Tyne & Wear

Blyth Tall Ship welcomed home after expedition training

Williams II Tall Ship arriving home in Blyth
Image caption Williams II was cheered home with a parade of sail

A 10-week Tall Ship voyage around Britain to train sailors for a commemorative expedition to the Antarctic has ended with the vessel returning home.

Northumberland's Blyth Tall Ship charity plans to recreate a journey made by Captain William Smith in 1819.

Setting off from Blyth, volunteers have sailed round the country in 10 one-week legs on a 100-year-old boat.

It has now been welcomed home with a harbour party and day of entertainment.

Clive Gray, chief executive of the charity, described it as "an amazing achievement not only for the project but also for the town".

Born in Seaton Sluice, Smith trained in Blyth and found the first land in Antarctica.

A Danish ship was renamed Williams II after his ship Williams, which was built in the town.

Heritage Lottery funding of £777,200 enabled volunteers and apprentices to restore the wooden ketch, Haabet.

It is due to set sail for the Antarctic in August.

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