Tuesday, 27 December 2016

South Shields to Roker Pier - Tyne and Wear 23 Dec 2016.

South Shields to Roker Pier
Tyne and Wear
Distance 25km 
Friday 23 December 2016

It has been some time since I last did this walk, I would look at taking different photos from the last walk here. Then I thought some of the same photos would be good just to see if anything has changed. Again I took too many photos, too many to include them all in here.  I started in the same place as my last walk here, the Lawe Top at the Arbeia Roman Fort. It was still dark when I started today's walk but this would put me in a good place to catch the sunrise. I headed north to the road that I could follow round east towards the two old beacons.  

I dropped down through the park passed the old Pilot’s house and down some steps, crossing the road, walking towards the figures near the Little Haven Hotel. 

I turned left, north up the path near the hotel onto the Groyne. Light and colour was coming up from the sunrise to the south.  

After taking a few pictures, I returned to the sand and followed the low tide water line south towards the pier.  

It was very cold today.  I walked from the beach up to the promenade at the start of the pier. As I approached the pier gates I found them locked. Probably in preparation for Storm Barbara due later today. 

I took the three or four steps down off the pier onto the beach and worked my way round the stones and grass onto the sand near the waters edge. I walked along the waters edge and was rewarded with the brilliant sunrise below, the way the colours reflected off the wet sand was amazing.

On reaching Trow Rocks I met a couple who had come down to catch the sunrise unfortunately they had a drama at home which meant they left the camera on the table in their rush out. Shame as it had been stunning. I had taken a few photos but have shown only one here.

I walked up to the gun and took a few photos. 

Returning to the path I moved south, last time I walked here I had been stopped and asked about an owl that had been living on the cliff face in the area.  I had a look but there is so many places on the rock face where it could have nested. 

At the top of the path I continued south along the coast line beside the Leas. I followed the cliff edge where I could walk safely as it twists and turns in and out, Frenchman's Bay and Man Haven Bay. I took the path down to the beach that leads to Marsden Sands. The tide was in, so after a few photos I walked back up to the cliff top and continued along the path by the safety rail. 

From here I could see along Marsden Sands to a stone pillar called Lot's Wife and the famous Marsden Rock.

The path drops down slightly to cross a path that leads down another way to Marsden Sands, before climbing slightly back to the cliff path.

Continuing south passed the Marsden Grotto pubs lift, to follow the safety rail towards Souter lighthouse. 

The sun light was bright and low, no sign of storm Barbara yet but I could feel the wind picking up a little. I passed the area where there used to be a carpark. 

Down the safety rail to Lizard Point. The sea was starting to pick up a few white caps.

I continued south along the safety rail as it drops down to Byer's Hole. Following the rail up to the top I continued along the rail around the cliff edge until it rejoins the path. Following the wall towards the bird watchers hut and the disused Whitburn rifle range. Walking along the path the wind was becoming stronger.

It was not until I reached the gate which was tied up at the far end of the range that I realised I must have crossed a barrier showing the footpath was closed due to erosion and that repairs were going to take place. There were quite a few people about, having to turn round.

I continued along the top and dropped down to the sand and walked along high up the beach until it joined the promenade. I could see a lot of work had been completed since I last walked here.

A Fat Buddha was there above new toilets.

I walked along the promenade and could see the tide was in on Roker beach so took the steps up to the high path and walked passed the Coast Guard station near St Bede’s Cross. 

I took the first path down to another promenade that goes to the start of the Sunderland pier. 

As with Shields pier the Sunderland pier gate was closed. I had a short break with my sandwiches and a cold cup of tea. 

After a few photos I retraced my steps, before I had left the Roker promenade I could see waves crashing over the Parson's Rocks onto the other promenade where I was heading.

As the path was closed on the east side of the old ranges. I continued north from Whitburn Sands onto the road and through the village, passing the windmill.   

Before taking the footpath east back to the cliff path.

I followed the cliff path back the way I had come. 

From here Lizard Point looks more like an elephant.

I dropped down to Byer's Hole to take a few photos, now the tide was out.

Following the safety rail north to Lizard Point, I could still see an elephant.

Continuing by the safety rail towards Marsden, passing the closed disused now partly broken up carpark, I could feel the starting of a few drops of rain. The wind was coming in strong gusts so I started moving a little further from the edge.

I was looking to see if I could get around Marsden Sands. It looked clear so I went down the steps to Marsden Grotto. At the bottom of the steps I turned left onto the sand and continued north. At the top of the sand I took the track back up to the path on the Leas.

The rain was on and off as the wind increase as I moved alone the cliff edge, the same route as I had taken out. I took the path that lead along to Trow Rocks.

From Trow Rocks I dropped down to the beach and walked along the sand back towards the piers. As I was approaching the pier the light started up again.

As I expected the gate was still locked on the pier, so I turned and walked back along to the Little Haven Beach.

As I was walking along the Little Haven beach, Storm Barbara was picking up, the wind picked up as was coming in gusts. On reaching the Groyne it started raining. It was very heavy there was no shelter and I was soaked within a few short minutes. Storm Barbara was in full force. It was like someone had tipped three buckets of water over me.

The water was running down my legs into my boots. I had intended on walking to the ferry landing but as the conditions did not improve I took the steps up to the Lawe Top Beacons.

Then back to the car.

I had enjoyed my walk, it had been a good day. I had walked over 25 km, without the piers. A little climb but not enough to be recorded.

More to follow  

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to walk from Roker Pier to Seaham.
Follow link to another walk from South Shields to Roker Pier 10 April 2013
Follow link to another walk from South Shields to Roker Pier 16 March 2013

Monday, 26 December 2016

Monkton to Sunniside, Bowes Railway Path - Tyne and Wear 22 Dec 2016.

Monkton to Sunniside
Bowes Railway Path
Tyne and Wear
Distance 33km Climb 400m
Thursday 22 December 2016

I had walked, ran and cycled the first part of this walk many times going to and coming from one of the many places I have worked. A few weeks ago I came up part of this way with our Little Evie and I saw that you could follow this walk to Pontop.  Today it was all about just having a look and see.

I walked west through Monkton Village and followed the road round to the left. 

At the end of the road the footpath starts, a disused railway line, the Bowes Railway Path. There was no navigation needed, it was just a case of follow the path. Pass a new housing estate on the left. 

Then a number of factory units where the old Monkton Coke Works had been, under a road bridge. Then it is open fields to the right and left. The sun was starting to come up, it was stunning. Cross over the metro line.

Open countryside to the right and left.

Cross over another old railway line and pass a football field and some houses then I was on a road at Wardley. The path leads under the A184, then passes between a couple of housing estates. Unlike most railway lines this is starting to climb gently. At the top the path crosses the A195. This was near where I used to turn off for work. The path drops slightly before starting to climb a little steeper. At the top, the path crosses the B1288 shown on the map as a Roman Road.

Crossing the road I continued up the path. A few weeks ago this was where I became a little unstuck and found this part of the path was unsuitable for a pram. Evie and I had to return to the road but today I could continue up the path. At the track to The Leam I could see across south east to Penshaw Monument

Further east I could see Cleadon Hills, The Stadium of Light and the bridge over the River Wear.

The path continues to climb with fields either side up to the Bowes Railway Museum (140m). I can remember as a child seeing coal trucks like these, from our bedroom window, as they were moved up and down the line at Westoe. 

When I was at the Bowes Railway Museum, with Our Evie a few weeks ago I saw you could follow the line to Pontop, a bit further than I would get today but I would have a look.

I followed the road a little way before turning right onto the path again. The path twists and turns a little here before it follows an old railway line to Eighton Banks.

Following the path along the line I reached, The Engine Room. Walking a little up the road I took a picture of the Angel of the North. This was as far as I had come with Our Evie.

Today after a cup of tea I crossed the road onto the footpath across from the Engine Room. This took me down by a couple of fields to a footpath track by the A1.

Following the footpath left, south east I dropped down some steps back onto the Bowes Railway Path. This is a path that is heading down hill and crosses under the A1.

A little further down hill the path passes under the A167, the path now has high hedges and in places embankments either side.

Continuing down hill the views open up to fields either side and a small housing estate on the left. Before the path passes under the main Newcastle to London railway line, I could see the Angel of the North behind me now high to my right. After the railway bridge I crossed a stream and was in area called the Lamesley Reedbeds (10m).

The path was continuing west and started climbing again. I passed houses on my right crossed a narrow road as I approached Kibblesworth. Passing the houses there was a couple of sports fields on my right and open fields to my left as the path continued to climb. I was thinking it must have been some feat of engineering running a train up and down some of there gradients.

After crossing a farm road the line turns a little further north west, it was along here I started to see sculptures on the path.

Crossing the road that leads into Kibblesworth I continued to climb slightly.

After just over a km there is another road to cross and the ground starts to level off a little. All along there were magpies and blackbirds. Further up there were chaffinches, lots of birds singing.

Crossing another road beside a couple of houses the path is level, in a few hundred meters it turns into a concrete road by Burdon Moor. This leads directly to the Tanfield Railway (170m).

Crossing the A6076 I could turn right or left, so I turned right. I soon realised the way towards Pontop would have been to turn left, but for today as I was just having a look about turning right was OK. I passed the railway carpark and followed the Tanfield Railway path north as it twisted and turned. I saw a couple of engines steaming away as I passed near the engine sheds.

I continued a little further on, before following a footpath sign to Whickham when I decided I had gone far enough for today and stopped to have my sandwiches at a farm entrance in Sunniside.

After my sandwiches and a cold cup of tea, I retraced my steps back to the Tanfield railway path, passed the spot of an old turntable. The engines were still steaming away at the engine sheds and thought I would have a quick look at the station.  

I returned to the Bowes Railway Path and started back the way I had come. Startling a pheasant in a field, to get a picture over the valley.

Passing a few trees with fairy doors, ribbons and decorations I had hardly noticed these on my way up.

From up here I could see the height and gradient of the old railway.

It is hard to make out the Angel of the North in this picture.

Passed the railway art.

Here you can see some of the down and up of the line.

Over Lambsley Reedbeds, under the Newcastle to London railway line, then start the climb up, passed the Angel of the North.

Below Eighton Banks, rather than follow the footpath I came down on I followed the Bowes path up onto an old railway line. In places I could see the wheels that I presume would have been used on the pulleys to pull the trucks up and down the line.

I followed over the road onto the path, back passed the Bowes Museum, down towards Monkton and Jarrow.  The sun was setting behind me as reached the field where I saw the sun rise this morning to the east.

Then it was the last km back to The Lord Nelson. I had walked approx 33km with approx 400m climb. It had been a good day walking and the weather although cold was dry. There had been a few patches of ice and frost but not enough to subdue the muddy areas. All in all a great day walking.

More to follow

Boz North