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?

A cold but sunny walk from Seaton Carew to Hartlepool…

Well this mornings frost can be forgiven as it preceded a beautiful sunny day, a pretty harsh coastal breeze and I think the shorts might be on borrowed time but the sun overrides all. We are too far from the coast to walk but it was only a short drive to Seaton Carew. First though we went on a detour as I saw a road sign for Seal Sands, not showing on Mr OS but hey we’ll give it a whirl!

Ah after driving through several miles of pipeline attached to vast cylinders, huge concrete buildings decorated with massive concrete chimneys and all manner of electric pylon we realise that my idea of ‘sands’ is somewhat different to this sprawl of energy making stuff!! So we about turn and reroute to Seaton Carew….

A long stretch of windblown sand backed by a smallish town of seaside shops and rows of well kept terraces. By avoiding the sea front parking we parked up for free in a small recreation park just off the front and deciding to walk into the wind, set off along the long wide promenade towards Hartlepool. As we left Seaton Carew behind, the land on the opposite side to the sea looks increasingly scrubby (maybe reclaimed industrial land?). The sea is quite rough and the tide incoming so Carr House Sands in Hartlepool Bay as we are approaching Hartlepool are pretty much a hidden treasure as the waves are pounding up to the huge rock strewn breakwater.

This rather attractive sculpture ‘Waves’ made partly from sea glass collected by the people of Hartlepool sits without any grand statement part way along the shore.

Though the sun is still shining brightly the cold wind is blasting down the shore so it was a bit of a relief to reach the rather complex system of piers and enclosed harbour / marinas of Hartlepool. Mindyou thus almost completely black beach within south pier, somehow doesn’t look too inviting!

We wandered around the inner harbours and marinas and it looks as though some money and effort has been made to brighten the place up…

The Royal Navy Museum based around an inner quay looked quite pretty in the sunshine but we couldn’t get a proper look at the old ship which was a shame (ok so I could have paid to go into the museum!).

I’m afraid the rest of the town was looking a bit neglected, plenty of new retail areas but also plenty of original shops boarded up, wide areas of untamed and litter strewn scrubland – sorry Hartlepool, hopefully you will get there.

At this point we started to make our way back along the promenade, the waves by now crashing against the defensive rocks and occasionally catching us with a fine spray and some serious rain clouds lurking out at sea.

Still plenty of sand at Seaton Carew…

And these really cheer you up….

Well if we had any cobwebs today’s blustery 9 mile walk has sent them on their way!

Moving on to Stockton-on-Tees….

An absolute corker of a day, cold but sunny all day. An easy journey for us today, straight down the A19 for about 40 miles and 2 minutes off the road and we arrive! We are staying at White Water CAMC site, which is on the edge of the river Tees next to the White Water Park and were soon set up and ready to explore.

A short walk took as down across the Tees Barrage (a large complicated bridge / dam that protects the river from flooding in either direction by regulating the amount of water flowing into or from the tidal estuary) to the far riverside path. It us quite built up with mostly modern Durham University Campuses and small offices on this side (south) and a growing number of residential estates on the other side. Neither particularly attractive or interesting but pleasant enough for a walk along the wide path. We passed the Infinity Bridge (pedestrian) looking quite spectacular in the sunshine.

We crossed back over the river at the next bridge, walking back along the north side of the Tees taking a wander around the White Water Park in the last of the days sunshine.

It is quite clever and runs off the power of the river or tide – hopefully we shall get to see it in use whilst we are here.

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.