A walk from Horden to Crimdon….

Another fairly sunny day for us and maybe if not exactly warmer, a little less cold! Continuing our journey northwards we found parking just above Horden Beach.

Sadly Horden Beach is still suffering the consequences of being used to dump waste from Horden Colliery, though there is quite definitely a paler sandier strip of sand above the mid tide, backed by a mix of shingle and coarse sand. As the tide is coming in we decided to continue our walk along the coastal path along the cliff tops. First passing the impressive Denemouth Viaduct nestling in amongst the woods.

This whole section along here is mostly reclaimed from the coal industry and to be fair still has a way to go to be classified as beautiful but under the National Trust management will surely get there! As we headed southwards, the next stretch of beach still catching the low afternoon sun is Blackhall Rock Beach…

Sandier and much cleaner, a fabulous stretch of wild beach. Finally we arrive at Crimdon Beach, the north end of North Sands, where we were yesterday.

This was a very popular beach in the 1950’s packed with day trippers from nearby coal mining villages but today just a few dog walkers out enjoying the weather.

A turning point for us, as the sun is going down and nightfall seems to arrive so quickly and in fact we only just complete this 9 mile walk in the last of the daylight.

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.

A last walk along the Eve Black walk to South Beach, Blyth….

Still grey but at least it is dry today and we even got to see the sunshine later on in the afternoon. As usual the day before travelling we often end up walking a familiar route, doing a bit of pre-travel packing up, a bit of shopping and refuelling. After our chores were done (Poppydog really does not make a great deal of effort!), we set off to walk along the Eve Black walk (the section of the coastal path that runs through the dunes behind Seaton Sluice Beach, between Seaton Sluice and Blyth). We decided to walk along the path as the tide is high and the beach busy and heavy going in the soft sand. We joined the beach at the nice quiet end of South Beach, Blyth where Poppydog could enjoy a lovely roundabout.

The sea a wonderful calm between the twin piers.

The sun is low by now but at least it is making an effort as we enjoy our last day in this area and a lovely 6.5 mile walk.

I have been feeling a bit glum this week at the thought of heading inland next week as I start to make my way homewards so I’ve changed my mind and am going to hug the coast for a little bit longer! This makes me happy.

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!