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 –

 

Moving south and inland to Cromwell near Newark…..

A lovely sunny day, cold but last nights frost had cleared by the morning, a good day for travel. It looks like again we dodged the heavy rain experienced in South Yorkshire and there was much evidence with water logged fields either side of the A1 as we had an easy journey (our longest towing at 113 miles!) being dual carriageway pretty much all the way. We were soon set up in the sunshine at our new home for the next 5 nights.

Over looking a fishing lake it is very tranquil here provided you can block out the low rumble of continuous traffic on the nearby A1! A walk around the lakes and village did us for the day.

A walk along Saltburn-by-the-sea and up Huntscliff to the ‘Charm Bracelet’ sculpture….

Again a rainy night, but a dry and grey day, so all is good. Today we are bound for Saltburn-by-the-Sea and what a delightful Victorian seaside resort it turned out to be. At the far end of the 8 mile sandy beach we have been following for the last couple of days, starting at the South Gare Breakwater at Tees Mouth. The town is set up on the cliff tops looking down on the few houses that make up Old Saltburn and the towering Huntscliff to the south…

And the long beach towards Marske-by-the-Sea and beyond to the north…

Unluckily for us the funicular cliff tramway (the oldest of it’s kind) was not operational today so it was the steps lots of them (both ways!).

We wandered along the beach for awhile (a few too many around for Poppydog ‘off road’) Poppydog happy chasing stones and posing in front of the row of brightly coloured beach huts sitting on the lower Promenade.

Intrigued I decided we would take a walk up and along Huntscliff, a vertical sea cliff of some 365ft at the southern end of Saltburn-by-the-sea Beach.

So up the steps (lots of) we went, pausing to catch our breath and take in the view…

The footpath was pretty muddy and slippery but fortunately quite wide and not too close to the edge of the cliff! Even on this dull day the views out to sea were pretty spectacular….

Intermittently along the cliff edge where a couple of slates, one warning of the danger of crumbling edges and sheer drops and the other a positive ‘We love you’ message – sadly an indicator that not all visitors are walking the cliffs for the view. I met the chap who was responsible for these slates, a retired Coastguard who walks the cliffs every day, checking his signs and generally looking out for vulnerable people, what an amazing man and a simple but lovely idea.

On our way again as so soon the light begins to fade and we arrived at our destination, this delightful steel ‘Saltburn Charm Bracelet’, each charm symobilising a feature of Saltburn’s heritage.

We did in fact venture on a bit further, I do often find that the coastal path is so intriguing that you just have to look arouand the next headland!

And there it was Skinningrove’s secret beach – Cattersby Sands. A place to explore another day, for now though it is time for us to head back for a quick play on the beach and a walk along the pier.

And as we clamber back up the many steps up to the car, a look down onto the beach as day gives way to dusk.

A lot of climbing but a charming resort and a rewarding 7 mile jaunt.

A lovely Autumnal walk along Coatham Sands….

A wet night and a snivelly rain accompanied us on our morning walk which was pleasant! To really seal the mornings fate, Poppydog decided that she didn’t want to get her bed damp so she would snuggle up on mine instead – how kind? Still it dried up during the morning and by midday we were on our way to Coatham our first beach south of the Tyne. Parking along the front was free (from October to April – quite sensible really) and we walked along the Promenade southwards to take a sneak preview of Redcar Sands…

A lovely long stretch of sand as far as the eye can see – we will be back to take a proper look, but today we are walking northwards towards the Tyne and here again sand as far as the eye can see!

Let’s ignore the steel plant at the back if the dunes and enjoy this fabulous almost empty beach.

Poppydog as free as a bird, though quite a bit noisier…

The sun made a fleeting appearance every now and then as we made our way along the beach. Towards the far end of the beach we ventured into the low dunes searching for a footpath across to Bran Sands a beach tucked behind this one on the river. We found a little Marina and could see the rather muddy looking beach beyond but with no obvious access.

We returned through the dunes to Coatham Sands.

Walking to where the beach ended at South Gare Breakwater (protecting the river entrance) before making our way back along the beach as the sun was gradually setting, tingeing the clouds above the Windfarm with pink…

As there seems to be very little dry sand, I imagine this beach more or less disappears at high tide as with the half moon rising over the dunes we made our way back to the car.

A great dog walking beach and lovely 8 mile walk.

From Nose Point to Seaham and it’s beaches…..

A wet night and morning, but we slept in till it stopped – good plan! Don’t get too excited we were up and out by 9. Later we drove to Nose Point, looking down onto Draft Beach, where we were yesterday….

As I have already mentioned this stretch of coastline was pretty abused by the coal industry up until the early 90’s (can you believe that?) and nature is doing its damndest to recover, time will tell but even now it has a kind of rugged charm.

As we walked on down into Seaham, there is quite a bit of industry on the south side (which I guess is a good thing) and evidence of activity in the port – big piles of coal? and scrap metal? Ugly but again a good thing if it means employment.

The outskirts were pretty grim with scrubby litter strewn areas but once you got into town you could see that areas were being regenerated and in some places looking sucessfully thriving. Down by the marina, aside from this sculpture dedicated to the lifeboat crews….

There were a number of little shops and cafes and a nice atmosphere with thus harbour beach a bit of a bonus…

Just beyond the harbour wall is Dalton Burn beach a small stone and shingly sand crescent shaped beach…

Around the headland (Featherstone Rocks) at the start of the Promenade was probably the nicest memorial garden I have seen….

Shortly we were looking down onto Seaham Beach a long beach with a mix of stone, sand and shingle….

We wandered along the lower promenade which judging by all the stones strewn across it is frequently battered by the waves and joined the beach a little further on, out of the reach of the incoming tide.

Too busy with Sunday afternoon walkers and sea glass hunters – from 1850 to 1921, Seaham was home to the largest bottle making plant in the UK, with all the waste glass ending up in the sea and now much sought after (pity the same can’t be said for the coal waste dumped along this coastline too!).

Poppydog and I enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the beach before returning the way we came. The sun coming out and just catching the waves though too low to catch the beach.

The sun also glinting off this sculpture ‘The 3 Pits’ (took a bit of figuring out but essentially the profile of the 3 pits that previously stood along this coastline).

It has a way to go big it is good to see an area coming back to life and made for a pleasant Sunday afternoon 7 mile walk.

A riverside walk for us today…

A wet night and pretty miserable start to the day though fortunately the rain moved on by lunchtime. Not wishing to get caught up in the Friday afternoon traffic (no matter where we go we have to use the busy A19 or A66) we decided to just take a walk along the river. We took the riverside walk along the south side of the river heading towards Stockton-on-Tees. It isn’t particularly an interesting walk as the riverside properties are either new housing, modern University Campus or modern office units, all very boxy in style and even the area built around a sort of mini Venice lacks any charm…

Bridges are in my opinion the only eye catching features….

Never mind a pleasant enough 6 mile walk ending back at the Tees Barrage.

Bearing in mind that we walk along the river every morning and thus is our second extended walk along the river we have only seen the odd canoe using the river – what a shame where are all the other boats?