The Tall Ships in Belfast - Xtra Special Day

Many years ago (around 20) when the children were small, we had been to see the Tall Ships in Delaware.

A few years ago the Tall Ships were at our hometown of Londonderry in Northern Ireland but we were not living there anymore and also could not get there at the right time to see them.

Then when we heard that they were coming to Belfast (30 minutes from where we now live in Northern Ireland), I was determined that I would get to see them.

Well that was planned for last Thursday and yes it did happen as planned.

Everything seemed to be well organized for arrangements for transport and we we chose to drive to one of the Park & Ride locations to then be driven by bus to the docks at the Titanic Quarter of Belfast.

Wandering around looking at the ships from the dock  is enjoyable but who would go to this event without boarding one of the ships if possible.

Well not Fred & I anyway.

We joined a small queue and boarded the Netherlands ship The "Gulden-Leeuw" (Golden Lion)

Quite appropriate for us as we spent over 6 years living in Tervuren, Belgium and had to learn to speak some Dutch while we were there.

Although it was a bit overcast while we were onboard we did manage to get a few pictures.

I suppose I should be thankful that this Mechanical Engineer of a husband of mine did not end up in the engine room which happened one other time we were on a ship (another story to tell).

The ship in the background here is The Europa (The Hague, Netherlands)
and after we got back on dry land we noticed that something was happening onboard this ship but not where they would normally allow people to climb.

A well known reporter for The BBC was filming part of a report.

The BBC Early Evening Programme "The One Show" was going to be broadcasting live from the Tall Ships the following evening and his report would be featured then.

The thing I found most interesting was seeing how he got down from this position safely because of the harness and rope and clip (there is probably a proper name for that but Fred isn't here to help me with that).

When Dan Snow was unharnessed Fred suggested I go up to the same spot and he could get a picture of me.  
My husband thinks he's funny sometimes!

Just noting that there were some more quicker forms of transport around the Tall Ships too which definitely could not be classed as tall. 

Around this main dock there were two markets, one with international stalls and one with craft stalls.

We naturally walked around these and also saw the main stage with musicians, a funfair and another smaller stage with more musicians.

There were some activities for children but we did not see any of the street performers that we had read about online.
I was rather disappointed about this because I felt it would really have added to the atmosphere of the whole event - plus I wanted to see how large the bubbles were that the bubbleman was supposed to be making.

Perhaps they were not there because it was the first afternoon of the Tall Ships visit but the people were there so the entertainment should have been there as well.

Not all of the Tall Ships were moored at this main dock so we took one of the event buses over to Pollock Dock to see some more.

The largest ship here was the Statsraad Lehmkuhl from Bergen in Norway.

You can tell it had got sunnier now and I was able to hide behind my sunglasses.

The HMS Northumberland was moored here too but they were not allowing visitors onboard it.

This Type 23 Frigate was here to lead the Flotilla of Tall Ships away to the start of their races after their stay in Belfast.

Pollock dock was a smaller Dock however there was also a funfair here, a place to eat, another international market, a bar and a few tents which I think was to represent a Viking Village.

Then the thing Fred had been looking forward to - The BBC Zone.

He had a wander round their first tent while I found a seat to wait for him.

In the second tent I thought he was going to volunteer to do the weather forecast but I must say now we know more about green screens and what the weatherman himself actually sees as he is explaining the weather to us.

The third tent had the Daleks.
I got out the camera because I just knew Fred was going to have to have a go at programming the Dalek round a maze - well a few corners anyway.

I decided it would be good to try a short video on my phone camera so if you want to see how Fred managed with the Dalek you can watch it below.

Now apparently it was not Fred's fault the Dalek broke.

The girl explained that it was not programmed as accurately by them originally as it should have been.

So then he had another go

Actually before he had tried we saw two of the Daleks come apart and after he tried it was still happening to others but they were easily put together again.

There were various sizes of Tall Ships here at Pollock Dock as there were at the other docks.

To the right behind the Statsraad Lehmkuhl was the Sorlandet from Norway and then the Guayas from Spain.

To the left were some of the smaller ships.

After our time of much walking we rounded our day off nicely by meeting up with our son and daughter-in-law in Belfast and going out for a relaxing meal.

Yesterday the Flotilla of Tall Ships, starting with The Christian Radich (also from Norway), left the docks at Belfast and sailed up the Lough towards Bangor to the East, then turning to Whitehead on the West.  They eventually proceeded on up along the north coast until they were at the starting point for their races starting today.

We will have to wait now to find out which of the ships win in each of the 4 classes but I suppose we will be hoping that the winner Class A might just possibly be The Gulden Leeuw just because that is the one we were on.