SUNDERLAND TO PENSHAW MONUMENT

(As per usual, you should be able to click on the picture to make it much bigger and right click to copy it if you want it for your own use)

It was the bus and then the Metro to start the day and meet up in Sunderland. It was cold and sunny to start, but it looked like a great day as we wandered for breakfast at The Lambton Worm, passing the Sunderland Empire on route.

Sunderland Empire Theatre_1

The Lambton Worm Sunderland_1

We set off and entered Barnes Park’ a lovely renovated piece of greenery in the city and walked past lakes, trees and an Edwardian bandstand. Time for refreshments in ‘The Barnes’, now a Toby Carvery with one of the party sampling the Yorkshire pudding and baguette combo on a giant plate – enough to feed an army! There were real ales and I sampled a Black Sheep to start the day.

Barnes Park_1Start of the walk_1Edwardian Bandstand Barnes Park_1 There was now a gentle climb up a green corridor out of the city and leading us towards our destination of Penshaw Monument.

The green corridor Barnes burn_1

This was thirsty work and we pulled into The Stackyard pub, which served a delicious pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. Leaving here there was more steady climbing until our goal was in sight.

First sighting_1Penshaw Monument was looking good in this bright light and as we got closer we could see more and more detail and the nearby lake.

Penshaw Monument in sight_1

Penshaw Monument_1

Penshaw Monument1_1

We all gathered to the south at a modern folly closely resembling Stonehenge, but did not climb to the to just yet.

Ready to climb_1

It was time to sample the ales in the pretty village pub nearby, surprisingly called ‘The Monument’. It seems that Taylors Landlord is popular around here, which meant I was forced to sample another just to see if it was as good as the last pub and I assure you it was!

The  Monument Pub_1

Now it truly was a case of onwards and upwards! The climb up to the monument itself. I will let the pictures tell the story.

The climb up_1

The climb up2_1

On our way_1

There she is_1

Monument through the trees_1

Finally we were all at the top. Personally when I first came to the North East in 1971, I remember seeing this and on many other occasions, but had never actually walked to the top. Left it a bit late, but got there in the end.

All of us at the top_1

Finally here are some views from the top of Penshaw Monument.

View from the top3_1

View from the top2_1

View from the top_1

Take care everyone and see you all again in the near future hopefully.

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NEWCASTLE TO NORTH SHIELDS

(Left click a photo to make it much bigger and right click to copy if you wish)

We met at the Quayside bar on what turned out to be a breezy, but mostly sunny day. The bar is opposite the Cooperage, one of the oldest buildings in Newcastle.
The Cooperage_1
After a hearty breakfast we gathered on the Quayside to start our walk.
Ready to start the walk_1
It was a lovely morning and enjoy the views as we walked along the Quayside out of Newcastle.
High Level bridge_1

Pitcher and Piano_1

Quayside_1

The Baltic_1

The Old fish market_1

Tyne Bridge_1
A short detour took us up to the new Wetherspoon’s in Byker where some of us had breakfast, or a refreshing drink.
Eventually we carried on walking dropping to St Peter’s Basin and the Marina where I noticed a sunken barge and an unusual office.
Old Barge_1

St Peter's Basin_1
After a refreshment stop we carried on along the Tyne and familiar sights soon materialised reminding us of the ship building industry on the Tyne.
Crane Wallsend_1

Swan Hunter_1

Not all has been lost though, as there were other activities that had sprung up along the river, most impressive was the construction of a new oil rig – on its side so as it could be floated out of the Tyne.
Oil Rig construction_1

Oil Rig_1

Final stop was at ‘The Albion’ a Victorian pub that had managed to survive the changes along the river. Most impressive inside was the wooden part of the bar, which can be seen in the interior photograph.
Inside the Albion_1

The Albion_1

At last we could see North Shields and we made our way to have our evening meal and disperse for home. No ‘Fog on the Tyne’ today!

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Xmas walk 2013

This annual walk seems to come around quicker and quicker each year! The group met up in Whitley Bay and walked along the promenade to Cullercoats. The weather was OK and the forecast rain had not arrived. Cullercoats is always nice and there were a few ships offshore waiting to come into the Tyne. (As usual click on the pictures and there should be a larger one)

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I went to join the group via the Metro to Cullercoats and just caught the last of them entering the Queens Head for some early refreshment in the newly refurbished pub. Still no rain and we made our way down to the start of Long sands.

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We gathered and waited at the end of the sands opposite the Grand Hotel.

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We had got strung out a little as it was hard going on the soft sand.

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I looked down and there was the old open air swimming pool. I was living in Tynemouth in the hot summer of ’76 and the pool was heaving with sunbathers and swimmers. I could still see where I used to lay my towel and sit in the sun…well that was after I had dived in off the board as I tried to rid myself of the dreaded Friday night hangover!

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Just before we moved off I looked back and there was a fantastic view along the sands to Cullercoats.

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At this time of year the light was fading fast and the castle was looking very gloomy indeed.

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Now we were at the start of Front Street in Tynemouth itself.

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There are a lot of new wine bars and Bistros, but fortunately some things never change. There is the wonderful Turks Head, or the Stuffed Dog, as we used to call it in those heady days in the seventies. They had a folk night on a Wednesday too and you could shout “Two bottles of dog and three pints of Ex” and get what you ordered.

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On a Saturday night we were more civilized and after a session in the Cumberland Arms and The Percy we used to go for a ‘sitty down’ meal of fish and chips at Marshall’s. Yes folks it is still there and just as popular as ever!

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After taking all these pictures of Front street premises I was left behind, but fortunately knew where the next watering hole was and it was right opposite – The Salutation Inn.Image.

After a pint of Marley Ale we gathered outside to make our way down towards the river.

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By now the light was fading and the wind was getting up and so it was the end of the photographs. There were some great views over the river Tyne and we headed down and went into our last port of call – The Low Light. This was a quaint little pub with some nice real ales and the premises had been refurbished too. Next port of call was the fish and chip supper and then the trip across the choppy Tyne to the Steamboat, where a few of us may have left ‘All at sea’ !!

Merry Christmas

 

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AUTUMNAL TREES AND RED KITES

Today was a shorter walk due to the nights drawing in and winter taking its icy grip. Strange thing was, it was a mild day and looked like Autumn with lots of leaves still on the trees as we left the Metro Centre after a coffee and breakfast.
We headed along the Tyne and there were Oystercatchers and Redshank giving their warning calls as they flew off from the muddy banks of the river.
We headed inland to Winlaton and then down a track to Winlaton Mill and the Golden Lion – renamed ‘The Red Kite’. There was a nice track behind the pub leading down to a nature reserve and the river Derwent. The sun was setting and gave real colour to the leaves still on the trees. Then to our delight about four Red Kites appeared twisting and turning in the air as they looked for a quick supper before they went to roost. Eventually we returned to the pub for a meal and by then it was dark. Here are a few pictures. (remember to ‘click’ on them to make the picture much bigger).

Someone at sometime must have paid a fair sum for this boat and here it is rotting on the side of the river Tyne
The Rotting ship_1_1

The lane leading down to Winlaton Mill was beautiful.
The Autumnal lane Winlaton_1

Here are some pictures of the nature reserve trees.
Leaves_1_1

Nature Reserve Lake_1_1

Nature Reserve_1_1

Reflections_1
Can anyone spot the Red Kites below?
Red Kite2_1_1

Red Kite3_1

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GILLING WEST CIRCULAR

chaddersatlarge

GILLING WEST CIRCULAR 25TH JUNE 2013
Please left click on all pictures to get the full size and quality – Thanks Chadders!
The walk began in the village of Gilling West and there is ample parking near the church. The walk at first is through fields and meadows that were richly covered with buttercup and clover. There were fields of yellow Rapeseed too. Eventually we got nice views of Hartforth Hall. Passing the hall we arrived at Whashton Bridge and carried on through meadows and fields. Is has been a nice month and unlike last year, we have had a proper mix of rain and warm sun, so everything was green with striking displays of flowers.
Crops3.5_1

Oilseed Rape3_1

Start of the walk1_1

Start of the walk2_1
Flower5_1

Hartforth Hall4_1
Jagger Bridge5_1

Eventually the ruins of Ravensworth Castle came into view. Unusually it was on low ground and near a marsh.
Cockerel9_1

Ravensworth Castle6_1

Ravensworth Castle7_1

The village of Ravensworth is very pretty with a nice pub and village green. It…

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GILLING WEST CIRCULAR

GILLING WEST CIRCULAR 25TH JUNE 2013
Please left click on all pictures to get the full size and quality – Thanks Chadders!
The walk began in the village of Gilling West and there is ample parking near the church. The walk at first is through fields and meadows that were richly covered with buttercup and clover. There were fields of yellow Rapeseed too. Eventually we got nice views of Hartforth Hall. Passing the hall we arrived at Whashton Bridge and carried on through meadows and fields. Is has been a nice month and unlike last year, we have had a proper mix of rain and warm sun, so everything was green with striking displays of flowers.
Crops3.5_1

Oilseed Rape3_1

Start of the walk1_1

Start of the walk2_1
Flower5_1

Hartforth Hall4_1
Jagger Bridge5_1

Eventually the ruins of Ravensworth Castle came into view. Unusually it was on low ground and near a marsh.
Cockerel9_1

Ravensworth Castle6_1

Ravensworth Castle7_1

The village of Ravensworth is very pretty with a nice pub and village green. It also has a famous resident in the shape of Ian Botham, who we glimpsed loading Lidl bags from his 4X4. Here Richard met another friend and this happens now on nearly every walk. There is something about cats and Richard, but he does not even have one of his own.
Ravensworth8_1

Richard and friend8_1

We left Ravensworth, with further views of the castle and now headed up to the village of Kirby Hill. It was quite a climb, but worth it as there is another delightful village at the top with lots to explore and a church dedicated to St Peter and St Felix.
Climb to Kirby Hill10_1

There was one cottage with the smallest windows I have ever seen. The churchyard was very well kept and there were lots of Yew trees planted.
Church Kirby Hil12_1

Churchyard and cottage15_1

Churchyard Yews Kirby Hil14_1

Cottage windows Kirby Hil13_1

Leaving Kirby Hill we headed down now to the village of Whashton and then through an old ford.
The Ford16_1
Eventually we were back at our starting point, but had a few minutes to look at the old church of St Agatha’s and its early nave.
St Agatha's17_1
A wonderful walk in high summer with meadows, history, ancient churches and lovely villages.

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Sunderland to South Shields

(Please left click on pictures for much larger versions!)
The walk for me started with a long Metro journey from the coast, inland and then back out to the sea again. Tyneside is so lucky to have this system, as visitors to my other city, Leeds, will confirm. Making your way in Leeds is a nightmare in the rush hour and it desperately needs a rapid transport system.
Sitting in the Metro carriage, it stopped at Felling and a woman got on with what I thought was a Metro badge on her jumper and walked towards me. I thought it was a metro ‘Checky’ and so got my pass out and showed it to her. She looked at me strangely and sat down. Then I looked again at her badge and it said ALDI on it!! Should have gone to Specsavers!!
From St Peters we headed for the coast and some early refreshments at the Harbour view at Roker. It was nice to see some rigs and ships on the Wear. There was one ship I thought was called the ‘Masked Imposter’!! Once again I should have gone to….
The Masked Responder_1
Ship and Rig on the Wear_1
Rig on the Wear_1
We reached the piers and the marina and so had refreshments at’ The Harbour View’. There were 6 real ales on offer and one called ‘Trouble at t’ Mill’ was particularly good.
The Crew at the Harbour View_1
We marched on along the coast now to ‘The Promenade’ which sold Tetley’s cask bitter and mild. Needless to say it was not as good as that pulled in my Yorkshire homeland. Continuing along the coast and past the shooting butts at Whitburn, the stacks and arches of the ‘Magnesian’ Limestone coast came into view. Now we were walking to the persistent calls of the Kittiwakes and watching the Cormorants flying past taking food to their young on top of the sea stacks. This coastline and its cliffs were alive with thousands of Kittiwakes occupying every ledge with the odd pair of Fulmar which had elbowed themselves into one of the top set of ledges.
Sea Stacks and arches_1

Seabirds on the Stack_1
Seabirds on the Stack_1
We also walked towards Souter Lighthouse.
Heading towards the Lighthouse_1
The lighthouse is owned by the National Trust and well worth a visit. There is a cafe and tours of the light too!
Souter Lighthouse_1
The highlight of the day was the bay where Marsden Rock stands, the giant stack and arches reduced somewhat by a controlled explosion a few years ago. Packs of Cormorants sat on the top safely nurturing their young as we boarded the shaky lift to take us down into the ‘Marsden Grotto’ pub. We sat on the veranda and watched the soaring seabirds.
Marsden Grotto from the beach_1
Hello Sailor_1
At the Grotto Pub_1
Cormorants on the stack_1
Marsden Rock_1
The next part of the walk took us along the beach, past a tall this stack and to the steep path back up to the top of the cliffs where we made our way north towards South Shields!
Kittiwakes_1
Beach Walk_1
The New Ship Inn was a pub that had morphed into a type of Weatherspoon’s – trying to compete with this giant is not easy – but it was ‘Curry Night’! So most of us tried the offer of a Curry and pint deal. Kevin tried the ‘Cut Throat’ six chillies rated deal and I bet he wished he had got the fire brigade instead of a badge for eating it!!
At this point some of the group left for the Metro, while the rest of us continued along the coast into South Shields. I was impressed with the efforts here to cater for visitors and the beach was remarkably clean and inviting, with a nice prom under construction.
South Shields Beach_1
Sand dunes were being regenerated and there were fine views over the Tyne to the piers and castle.
Sailing at Tynemouth_1
The final stretch of the walk was up to the top of the town and the Roman Fort.
Roman Fort South Shields_1
Still bathed in sunlight we headed down for the Metro home, after a final pint in the ‘William Wouldhave’.

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