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.

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!

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.

A boat trip around the Farne Islands….

Well the day started with beautiful sunshine and calm, making me rethink my plan to stash my summer clothes and drag out my winter wear. It also seemed like the ideal day to take a boat trip out to the Farne Islands, so we set off walking from site into Seahouses. Now last time we did this walk we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces but today…

The little strip of sand that runs opposite the site from Beadnell, maybe not a beach you would want to spend a summer’s day on, but great for walking (with or without dog) along to Seahouses. After about half a mile, the beach opens up to Annstead Links Beach (of Seahouses South Beach)….

Fortunately the tide was out far enough gor us to be able to hop over the stream that runs through the middle of the beach, though the next bit is very rocky so we followed the coastal path across the golf course into the village.

A quick look at the little beach just outside the harbour.

All the while I have to say, the day is clouding over and the wind picking up! No matter we get booked onto the 2.15 Serenity tour (catamaran hull – less choppy!) and head down to Seahouses North Beach for Poppydog to gave a goid runaround first.

And we’re off…

It was a tad cold, windy and choppy and Poppydog was not overly sure but the Skipper’s Mate got her a towel to sit on and she somewhat anxiously lay down and suffered the rest of the trip!

As became apparent most of the inhabitant birds have moved on for the Winter which is a shame as I would have loved to see the Puffins (we shall in some other place!) But here are some Shags keeping an eye on us….

Most of the islands – 28 in all at low tide, are not a lot more than large rocky outcrops with thousands of ledges and the memory of all the summer visiting birds in the form of white staining from lots of poo! Staple Island is where many of the 89 thousand Puffins summer…

They just lay their egg on the rocky ledge and it has a pointy end to prevent it from rolling off into the sea! Nature is really fascinating and the Skipper and his commentary was a great source of information – unfortunately though I can’t remember all the facts and which was which! Staple Island is inhabited by NT wardens for part of the year.

We went out to take a closer look at Longstone Lighthouse, once home to Grace Darling….

Well camouflaged amongst the lower rocks where hundreds of Grey Seals and it took awhile to get accustomed to spotting them…

Many of the resting seals are cows getting ready to pup – there was a bumper crop of 2602 pups last year! A few young pups could be seen but not close enough to be picked up on a photo.

The only sandy beach is a small little cove on Inner Farne with the little St Cuthbert’s Chapel (St Cuthbert spent his last years in retreat and died on the island) and original lighthouse (a bonfire on the flat roof of the tower) before the current lighthouse was built in 1825.

Well we are now chilled to the core and it is time to leave the islands in our wake…

Well worth the trip (£14) but would definitely be better from May – mid August when there are more seabirds around. Now a brisk 3 mile walk along the shore back a we try to warm up!

Two thoughts of the day:

Imagine have the job of counting Puffins or Seal pups?

We started the day basking in a warm summer sun and ended the day battling a blustery cold wind!