All aboard for a history lesson

Robson Green, front, during the boat race in Amble harbour, aboard Amble Coastal Rowing Club's skiff.
Robson Green, front, during the boat race in Amble harbour, aboard Amble Coastal Rowing Club's skiff.

From driving a train on a heritage rail line to rowing a traditional boat – TV star Robson Green meets proud Northumbrians who are keeping the region’s history alive in the next instalment of his popular television show.

The Hexham-born actor pays a visit to the Aln Valley Railway (AVR) and helps build and race Amble Coastal Rowing Club’s skiff during this Monday’s More Tales from Northumberland episode.

Robson Green, front, during the boat race in Amble harbour, aboard Amble Coastal Rowing Club's skiff.

Robson Green, front, during the boat race in Amble harbour, aboard Amble Coastal Rowing Club's skiff.

His stop at the AVR sees him learn more about the enthusiastic volunteers who are working to reopen most of the former branchline between Alnwick and Alnmouth, which closed in the late 1960s.

Construction work started in Alnwick in March 2012 and much progress has been made since, with the attraction hosting short rides for visitors. The aim is to have the railway operational into Alnmouth Station by 2020.

AVR press officer Roger Jermy said: “Robson seemed ever so enthusiastic. Right from the word go, he had a smile on his face. He drove one of our trains and I think he really enjoyed that. He seemed to be impressed with the work that we have managed to do.”

The first few episodes of More Tales from Northumberland have been watched by millions of people and Roger is hoping that the exposure will lead to an increase in visitors to the railway.

Robson Green chats with Ken Middlemist at the Aln Valley Railway.

Robson Green chats with Ken Middlemist at the Aln Valley Railway.

As part of Monday night’s episode, which is the fifth of eight in the second series, Robson heads to Amble to join members of the town’s Coastal Rowing Club.

The aim of the recently-launched, community-minded group is to build its own St Ayles skiffs and use them as a basis for coastal rowing activities.

During Robson’s trip to Amble, he helped build the boat, before joining the team in a race aboard the completed vessel in the town’s harbour.

Club chairman Rob Angus said: “Robson seemed to like the community aspect of our club – the fact it is open to everyone – and he believed that the skiff tradition should be preserved.

Robson Green chats with Roger Jermy at the Aln Valley Railway.

Robson Green chats with Roger Jermy at the Aln Valley Railway.

“He came to see us in July and he helped with some of the construction work of the skiff. We launched the boat in August and about a week after that, he came back and had a race in it.

“He was oarsman number three and he was very good. He was very competitive, he drove us on and he worked hard.”

Of the upcoming episode, Rob added: “I hope it raises the profile of what’s happening here and gets people interested in what we are doing. Once they see how fun it is, hopefully more people will join us.”

During the fifth episode, Robson also heads to Allendale to spend a day working with the Dodd family on Britain’s last horse-powered farm.