Robson Green embarks on a voyage of discovery in the third episode of Further Tales from Northumberland, which will be screened on ITV on Monday.
The Hexham-born star is shown the ropes aboard a tall ship off the coast of Blyth and joins community choirs at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea which have teamed up to turn the town’s seafaring past into song.
As part of this nautical-themed journey, the 51-year-old heads to Red Row to meet one of the region’s last traditional blacksmiths, Stephen Lunn, whose art is inspired by the North Sea and the Northumberland coast.
His work can be seen all other the county, including two ornate gates at The Alnwick Garden. His love of the coast is evident in many of his creations, as this renowned craftsman fuses metalwork with pebbles and driftwood he has collected from the beach.
In next week’s episode, Robson and Stephen team up to make the creation – mussels hanging from a rope.
Explaining his passion for the craft, Stephen says: “It is being able to get something which is really hard and austere and then when you heat it up it turns like plasticine putty and you can then manipulate it and it opens an avenue to any shapes you like.”
Before this, Robson heads to Blyth to meet Clive Gray from the Blyth Tall Ship charity. The group has purchased and is currently restoring a 100-year-old vessel, in an ambitious attempt to recreate the 19th-century voyage of local skipper Captain William Smith, who discovered the South Shetland Islands, an archipelago of Antarctica.
Robson joins the crew aboard the tall ship and during his sailing adventure on the North Sea, he climbs high above the deck to check the rigging and helps to hoist the sails. Robson says: “Climbing the rigging is a right of passage for any new seafarer. It is a terrifying, but exhilarating experience.
“There’s many ways to travel across the ocean, but aboard a tall ship, on the North Sea, off the coast of the Northumberland coast – it doesn’t get much better than that.”
The Blyth Tall Ship charity is helping to transform the lives of young people through heritage boat-building and volunteers – including unemployed teenagers and experienced maritime engineers – are working on the restoration project, which is expected to take two years.
Robson says: “It is an ambitious project, but if they can follow in the footsteps of Captain Smith, it would be the perfect way of celebrating the seafaring history of this proud Northumbrian town.”
Robson’s next stop is to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea for a sing-song with a number of community choirs who have combined for the Haalin’ the Lines initiative.
Robson says: “This musical project has turned the stories from Newbiggin’s past into song. There are songs which tell tales of tragedy at sea and about the men who toiled down the coal mines. It is all the more poignant as all these stories have come straight from the mouth of the Newbiggin people and are told in their dialect.”
During his time in Newbiggin, he learns about the town’s lifeboat station – which is the oldest operational lifeboat station in Britain – and showcases the courageous tale of the town’s women who, in 1940, helped haul a lifeboat for more than a mile, so it could launch and rescue crew from the stranded vessel Eminent.
Monday’s show starts at 8pm. Reflecting on the episode, Robson says: “The north-east coast has a proud history. The tall ships at Blyth, the community choirs at Newbiggin and Stephen’s artwork are a wonderful way of keeping Northumberland’s coastal heritage alive.”