IAT Presents at England’s Cook Museums

On September 16 & 17, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol was in England visiting the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby and Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Marton.  While there he gave a presentation on the 250th Anniversary of James Cook completing his surveys in Eastern Canada, most noteably in Newfoundland.   In the coming years, James Cook 250 will a unique opportunity for the IAT and partner UK National Trails to promote their natural and cultural heritage across the North Atlantic and South Pacific. The visit began … where else? … checking into the Endeavour pub with accommodations in Whitby.

The pub is located just around the corner from the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, which is housed in the 17th century Walker House on Grape Lane. The harbourside house owned by Captain John Walker was where the young James Cook lodged as an apprentice and trained as a seaman. It has a large courtyard overlooking the harbour, where Whitby colliers were once built and set sail for trade in the North and Baltics Seas. It stands 3-stories, with the ground floor furnished according to an inventory of 1754 and the other two floors containing exhibits of Cook related maps, paintings and other artifacts.

Paul was given a tour of the museum by Sophie Forgan, Chairperson of Trustees

(L-R) Trustee Chairperson Sophie Forgan, Paul Wylezol & Chairman of Management Committee Peter Brown

before giving a presentation in the new reception area adjacent to the entrance. In addition to maps showing Cook’s survey work in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador it also included excerpts from Memorial University of Newfoundland (Grenfell Campus) History Professor Olaf Janzen’s recent paper entitled The Significance of James Cook’s Newfoundland Years.

From Whitby, Paul travelled to the nearby Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Marton. The modern museum is located in Stewart Park near the city of Middlesbrough and was built near the location of Cook’s birthplace cottage. It opened October 28, 1978 on the 250th Anniversary of the explorer’s birthday. It houses a variety of exhibits, from Cook’s childhood and formative years in England to his navy and surveying years in Eastern Canada and three voyages of discovery to the Pacific Ocean. Cook’s five years surveying the vast and remote coastline of Newfoundland is recognized as ideal preparation for his role of leading the 1768 voyage to the Pacific to witness the transit of Venus.

As in Whitby, Paul’s presentation focused on Cook’s time in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador and the 2017 James Cook 250 Anniversary celebration planned by the IATNL and Western Newfoundland’s Cabox Aspiring Geopark, to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. After the presentation and Q&A, Paul went on a walking tour of the grounds with Senior Museum Curator Phil Philo and IAT partner Cleveland Way National Trail Manager Malcolm Hodgson, who helped arrange the visit and presentations. Many thanks to Phil and the staff at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, as well as Sophie, Peter and the staff at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby, for the warm welcome and opportunity to present the 250th Anniversary story of Cook in Eastern Canada.

(L to R) Malcolm Hodgson, Paul Wylezol and Phil Philo

Many thanks also to Malcolm and Memorial University of Newfoundland (Grenfell Campus) History Professor Olaf Janzen for contributing his recent Cook in Newfoundland paper.  We hope to see you all again in 2017! For more on the story, go to love Middlesbrough blog.

16 Days Celebrating Thames Path National Trail

Britain’s famous River Thames, which flows through the city of London, boasts a National Trail called the Thames Path.  2016 marks the Path’s 20th anniversary since its designation, and in July hundreds of ramblers and walkers celebrated by taking part in a 16 day walking relay from source to sea. The commemorative baton was carried over 200 miles and ceremonially passed on each day by local dignitaries.

Mayor of Eton and Chair of RBWM passing the baton to the Lead Rambler

It was a relay that would appeal to any tourist.  From the river’s source, the Thames Path – which like Britain’s other National Trails forms a section of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) in Europe – winds through attractive countryside featuring water meadows, quaint villages, locks and historic towns such as Oxford and Windsor.

The final section takes walkers through London to reach the Thames Barrier, passing famous landmarks such as Hampton Court Palace, Kew Gardens and the Houses of Parliament, the World Heritage Site of Greenwich and Tower and London bridges. A photo gallery has been created for everyone to enjoy.  Steven Tabbitt, Thames Path Trails Manager, was pleased to see so many people take part: “The relay brought people and places together in a celebration of this unique National Trail”.

Thames Path Custodian returns the baton to Trails Manager Steven Tabbitt

Looking north of the Thames, the Pennine Way celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. It was the first National Trail to be designated in 1965 using new legislation that had been inspired by a campaign for public access and enjoyment of Britain’s unique countryside, which in turn was inspired by the development of the Appalachian Trail in the United States.

Wide vista from Pinhaw Beacon on the Pennine Way, first UK National Trail

A lot has been achieved since 1965.  Today, there are 15 official National Trails spreading across 2,500 miles (4,000 km) of the most attractive landscapes in England and Wales. These trails take people over rolling mountains, remote moorland, rugged coastline, tranquil woodland and picturesque farmland. 

The National Trail ‘family’ continues to evolve and look to the future. Currently under development is the the England Coast Path which will encompass the entire English coast by 2020. This coastal trail will become one of the longest coastal walking routes in the world. National Trails are also hosting a greater variety and number of events, ranging from marathon running to festivals and rambles for disabled people in all-terrain scooters. Three Trails can be ridden on horseback or bicycle – The Ridgeway, South Downs Way and Pennine Bridleway.  Everyone is encouraged to discover the UK National Trails to ensure they continue to be valued as part of Britain’s natural heritage.  Plan a visit soon and feel free to donate to the maintenance of these National Trails of England and Wales.  Be sure to visit the National Trails website and follow us on Facebook @thenationaltrails and on Twitter @NationalTrails.