Shorebase is moving
The New Year should see the end of the existing Shorebase buildings on that narrow piece of land between the Boat Yard and the Marina car park.
For decades the young people of Amble have been coming down there to learn seamanship, navigation, sailing, canoeing, and lots more. The skills they learnt have taken them round the world in the Merchant or Royal Navy, to jobs in the marine industry, volunteering with the RNLI or Coastguards, working in the fishing industry, or competing for their country in canoeing or sailing.
For over 60 years there has been provision in Amble for teaching these skills, starting with the building of the Collingwood in Harrison’s Boatyard – this whaler was used to teach rowing and sailing in and around the harbour and out to sea.
Merchant Navy specialist training followed, using the school boat – Seaquest – which took groups up to the Forth or down to the Humber.
In the 70’s youth and community work introduced sailing and canoeing, leading to the formation of the Coquet Sailing Club, Coquet Canoe Club and Coquet Windsurfing Club – all with the aim of giving everyone a chance to learn and participate at low cost. Run by volunteers, these clubs all have junior sections and cater for all ages and abilities.
Since 1992 the running of the Shorebase has fallen to the Coquet Shorebase Trust – a charity set up to ensure that reduced educational funding did not lead to the closure of the facility.
But this is not the end of the Shorebase – we are moving from our existing buildings, which are no longer fit for purpose, to a new purpose built building upstream of the Amble Boat Club. Apart from the many advantages of better changing facilities, a more economic building (might even be warm in the winter!) and a bigger compound, we’ll be able to use the upper river more easily, well away from all the other boat traffic coming in and out of the harbour, making it safer for our users and less of a challenge for boats coming in and out!
We should be making the move in late December, and we are intending to organise an open day so that old pupils can come down and have one last nostalgic look at the buildings before they are demolished (assuming they don’t fall down of their own accord first…)
So, a mixture of excitement and regret at saying goodbye to the old site – but the facilities we can offer are going to be a big improvement all round, and we are looking forward to next summer to offer more opportunities for anyone to get afloat.
Only snag – it’s going to be a lot further to walk to the chip shop and Spurreli’s – maybe we’ll need to get a bike!
See you on the water next year.
Manager, Coquet Shorebase Trust