FERRYDEN teenager Hamish Murray rounded off his summer holiday recently with the chance of a lifetime, to crew on board a piece of maritime history.
A visit to view the Humber sloop Spider T during its recent appearance at Arbroath’s Sea Fest resulted in a four-day voyage down the east coast to Sunderland.
Launched in 1926, the Spider T was restored in the 1990s by enthusiast Mal Nicholson who now runs it as a charter vessel out of Keadby Lock, near Scunthorpe.
A keen sailor, Hamish (15) heard about the ship’s visit through Montrose Sailing Club.
He said: “We were told she would be coming in to Montrose and if anyone wanted to see it we could go to the harbour. Sadly it didn’t get to Montrose but was in Arbroath. I wanted to see it so went through and was shown round it.
“The skipper said he was leaving the following Thursday morning but had a problem with getting crew and if I was interested I’d be welcome to join them. I was delighted with the opportunity for that.”
After a quick consultation with his parents, Hamish was back on board the night before the Spider T’s departure. The first leg of the trip was to Eyemouth which brought Hamish within sight of one of the coastline’s most famous landmarks.
He said: “We went to about two miles off the Bell Rock so we could get some pictures. It would have been closer but the way the tide was pushing us we decided to play it safe.
“We were overnight in Eyemouth and from there we went to Blyth where we stayed all day and were invited to a barbecue at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club. The following morning we made for Sunderland where we arrived around lunchtime and that was when I regrettably had to leave the boat.”
Although he has been sailing for four years, and hopes to pursue a career in the Merchant Navy, Hamish said he found the experience hard work but satisfying and after only a short time aboard was involved in navigation, passage planning, sail-handling and helming.
His interest and enthusiasm also impressed those already aboard.
Fellow crew member Chris Horan said: “Hamish was a credit to the crew and certainly knew a lot about sailing. We were sorry to lose him and would hope he could sail with us again at some time in the future.
“We hear so many bad things in the media about young people we forget the majority of youngsters have much to offer and Hamish was a gem, always willing to help and willing to face challenges with a smile on his face, may others follow his example.”