A life less complicated

Having reached a crossroads in my life I am choosing to step off the treadmill that is my busy life and take time out to travel.  On October 5th 2017 I set off with my Springer Poppy in our motorhome (subsequently swapped for a caravan) ‘freedombird’ initially to explore the remote beauty of the UK coastline and then – well let’s see……

We are compiling a beach guide on our way round: Freedombird UK Beach Guide

To catch up with our earlier adventures in:

  1. Cornwall from 5th October 17 to 11th February 18 –   Freedombird in Cornwall
  2. Devon from 11th February to 19th March 18 – Freedombird in North Devon
  3. Somerset from 19th March – 29th April 18 – Freedombird in Somerset
  4. South Wales from 29th April – 14th August 18 – Freedombird in South Wales
  5. West and North Wales from 14th August – 21st October 18 –

 

From Sandy Bay all the way up to Lynemouth Power Station….

A miserable start to the day and raining lightly all morning but luckily by midday the rain had moved on leaving us with a mostly grey but dry afternoon. The wind has blown itself out, well for today at least. So we set off to pick up where we left off yesterday and parked the car at Sandy Bay Holiday Park (not sure if we should have but hey ho!) and walked down to Sandy Bay, which is the section of beach at the north end of Cambois Beach, the north side of the river Wansbeck.

Plenty of low tide sand but it looks as though there would be very little if any at high tide.

There was no way around the rocky headland so we made our way back up tthrough the caravan park to pick up the coastal path as it meandered along the cliff edge until we made our way down to Newbiggin-by-the-sea. Down onto the long crescent shaped bay of rather coarse sand.

This end was empty so we took the opportunity for Poppydog to have a good run around.

Walking along this beach was a bit heavy going (for me atleast) as it was almost like a fine shingle though becoming sandier as we continued around the bay. Half way along the beach lies this huge rock – the Hunkleton Stone a product of the Ice Age, dragged here from ‘Northern Lands’ many hundreds of years ago.

Behind it on a platform secured to the breakwater in the middle of the bay is the controversial ‘Couple’ a Sean Henry sculpture of a couple looking out to sea – I think it is quite eye catching though would have preferred it to be a bit closer to shore so that you could see it better – however there is a ‘Land Couple’ a much smaller replica a bit further around the bay, just off the Promenade.

It was apparently named as one of the six worst sculptures by London Art Critic Jonathan Jones who clearly hasn’t seen the coal and resin wall at Ayr! I liked it, finding something unexpected and appealing makes me smile!

We continued on our way, around the next headland to Newbiggin Moor Beach a delightful fairly narrow strip of soft white sand. Looking back towards Newbiggin Point…

And northwards towards Lynemouth Power Station….

As you can see the sun has come out as well so we stayed awhile enjoying our space. Time to move on as there is one more beach to find. At the end of this beach we had to rejoin the coastal path which is running along the cliff tops on the edge of Newbiggin Golf Course and soon over the dunes we find Lynemouth Beach….

A mixture of sand and sandstone slabs aand much nicer than the beach on the other side of the Power Station – still time is cracking on so we don’t hang about and make our way back to the car via a more inland route and thereby cutting a few corners as 10.5 miles is enough!

A walk along North Beach and Cambois Beach…..

A clear night and very chilly morning, but what a beautiful day. Today we made the quite significant detour around Blyth Harbour to reach the beaches to the north of Blyth, finding plenty of parking along the front in amongst the narrow strip of low dunes. Firstly we joined Cambois Beach about half way along. Looking south towards Blyth Port….

And northwards…

Not many folk around heading southwards so that is the way we went and Poppydog true to form was off!…

After about a mile we scrambled over a rocky section onto North Beach, Blyth.

The sand was gradually disappearing under the tide but still enough for us to sstretch our legs!

One Happy Pup!

After a while we made our way back along the beach to where we started and then carried on to explore the northern half of the beach. As before this was busier and Poppydog had to go back on the lead.

There was some kind of fishing competition taking place along the waters edge and dogs everywhere so at the end of the beach (where the river Wansbeck crosses the beach) we decided to return to the car along the coastal path up above.

A fab beach, great day and excellent 5.5 mile walk.

From Cresswell Pool to Lynemouth Power Station….

Beautiful sunshine greeted us this morning but unfortunately it was fairly short lived as the clouds rolled in, however for us it stayed dry (and that is all that matters, if we’re honest!) though it had clearly rained on site at some point during the afternoon. We made the journey south again this time to Cresswell, a small village strung along the roadside behind the last if the dunes of Druridge Country Park. As the tide is fully in we followed the coastal path along the cliff tops away from Cresswell heading southwards. The ground was becoming increasingly scrublike with only the distant Power Station at Lynemouth to look at, oh yes and a couple of traveller ponies nibbling away at the grass! Still we persevered and eventually made our way down a little used path to Lynemouth Beach…

Certainly not the most attractive beach, more like coarse builders sand, in fact it did look as though the back of the beach had been excavated and of course an excellent view of the Power Station…

Still Poppydog was not bothered and as we had the beach to ourselves, I was happy to let her career about yelping as much as she liked! After a while we made our way back into Cresswell, once you have seen one Power Station and we have seen a few on our travels, you have no real need or wish to see another! And there tucked away beneath the dunes and the little village of Cresswell a proper sandy beach….

The tide is almost fully in but we clambered down anyways for a little play.

We also attempted to clamber over the rocky headland of Stank Letch Rocks (who?) to get to the Cresswell Links end of Druridge Bay but had to give up part way and rejoin the pathway running through the dunes until…

We made it! This is more like it.

Only 5 miles but plenty of play time and those clouds are looking a bit iffy!

From Brown’s Point to Fish Quay…..

A rather miserable morning greeted us today, with visibility poor and well just grim really, but Poppydog needed out so we had a damp walk to Seaton Sluice and back without being able to see much at all. However by lunchtime the mizzle had cleared through and we drove a few miles down the coast to Brown’s Point where we finished our walk on Monday. Our first stop was the delightful Cullercoats Bay…

A pretty sandy bay, almost totally enclosed with reasonably high rock face behind and twin piers protecting the bay from harsh waves – I can imagine that this beach is very popular in good weather (it also has a summer dog ban).

We walked across the beach and up the otherside as the headland is too rocky to walk around and almost immediately we are on our way down onto Long Sands. A much longer and wider stretch of sand, home to a couple of cafes and a busy Surf School, clearly in full session….

As we wandered along the beach, Tynemouth’s North Pier Lighthouse looks dark and moody under the grey clouds, though there is a glimmer of hope in the sky beyond.

Here the rocky headland prevents us from walking around the headland to the next bay – King Edward’s Bay or Short Sands….

A much smaller sandy bay surrounded by high cliffs and a rather steep climb, with a rather trendy fish bar doing a roaring trade perched just above the beach. The remains of Tynemouth Castle and Abbey sit on the cliffs above, though the cliffs are too steep to make yem particularly visible from the bay below.

We continued our walk up and past the front entrance to the castle and down to the North Pier beyond. North Pier is some 900 m in length and as we walked along it, looking back we could see the impressive silhouette of the Abbey ruins.

The lighthouse is beautifully shaped from stone blocks and looks across at its twin on South Pier, on the other side of the Tyne.

No dolphins or seals to be seen from here, so we start the long walk back.

Enjoying the sunshine we continue on our way passing the little stone and sand beach of Prior’s Haven, home to the Tyneside Rowing and Sailing Club.

Past the Lord Collingwood statue standing high above the harbour …

And on to the little bits of sandy beaches, that are fast disappearing under the tide, The Flats of North Shields…

With the rather magnificent sculpture of a fisherman, ‘Fiddler’s Green’ in memory of all the North Shields fishermen lost at sea, both in the past and into the future sitting looking out over the Tyne to sea…

This was our turning point with no more beaches to see until we cross the Tyne and we made our way back through this very trendy Edwardian village (once upon a time) of Tynemouth to catch the last of the afternoon sun on the surfers on Long Sands….

And still shining on the charming Cullercoats Watch House, albeit the beach itself is now sitting in the shade of its cliffs.

A rather lovely afternoon, some pretty fab beaches and a decent 8.5 mile walk.

From Old Hartley to Blyth….

Well it rained all night and was still pretty miserable through the morning but just what we wanted it brightened up through the afternoon with even a bit of decent sunshine towards the end. Today we are walking north from site, avoiding the first mile of the coastal path which we know from experience is very water logged and joining the coast again at Colleywell Bay.

Even at low tide it still isn’t that pretty with only a bit of shingly coarse sand and mostly just slabs of rock bed. We carry on to Seaton Sluice…

A rather abstract harbour designed to flush out the sand and silt at each high tide and keep the harbour functional for the coal industry now long since departed but the harbour is still home to a number of fishing and leisure craft aand looks quite different with the tide in (photos taken on our return)

Crossing over the river we joined Seaton Sluice Sands….

A long stretch of low dune backed fairly coarse sand. Though not busy there were enough walkers and dogs about to mean that Poppydog had to stay on her lead but with 8m of lead to playwith not too much of a hardship!

After a mile or so we had to venture into the dunes briefly to cross a large pipe feeding a stream across the beach….

On the other side we joined South Beach, Blyth and the sun came out to join us….

Here the sand was paler and much finer and separated into sections by groynes, it was also surprisingly much quieter so Poppydog could have a good runaround…..

We walked to the far end, up to and inbetween the sheltering East and West Piers, enjoying the peace and lovely warm sunshine….

And getting a closer look at the East Pier Lighthouse…..

When it was time to return, as the tide had come in significantly we chose to follow the coastal path back through the dunes to complete our 8.5 mile walk.