Endeavour replica begins first stage of move to Whitby

Andrew Fiddler on board the Endeavour. Picture by Ceri Oakes.
Andrew Fiddler on board the Endeavour. Picture by Ceri Oakes.

Today the first leg of an epic journey began for the replica of one of the most famous ships in the history of maritime exploration.

HM Bark Endeavour, one of only two full-scale replicas in the world of the ship commanded by explorer Captain James Cook for his voyage to Australia and New Zealand, will be moved from its current berth at Stockton-on-Tees to the Tees Barrage.

This initial half-mile journey, which marks the first leg of the vessel’s voyage to Whitby, will involve the Endeavour being towed by two tugs along the River Tees from Riverside in Stockton to the Tees Barrage.

There the 185-tonne steel built ship will be moored and prepared for the next phase to overcome its current landlocked status.

A team of contractors, engineers and divers led by specialist ALE and working closely with the Canal and River Trust, owners of the Tees Barrage, will fit lifting equipment and heavy straps below the hull.

Then a massive 750-tonne crane with a 63m-long boom positioned on Navigation Way at the Barrage will hoist the vessel five metres to clear the top of the lock at the Tees Barrage.

The lift is needed as the channel narrows at the lock gates to a width of six metres and the Endeavour’s hull is nine-metres wide.

The vessel will then be lowered onto the seaward side of the river and towed downstream to A&P for a six-week period of refurbishment and refit.

Andrew Fiddler who led a partnership to bring the ship to Whitby said: “It’s taken a huge amount of preparation and overcoming logistical challenges to get here. Therefore, I’m delighted we are now at the point where the journey can begin and we can move closer to seeing visitors enjoying the on-board experience and discovering what life was like on an 18th century ship.”

Later this year, the vessel will begin the final leg of the journey, a 40-mile tow following the North York Moors National Park coastline southwards to its spiritual home of Whitby, where the original Endeavour was built in 1764.