For several years, members of Whitby Civic Society, ably coordinated by Doreen Wort,and now by Geoff Wilson, have helped in a quarterly beach clean. This has been partly for the benefit of local residents and visitors, but also to provide information for international surveys on pollution for the Marine Conservation Society.
In 2006 we were offered the chance to inform and involve the younger generation when a Mobile Road Show became available to visit primary schools, provided there were enough interested in the local area.
Although this has taken over a year because of national demand, the roadshow was worth waiting for. In 2007 West Cliff, Airy Hill, East Whitby and 2 larger schools in Scarborough welcomed an exhibition of marine creatures and presentations from an interesting speaker.
Tony Mok, headmaster of East Whitby, kindly invited representatives from the Civic Society to be present on Friday morning. We joined some of the younger pupils as they were introduced to inflated life-size models of dolphins, whales, porpoises, leather-backed turtles and sharks and learned what these creatures ate.Older pupils would also learn about litter and pollution so we hope future generations will have cleaner oceans and beaches. Many thanks to the Marine Conservation Society and the schools involved.
On a warm July evening, 25 of us visited the Fylingdales radar station. I do not propose to give a detailed account of our tour, but rather to explain just what Fylingdales does, and to some extent how it does it; but it would be churlish not to acknowledge the pleasant hospitality and general friendliness of all the staff we met, and the lively introductory talk given by the station commander, Wing Commander Nicky Loveday.
The primary purpose of Fylingdales is to give warning of a missile attack on us.. us.. being Britain, NATO and the United States, who are all linked together by various treaties. An important secondary purpose is to keep track of the many thousand objects in orbit round the earth, ranging from big things like the Space Station, to the odd lost scraps like the camera some astronaut accidentally released (you do not -drop- things in orbit,there is no gravity there!)
Like all radars, Fylingdales sends out brief but beefy bursts of radio power in a narrow beam, and listens for any echo of power reflected from an object in space. The beam repeatedly swings round the horizon, so in effect there is a -disc of sensitivity- centred on Fylingdales, think of a penny resting on a marble and if anything enters that disc, the radar will see it. This disc is 6000 miles across, so at the edge the earth has curved away beneath it to make the sensitive region 1000 miles up; this is higher than any likely missile, so they do not look any further. Fylingdales is unique amongst the half dozen Early Warning stations around the world in that it scans all round the horizon, rather than just a sector.