Tag Archives: Northumberland

Northumberland Ghostly Hitch-hiker ?

Perched on the side of a rural road, a ‘phantom hitchhiker’ gave pals Rob Davies and Chris Felton a spooky surprise.

The ghostly sight of a man all in beige seeking a lift near Belsay in Northumberland left the Gateshead radio presenters in for a sleepless night.

The pair claim the man was dressed in RAF gear as he emerged late at night – and they have since discovered that he was stood close to where an air force jet crashed during the Second World War.

Rob, from Whickham, and Chris, from Birtley, had been out recording a piece on the anniversary of the Battle of Otterburn and were heading home along the A696 just after 11.30pm on Wednesday when they spotted the unusual figure.

Rob, 27, said: “We saw a man standing at the side of the road. We both actually jumped at first because we didn’t see him until very late.

“He was dressed in a beige colour from head to toe. He was sticking his arm out for a lift, but we could not stop in time due to being at 60mph.”

Rob claims the man’s eyes did not reflect the car’s lights and added: “Chris, who was driving, decided to turn around for him but we both agreed that he looked a bit odd. We were two miles north of the nearest village and there was nothing for miles.

“We said we would pick him up if he was real and just make sure he was dropped at the nearest village, and joked he might be a phantom hitchhiker.

“I started filming on my iPhone as it seemed a bit odd. We couldn’t remember how far back he was, but we saw him again and slowed.

“He was dressed in what I can only describe as RAF gear and was holding something under his arm, which looked like a helmet or some kind of bag.

“We had to turn again so we could pick him up.”

However, when they did so…

Full story & photo of alledged ghost at: http://spirit-of-place.boards.net/thread/37/northumberland-ghostly-hitch-hiker

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Viking rowing boat to launch at Whitburn beach

An environmentalist’s dream of launching a Viking rowing boat is to become a reality next weekend.

Bob Latimer commissioned Northumberland boat -builders to construct a traditional St Ayles skiff, a wooden rowing boat designed to hold six people.

Work is now complete and the vessel – the Latimer Ledja – is to be officially launched on Sunday 12 July, from 11am at Whitburn beach.

Mr Latimer, from Whitburn, said:

“Barring bad weather, the launch will take place on Sunday so we’re hoping for a good day. We’ve invited another skiff from Amble to come along on the day.

“After the launch, from 12.30pm to 1pm, we’re planning a half hour ‘have a go’ sessions, when new ‘skiffies’ will be welcome to have a row.”

Between 1pm and 3pm on Sunday there will be a ‘social row’ into the River Wear or north towards Souter Lighthouse and Marsden Rock, after which pasties and cakes will be served.

The Ledja has been made at Boulmer near Alnwick, Northumberland, by fisherman Jeff Matthews and volunteer Ray Angus.

Full story :  http://northstar.boards.net/thread/180/viking-rowing-launch-whitburn-beach

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Prudhoe badger gets makeover

The Badger rockery artwork on the hill at Prudhoe has had a make over done over the half term holidays by young volunteers from the Princes Trust

A team of 12 teenagers have given a Northumberland town’s iconic mascot a much-needed makeover.

The youngsters spent their entire February half-term holiday sprucing up the Prudhoe Badger public artwork, which sits on a hillside overlooking the A695 bypass, adding the finishing touches last week for its official unveiling.

The giant stone and earth creation had suffered over the last two decades from vandalism, theft and the ravages of time and weather, leading the volunteers to offer their help as part of a Prince’s Trust project.

To restore the town’s emblem back to its former glory, the volunteers – aged 16 to 22 – rearranged stones to more clearly resemble the badger’s form, while they repainted the head, tail and stripes in bright white.

The Badger rockery artwork on the hill at Prudhoe has had a make over done over the half term holidays by young volunteers from the Princes Trust 

Money for the project was provided by Prudhoe Town Council, Barclays, Mid Tyne Lions Club and several local businesses, alongside The Prince’s Trust – a charity which aims to get young people into work by giving them new skills and confidence.

Councillor Tony Reid, who represents South Prudhoe for Northumberland County Council, first commissioned the £15,000 30m-long Prudhoe Badger in the early 1990s on behalf of Northumberland County Council, shortly after the A695 bypass was built.

He said:

“I had asked a number of artists to come up with ideas for the hillside and I went with the badger by Gary Power. It was controversial as public art always is, but created a conversation and I liked that. Since then it has been accepted by locals and the town has taken it to heart.

“But the problem is maintenance due to wear and tear, which I have taken responsibility for but over the last couple of years it had begun to look really shabby. It needed some investment.

“I was having no success getting money from the council but then was contacted by the Prince’s Trust, in conjunction with local young people, who had the idea of improving it.

“They have been fantastic and the response since their work is that the badger is looking better than ever. There was also support from local businesses so it has been a real community effort.”

Prince’s Trust team leader Adam Crolla added:

“As part of their 12 week programme, the young people have to complete a community project and they all decided to renovate the badger as something that could use a makeover.

“They all worked really hard and have done a great job.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 21 Mar 2015

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Whitby councillor claims aliens are influencing President Putin’s actions in the Ukraine conflict

UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR

A Labour councillor has claimed Russia’s President Putin is being advised by an alien race.

Simon Parkes told an audience of around 30 people in Wallsend, North Tyneside, that recent hostilities in Eastern Europe are down to extraterrestrial intervention.

Coun Parkes, who has previously claimed he has had ‘hundreds’ of alien encounters in his own life, blamed a group of aliens he calls the Nordics for President Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine.

The North Yorkshire councillor said the Nordics were supporting Putin against percieved American influences in the area.

He said:

“Putin had been part of a group advised by reptiles. Nordics made a counter offer to Putin.

“The technology the Nordics are giving to Putin is on a par with America.

“The Nordics have told Putin he no longer has to toe the American line, hence his resistance.”

The Whitby councillor also told the audience at The…

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Aliens in the home! UFOs sighted across the North East England are revealed

We are not alone in the North if the Ministry of Defence’s records of UFO sightings in the last decade or so is to be believed.

Scores of worried people have filed reports after fearing strange lights in the sky were evidence of little green men – with one person even claiming they’d seen an alien in their home.

Twenty six reports have been made of extra-terrestrial encounters since the year 2000, with fast moving, flashing lights the most common complaint.

These include someone in Carlisle who said “a UFO was seen and there was an alien in the witness’s house,” and in August 2004 at Greenside, near Ryton, Gateshead a report that cryptically says that the report is “only alien sightings above the house.”

Other “sightings” include “a three dimensional diamond shaped object, approx. size of a large helicopter,” at Wolsingham, Northumberland in 2005, and someone that called 999 after seeing an “orange ball shape going across the sky on a flight path” in November 2009.

In May 2003 someone reported a “black orb with five or six tassles underneath it” in Gateshead.

While someone else in Hetton-le-Hole was disturbed by “many lights seen up in the sky” in August 2006.

Some people were sure they had seen a UFO. One person reported “a black triangular UFO” that had three lights on Halloween in 2006.

Somebody else was concerned by “two bright orangey/red lights moving towards Durham Tees Valley Airport.” These lights “flew steady, level and straight”.

One of the more detailed accounts says “a silver pyramid that was rotating at a low speed and off centre” hovered over Sunderland in 2006.

Across the UK there were 1999 UFO sightings looked into by the Ministry of Defence between 2000 and November 2009, when the MoD stopped counting.

Nine people specifically mention aliens or something alien about their UFO sighting.

Elsewhere in the UK someone in Bristol reported that “a big alien craft” landed on their house in 2008. It then apparently flew off towards the city.

In April 2005 someone in Basildon said they saw a spaceship with grey aliens sitting on top of it above a bungalow.

Elsewhere in the North in 2001 brightly lit cone shaped objects were seen hovering and speeding along above Berwick, while in Darlington there were reports of “large number of lights flashing and moving around.”

A witness said: “There was white light – like a broad band and then tight! They made a circular sweep.”

While in Hartlepool in February 2009, someone reported that they “saw four spaceships that flew over the house into the sky.”

They had a bright light that faded and was then gone,” he said. “They returned to the same spot they had come from.”

And even Middlesbrough has got in on the act, when in September 2008, a “large, silent craft” was said to have “had bright green lights and a blue light that was moving quickly through the trees.”

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  11 Oct 2014

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Northumberland island curio goes on show in London

 
The Coquet Island hide and the lighthouse in the background

After months of relative solitude on an island off Northumberland, Wesley Davies has just set off for London.

He is delivering a hide with character, which shelters wardens on the RSPB reserve of Coquet Island off Amble during 24-hour watches to guard against egg thieves.

The hide, which will be re-erected as part of a London festival, mimics the appearance of the lighthouse on Coquet Island.

It was made by award-winning blacksmith Stephen Lunn, from Red Row in Northumberland.

The 6ft by 6ft structure includes a metal wood-burning stove in the shape of a clam shell, also made by Stephen, who is a volunteer on the island.

It replaced a stove in the shape of a puffin, called the puffin puffin.

The disco ball in the hide roof
The disco ball in the hide roof

Since it was built in 2005, the hide has gathered eccentricities, such as a lighthouse top and a glass disco ball.

This reflects the light at dusk and dawn to signal the start and end of the overnight watching shifts.

An old paraffin lamp completes the decor.

The 24-hour watches during the seabird breeding season are necessary because the island is home to the only Roseate Tern colony in the UK.

The hide, which was erected after roseate eggs were stolen nine years ago, is taken down in the autumn and stored until next spring.

But for 11 days it will be a feature of the Migration Festival at The Forge arts and music venue in Camden in London.

One of the festival events will see 11 artists producing work on the theme of extinct birds.

Visitors will be invited to sit in the hide to observe the artists as they create in the Ghosts of Gone Birds event.

Wesley, assistant warden on Coquet Island, said: “What began life as a basic shelter has gradually developed its own unique character and evolved into a work of art. I think it will look very at home in the Forge.

A view of the lighthouse from inside the hide
A view of the lighthouse from inside the hide

“It’s a miniature version of the lighthouse and its character had grown.

“Going to London is a wonderful journey for the hide to go on. It is going to be fascinating for people in London to see it, and hopefully they will love it.”

Chris Aldhous, curator of Ghost of Gone Birds, said: ‘“The Live Art Studio at the Forge offers visitors the perfect opportunity to immerse themselves in the Coquet Island experience, while watching the Ghosts artists in their natural habitat, breathing life back into Gone Birds.”

Charlotte Caird, artistic director of the Forge Venue, said: “The Camden Migration Festival is an exploration into the migration of birds and people through the arts, celebrating cultural expansion but also considering its environmental impact, particularly on bird extinction.

“The bird hide represents the positive impact that man can have on bird populations, as well as being an interesting and rather beautiful piece of furniture, full of weather-beaten stories and a real-life connection to migratory birds and those who choose to protect them.”

The hide’s journey from Coquet Island to Camden has been partly funded by Northumberland Tourism.

It has been a good season for the breeding birds of Coquet Island. The 93 pairs of roseate terns was a 19% increase on last year.

Arctic Terns with 1,464 pairs were also 19% up, and the common terns total of 1.196 pairs was an increase of almost 15%.

It’s been a very good season, with good food supplies and weather, and no disturbance,” said Wesley.

Source – Newcastle Journal, 30 Sept 2014

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Northumberland fort find gets to the bottom of Roman history

A rare find has allowed archaeologists to get to the bottom of everyday life at a Northumberland Roman fort.

What is believed to be the only wooden toilet seat to be found in the Roman Empire has been unearthed at Vindolanda on Hadrian’s Wall.

We are absolutely delighted with the find. The seat has survived because of the fantastic preservation conditions on site,” said Vindolanda director of excavations Dr Andrew Birley.

This site has also produced discoveries ranging from the famous Vindolanda wooden writing tablets and socks, to a gold coin and a gladiator drinking glass.

The seat was discovered by Dr Birley in the deep pre-Hadrianic trenches at Vindolanda. There are many examples of stone and marble toilet seat benches from across the Roman Empire but this is believed to be the only surviving wooden seat, almost perfectly preserved in the anaerobic, oxygen free, conditions which exist at Vindolanda.

Dr Birley said that in the chilly conditions of what was the northernmost limits of the Empire, a wooden seat would have been preferable to stone.

Wooden toilet seat found at Vindolanda

The Roman toilets would have been serviced by running water.

The Romans brought this toilet technology to Britain 2,000 years ago. It was cleanliness to the max compared with what had gone on before,” said Dr Birley.

The seat has been well used and was decommissioned from its original location and discarded amongst the rubbish left behind in the fort before the construction of Hadrian’s Wall started in the early Second Century.

Dr Birley said: “There is always great excitement when you find something that has never been seen before and this discovery is wonderful.

“We know a lot about Roman toilets from previous excavations at the site and from the wider Roman world which have included many fabulous Roman latrines but never before have we had the pleasure of seeing a surviving and perfectly preserved wooden seat.

“As soon as we started to uncover it there was no doubt at all on what we had found.

“It is made from a very well worked piece of wood and looks pretty comfortable.

“Now we need to find the toilet that went with it as Roman loos are fascinating places to excavate as their drains often contain astonishing artefacts.

“Let’s face it, if you drop something down a Roman latrine you are unlikely to attempt to fish it out unless you are pretty brave or foolhardy.”

Discoveries at Vindolanda from latrines have included a baby boot, coins, a betrothal medallion, and a bronze lamp.

Archaeologists now hope to find a spongia – the natural sponge on a stick which Romans used instead of toilet paper, and with over 100 years of archaeology remaining and the unique conditions for the preservation of such organic finds a discovery may be possible.

The wooden seat will take up to 18 months to conserve and once this process is complete the artefact will be put on display.

Source –  Newcastle Journal, 27 Aug 2014

 

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