A Grand Day Out


Today we visited Woodhorn Colliery Museum. It used to be a working coal mine, but for years now it’s been a museum showcasing the history of local coal mining. I hadn’t been since before I moved to Scotland, (so, a good 27 years ago, at least!), and I looked forward to going with my family, especially as there is currently an animatronic dinosaur exhibit there AND today they were holding a vintage car rally on the premises. As it was a very rainy day, it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss (who wants to waste a lovely sunny day by being indoors, even if it is at a museum?).

We hopped in the car – it’s only about 20 minutes’ drive from our home – and arrived about 45 minutes after it opened, giving us ample time to wander round and take everything in.

We started by checking out the main museum, which charts the history of mining in the area, right through the miners’ strike of 1984, which I remember well, despite only being a very young child. My Dad worked in the pit office, so it directly affected us. It was very interesting checking out all the exhibits and teaching Tadpole a little about the now dead industry that had once thrived. Ashington, where I was born and spent my early years, was once the largest mining village in the world!

By the time we’d worked our way around the whole museum, it was lunch time, so we headed to the cafe. It was a little overpriced, but not excessively so, and the food was pretty decent. When we’d finished, we went outside and found that not only had the sun come out, it was like a sauna out there! It was perfect weather for checking out all the vintage cars that people had brought to show off. My favourite was a beautifully restored Ford Prefect (do you know where your towel is?).

Then it was time to head into the animatronic dinosaur exhibition. This was the only part for which we were charged an entry fee, and although it wasn’t particularly expensive, it was a little bit much for what there actually was. It was good, but there wasn’t all that much of it. And Tadpole was a little afraid of the T-Rex, so it was a bit wasted on him. I was particularly fond of the Triceratops – that was always my favourite dinosaur – and it was lovely to see them all moving instead of being stationary.

Finally, we hopped aboard the narrow gage steam train for a ride. We had to buy our tickets, but they were inexpensive, and who doesn’t enjoy the novelty of a ride on a steam train? This was Tadpole’s favourite part of the day, and it was Choochie’s first time on a train (apart from while he was still in my belly!). The loud squeal of the wheels and the tooting of the whistle didn’t faze him even a tiny bit.

When we alighted after our round trip, we found there was a brass band playing – Video Killed the Radio Star by Buggles – and they were pretty neat, so we bopped our way back to the car and drove home after a grand day out.

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