Across the Tyne to South Shields….

A grey but dry day so we are off across the Tyne to see what South Shields has to offer. After finding free parking behind the long park that backs onto the beach, we cut through and wow a pretty impressive expanse of sand awaited us on Sandhaven.

Volley courts and all, the beach is backed by a wide promenade, gardens and parkland with a few beach bars and cafes along the way. Walking south away from the town we soon entered The Leas a National Trust section of coastline, with good views back along Sandhaven.

Next we came upon the wild Frenchman’s Bay which clearly takes a battering from the sea and is no longer the popular sandy cove it used to be.

Much of this section has seen detours of the coastal path as the edges crumble away into the sea, but it’s ruggedness added to its charm for us. Soon we were looking down on another rugged bay – Marsden Bay.

A bit more popular as the road runs near by with parking up top. A rather unique lift serves the bistro down below.

Back up on the cliff tops we press on to our destination – Souter Lighthouse at Lizard Point (clearly not the Lizard Point but hey!).

Here we stopped for a well earned cup of tea before returning to Sandhaven and continuing along the promenade to Little Haven.

A lovely sheltered sand beach, nestled -behind the Tynemouth Harbour Walls – I would imagine it to be hideously crowded on a nice day in summer but for now, just as the sun is setting it is quite lovely.

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 Whitley Bay…..

Not a particularly cheery day, the sun did try but couldn’t quite muster the energy to break through but it did remain dry. Keen to explore our new surroundings we took our morning walk along the coastal path towards St Mary’s Island….

Which we can also keep an eye on from the van!

We continued along the same path later and as the tide was out, followed the causeway to get a closer look.There are just a few houses clustered around the Lighthouse which sits on a mostly rocky outcrop.

We enjoyed watching the seals basking on the rocks, though they weren’t close enough to capture in a photo before heading back onto the mainland.

We continued along the coastal path which runs along the cliff tops above Whitley Sands, joining the promenade where we were able to get down onto the beach.

At the end of the beach we clambered back up to the cliff top and made our return journey along the top.