Seal release planned to make room for busy rescue season

Four seals will be released back into the wild in quick succession in a bid to free up some much needed space at Scarborough Sea Life centre ahead of what is proving to be a busy seal rescue season.

The grey seals rescued earlier this year have now reached the optimum weight to be able to survive back in the wild and the release mission will begin on Monday 12th August as the centre prepares to wave goodbye to Marvel and Master Chief.

Pacman and Daisy will follow swiftly a week later. Both release missions will take place at a seal colony in Lincolnshire.

“We are seeing a high volume of calls about common seals in distress across the coast and within a week, we have two patients in the Seal Hospital” said Displays Curator Lyndsey Crawford.

“Not only are the grey seals ready to be released but we could really do with the space in the main seal pools for what could prove to be a busy rescue season” Lyndsey continued.

The first casualties of the common seal breeding season have been named after ice creams in honour of the warm weather Scarborough is experiencing of late.

Fab and Solero are currently undergoing treatment after suffering a similar fate of exhaustion, malnutrition and viral infections.

The advice to anyone who comes across an injured or abandoned seal pup is to remain a safe distance away, try to stay quiet and call Scarborough Sea Life centre on 01723 373414 with as much information as possible about the condition of the seal and its location.

Penguin chick cools off with first bird bath!

A baby penguin has enjoyed its first cooling swim…after sitting out the heatwave waiting patiently for its feathers to grow. penguin_shower

The sweltering chick could scarcely have timed things better, acquiring its fully water-proof adult plumage just as the thermometer nudged 30-degrees at the Scarborough Sea Life Centre.

Born on May 4th to first-time parents Mavis and Nestor, the newest member of the Centre’s Humboldt penguin colony is the sixth baby penguin born there.

“We were lucky enough to witness his first swim,” said displays supervisor Lyndsey Crawford.

“He stretched out his wings and seemed to be inspecting them. Then he teetered on the edge of the pool for a few minutes as if unsure whether to go for it or not.

“Then he dived in beak first and started jetting around underwater with all the grace and agility of the older birds.

“You could say he took to it like a penguin to water!”

Lyndsey and her colleagues have also set up a shower for the penguins, helping them stay cool when resting out of the water.

“The new chick seems to enjoy the spray just as much as having a swim,” said Lyndsey. “It lends a whole new meaning to the term ‘baby shower.’”

An Easter Parade of crafts for children at Scarborough's museums

Easter bonnets and bouquets, dinosaur egg hunts and dinosaur safaris, and pom-pom chicks will be part of the Easter celebrations from Scarborough Museums Trust.

The Trust is providing its usual school holiday activities for children, but with an Easter twist.

Each weekday throughout the school holidays, including the bank holidays (but not Monday 8th April), there will be creative drop-in activities from 11am to 4pm for all the family at the Trust’s two venues: Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda, the William Smith Museum of Geology.

And on Friday 12 April, the Trust’s resident geologist and Head of Public Programmes, Will Watts, will lead 45-minute guided dinosaur safaris around the Rotunda, starting at 11am and 2pm. The tours will explore the scientific background to the current exhibition Scarborough’s Lost Dinosaurs. Numbers are limited, so booking is highly recommended on 01723 353665.

All the activities are included in the standard entrance fee of £2 (Scarborough Art Gallery) and £4.50 (Rotunda) – under-18s are free. Regular visitors can also benefit from an Open Return Ticket, which costs £9 and gives free entry to both venues for a year.

Pygmies, ravens and mummies – all in a day’s work at Scarborough Museums Trust!

Pygmies, ravens and mummies – all in a day’s work at Scarborough Museums Trust!

From Congolese pygmies to pygmy antelopes, from ravens to rams, from mummies to mothers – they’re all in the Scarborough Collections.

And while it’s not possible to have all the thousands of items in the Collections on display at any one time, the public are welcome to visit and view them – and the easiest way to do that is by joining one of the regular and popular store tours, which resume at the end of March.

The tours will take place on the final Tuesday of each month, starting on Tuesday 26 March. Each tour takes around an hour, and participants are asked to meet at Scarborough Art Gallery at 2pm before heading next door to Woodend Creative Workspace, where the Collections are housed in modern storage facilities in the basement.

The first tour is a general one, led by Head of Collections Karen Snowden, but future tours will be themed, with themes announced as they are confirmed. The tour on Tuesday 30 April will be led by Visitor Services Assistant and keen ornithologist Jim Middleton, and will focus on the birds in the taxidermy collection.

Karen Snowden said: “The Scarborough Collections comprise thousands of objects, ranging from the everyday to the extraordinary. Some items are of very little historical importance; others are of international significance. But they’re all fascinating in their own way.

“Scarborough Museums Trust has two public venues – the Rotunda, the William Smith museum of geology; and Scarborough Art Gallery – and, as with many museums, it’s impossible to display all of our items at any given time. The tours are a great opportunity for people to see things they might otherwise not have chance to.”

The Scarborough Collections is the name given to all the museum objects acquired by the Borough of Scarborough over the years. They are all in the care of the charitable Scarborough Museums Trust.

Places on the tour cost £2 each, and are limited, so booking is essential. To book, or for further information, please call the Art Gallery on 01723 374753.

Vote, vote, vote for the Rotunda, Scarborough

Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum, the William Smith Museum of Geology, has been shortlisted in a national scheme to win a visit from a leading artist as part of the Museums at Night weekend in May.

The Museum, part of the charitable Scarborough Museums Trust, is down to the final four in the scheme, Connect10. Ten contemporary artists submitted outline ideas for an artistic project – museums nationwide then ‘bid’ for the artist which most matched their profile. They were then whittled down to a final four bids for each artist.

The Museum now needs its supporters to vote for it to win a visit from artist Julia Vogl during Museums at Night weekend – 16 to 18 May. Julia’s Connect10 proposal was to create ‘a huge interactive multi-coloured map of a community using 10,000+ vessels (glass, ceramic, plastic, metal, balloons) that can contain water’.

The Trust submitted a bid for her to ‘to create a unique visual representation of Scarborough, fusing scientific data with arresting visual representation and utilising a strong element of public participation. Her concept would be realised as an interpretation of William Smith’s first geological map of Britain (1815), which used hand-painted colour-coding to illustrate different geological strata’.

If the Trust’s bid is successful, the Rotunda will win a visit from Julia to oversee the project, plus £2,000 towards costs.

Scarborough Museums Trust Learning Manager, Holly Hyams, said: “In the run-up to the event we will ask residents to collect both the water vessels and the local rock/soil samples which, when crushed, will create the colour-pigments (echoing the delicate water-colours of Smith’s original map). These pigments will be collected during a series of walks along Scarborough’s coastline.

“The ‘map’ would then be arranged in the Rotunda Museum, whose iconic circular design was chosen by Smith to illustrate the order of rocks on the Yorkshire coast.”

Supporters can vote for the Rotunda to win this prestigious competition at Voting opens at 11am on 19 February and closes at 5pm on 5 March.

The Rotunda faces competition from the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol, and Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery.

The Connect10 competition is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Cheers to fine dining in 2013

Cheers to fine dining in 2013

2nd, 3rd, 9th or 16th March 2013

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is tempting their diners with complimentary bottles of wine for bookings taken for certain days in March.

Paul Brown, Commercial Services Manager explains “The first few months of the year are pretty miserable for most people, so we are offering would be diners a more enjoyable Pullman dining experience with a complimentary bottle of wine per booking to brighten up the gloomy months of February and March, as long as they quote “Cheers13” when booking online or by calling customer services.”

Are you still looking for that ideal Valentines present for your loved one?  Then why not take advantage of this great offer and book a Pullman Dining experience for the 2nd, 3rd, 9th or 16th March 2013 and quote “cheers13” in the comments section of the payment page online or by calling customer services on 01751 472 508.

For more information please call 01751 472508, book online or follow on Twitter @NYMR and Facebook @North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Scarborough Art Gallery – Leighton at lunchtime

Art lovers in Scarborough have the chance to listen to a leading expert discussing one of the town’s most famous artistic sons next month.

Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator at London’s Leighton House Museum, will give the first of Scarborough Art Gallery’s annual series of lunchtime talks on Friday 1 March. His talk, entitled Between Life and Death: Leighton and Clytie, will look at Frederic, Lord Leighton’s, final painting Clytie, which is currently on loan to the gallery from Leighton House.

At the time of Leighton’s death in 1896, Clytie remained unfinished in his studio. The talk explores the background to this final work. What were the circumstances in which it was painted and who was the model Leighton used?  Painted as his health began to fail, why did this subject seem to mean so much to him?

Daniel Robbins was responsible for the major restoration of the Leighton House Museum in 2009 and has written extensively on the history of the house and Leighton’s work. Born in York, Daniel was a curator with Glasgow Museums before joining Leighton House in 1999.

Clytie is on display at Scarborough Art Gallery, along with five of Leighton’s sketches for it, until Sunday 31 March. It was purchased in 2008 for Leighton House Museum with the assistance of a £337,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and contributions from The ArtFund, The Friends of Leighton House and public donations.

Daniel Robbins’ talk will start at 12.30pm and last approximately an hour. It is the first of a series of lunchtime talks on the last Friday of each month until December (excluding April, August and November). Entrance is at the standard gallery fee of £2.00 (concessions £1.80), free to under-18s, holders of The Art Fund’s National Art Pass, and members of the Museums Association, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and engage (the National Association for Gallery Education).

Halfway to Paradise – 50s and 60s rock photography at Scarborough Art Gallery

Are you a rock ‘n’ roller of a ‘certain age’? Did you see the big names in Scarborough in the 50s and 60s? If so, Scarborough Art Gallery would like to hear from you.

This spring, the Gallery is playing host to a touring exhibition of rock photographs from the Victoria and Albert, Museum, London’s. Halfway to Paradise: The Birth of British Rock comprises over 100 photographs by Harry Hammond from the V&A collection, capturing the emergence of British rock. Hammond (1920-2009) was the first great photographer of British rock ‘n’ roll. Starting in the late 1940s, he captured definitive images of virtually every leading British musician.

The exhibition features many of Hammond’s most famous images of leading British artists, including The Beatles, Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey, as well as those of many visiting American artists including Buddy Holly and Little Richard.

The Gallery would like to enhance the collection with local memorabilia from the period, and is asking for local rock ‘n’ rol lveterans to come forward and lend their treasures.

“We’re looking for anything relating to the big artists of the period who played at Scarborough venues like the Futurist and the Spa,” says Scarborough Museums Trust Head of Collections Karen Snowden. “People might still have tickets, programmes, scrapbooks, or articles of clothing – we’d love to borrow them for Gallery visitors to enjoy when they visit the exhibition.”

Anyone who has items they would be willing to lend is asked to contact Karen on 01723 384506 or

Halfway to Paradise: The Birth of British Rock can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery from Saturday 9th March to Sunday 14th 2013.

As well as photos of artistes performing, it provides an insight into the wider music industry – Tin Pan Alley, recording studios, disc jockeys and TV shows such as Oh Boy! The photographs are set against a soundtrack of rock music from the 50s and the 60s.

Born in the East End of London, Hammond began his career as a promising society portrait photographer. During the Second World War Hammond served as a reconnaissance photographer with the RAF. On his return to London he found himself increasingly drawn to the music industry. Using his talent and professionalism as a portrait photographer he began to photograph a new breed of celebrity – the rock ‘n’ roll generation.

Hammond captured the liberal, post-war public attitude that embraced the popular music culture of rock ‘n’ roll and earned respect not only for the innovative way he shot their performances, but also for his respect of his sitters’ private lives. In 1952 New Musical Express (NME) magazine was relaunced and Hammond soon became its primary photographer, taking some of the most famous images of the era and setting the standard of pop photography for the following generations.

North York Moors Railway – February Half Term new updated timetable

Saturday 16th – Sunday 24th February 2013

It only feels 5 minutes ago that the kids were heading back to school after the Christmas holidays but the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is all set for February half term with a fun activity trail between Pickering and Grosmont.

With the help of Tracker Jack, the railway’s mascot visitors that complete the trail sheet will be in with a chance of winning one of 5 family vouchers to visit the railway again in 2013.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is also changing its Grosmont departures to provide a better service for its passengers with a 10:30 departure replacing the 16:30. Danielle Ramsey, Marketing Manager said “the change to the service will allow passengers from Grosmont to make the most of their day out  on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway by providing an earlier departure than the current 12:30 offered.”

The Railway’s station tea rooms will be open and it’s a perfect excuse to stop for a scone and a cup of Yorkshire Tea before travelling up and down the line.

From 13:00 every day during the February Half term take up the special afternoon discount of reduced fares with adults and seniors travelling for £12, children at £6 and a family of 2 adults and up to 4 children traveling for £24.

Trains run every day between 16 – 24 February 2013,  a full day Pickering to Grosmont/Goathland day rover costs Adults £17.00, Concessions £15.00, Children £8.50 and a Family of 2 adults and up to 4 children £34.00.

For more information, please call 01751 472508, book online, follow us on Twitter @NYMR or Facebook @North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Get stuffed in 2013 with a new selection of tasty Pullman Dining Train menus

Stop thinking about your diet and start thinking about the delicious food there is to sample on-board the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s Pullman Dining Train.

The Pullman Dining Train season kicks off on 2nd March with the Moorlander Lunch menu a great way to beat those winter blues.

Gill Brown, Dining Train manager explains “we are delighted to be offering our dining guests even more choice in 2013 with new Italian and French menus and back once again our Murder Mystery dining train where our passengers are encouraged to get dressed up and take part in this dining and theatre experience.”

If the mouth-watering food and scenic journey through the North York Moors National Park wasn’t enough to tempt your taste buds, then the Railway is offering a free bottle of quality NYMR wine with any booking made before 31st January 2013, which might be enough to sweeten the deal.

Offer – Book before 31st January 2013 and receive a bottle of quality NYMR wine by calling 01751 472 508 or visiting customer services in Pickering Station.

For more information please call 01751 472508, book online or follow us on Twitter @NYMR and Facebook @North Yorkshire Moors Railway.