FRIDAY 23rd October 2003, 1200 hours. 54.0781 N. 2.8444 W, Morecambe Bay on the West coast of Britain (with apologises to the Great Captain for this Mickey Mouse nomenclature - I blame Brussels, Digital Imaging, three hours of intense concentration, over for another week. Nothing compared to what would be required, on board or up top, in a howling gale in the Pacific oceans at –10 C).
Watering, victualing, and stowage completed. Weather fair, temperature in the teens, winds light and variable WSW. Up anchor, 1301hrs, and gently eased out into the “roads” heading NE, made steady progress to 54.5863N, 1.7348W (Ordnance Survey Map Ref; SD 86800.89613). White Scar caves Ingleton, 1407hrs. Pleasant anchorage, haze clearing, views across the valley to the Limestone outcrops, but picked specifically for its facilities.
Leaving an hour later, by the B6255. Eastwards. Ribblehead viaduct was sighted almost immediately. The 13 arches emerging through the mist, stark and gaunt in the afternoon light. No traffic to day, but diesel engines don’t have the same effect as a Steam hauled, 13 coach train, charging across the empty wild fells belching smoke and cinder, ascending the Long Drag.
Leaving the Railway Inn, beside the station, behind, we altered coarse to NNE for the descent to Hawes. On the busy market day, I think that Funchal would have been seen at a rather more leisurely pace. Provision of Wensleydale cheese (Thank you Gromit) and Ginger wine receipt, were picked up. (Eat your heart out Madeira). Purchases completed, we continued now E on the A684 through brightening weather conditions, passing Leyburn, Bedale and Northallerton. N at Ellerbeck on to the A19 and NNE on to the A172, Stokesley veering N, to our anchorage at 54.5382N 1.2044W. MARTON Hotel at around 1631hours. (The O.S. map ref. is NZ 514669.16191 - an interesting coincidence?)
After stowing gear, contact was made in the bar with earlier arrivals, chair purloined, the circle growing ever wider. The shortage of cooks caused the arrival of liquid refreshment to be a protracted affair, even threatening the evening meal. The lady steward, however pulled out all the stops, and everybody was fulfilled by 1900 hrs with Roast Beef or a large piece of Salmon.
2000 hrs brought the informal get together. GOODIES of every kind were produced, Maps, Wills, Artefacts, Pamphlets. Ian and Ruth presided over a table full of books, manuals and photographs, which were perused by a constant stream of interested crew members. Stock books appeared stamps swapped, even a club, nine-sheet competition entry, was shown. Discussion groups formed, dissolved and reformed as other units. Wills were inspected, goodies exchanged, objects handled. Old friends meet, new friendships made. Yarns told of recent voyages, particularly in the Southern seas, and visits to rocky islands, including St Georges, on St Helena. I’ve no idea what our two ex colonial cousins from America made of it all, but they joined in enthusiastically, exchanging addresses with many. Charlie’s wife hails from the village of Bay Horse, only three leagues south of our own homeport around Morecambe Bay. Hammocks were slung from 2230.
SATURDAY 24th October 2003. Dawn brought scattered showers, which had prevailed most of the two previous watches. Breakfast was served from 0730 on, but 0830 seemed to be a popular time. A good old fashioned English one was on offer but lighter bites, for the Frenchies and points east, were available. However ICED WATER had to be specifically asked for, the sugar was hidden beneath the “Jelly” (marmalade). Tea and coffee was on offer, but I dared not enquire what our visiting American friends thought of the latter.
Formal meetings took place in the refurbished Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Stewart Park commencing at 1000 hrs. This was only a short distance and could be reached without launching the Jolly boat. By 1000 the lecture room was FULL (some crew members missed out on the Goody bags from Ian Stubbs).
The four Chiefs seated themselves preparing for their individual reports: Alwyn Peel, Ian Boreham, Andrew Bardell and Cliff Thornton. (It would be interesting to find the rule which says all officials must Be Bearded.) However it’s a well known maritime tradition, which saves time in the forenoon, besides eliminating self inflicted injury with an open razor, from shaking, cold hands, after a night before, or on a heaving deck in a blow.
Cliff Thornton was invited to officially open the newly completed resource centre. The museum has collected together as much of the James Cook material as possible from the local libraries, museums, et al. With it now all under one roof, research will never be the same again. Cataloguing is still being undertaken, and the facilities are not available on Saturdays; a prior phone call would be appreciated. CCS member Neil Evenett presented a video to the resource centre that shows a complete circumnavigation of New Zealand. Well done to all the Staff who made it possible.
Reports and formalities were soon dispensed with. I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all serving officials of the Society for their hard work on our behalf.
Papers Delivered During The Day
1030 Dan O’Sullivan Cook in Great Ayton
1100 Derek Morris Cook in Stepney
1130 Cliff Thornton Recent research on Wills
1200 LUNCH, in the Museum café.
1400 Joe Wheatley Ships of Cook’s Time
1500 Phil Philo Cook’s Wooden World
1530 Robin Daniels Cook in Marton & dig