typical landscape of the NE region of England to our next stop, the Chester Roman Fort. It is meant to be the best visible remains of a cavalry fort in Britain! This fort was built to guard the Roman Bridge, next to Hadrian’s Wall, and over the River North Tyne in Northumberland. After an hour exploring the site with all its foundations, including the extremely well preserved steam rooms and bathing areas of the garrison’s bath house and the small but fine museum, we went back to the ship.

Not much time left before the Recap & Briefing started. As Chris, the other onboard geologist, is from Aberdeen, we decided that he covers today the local geology. Robin then explained the plans for tomorrow, which will be for sure another great day in the north of the U.K.!