(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….
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.
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.
We also walked towards Souter Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is owned by the National Trust and well worth a visit. There is a cafe and tours of the light too!
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.
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!
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.
Sand dunes were being regenerated and there were fine views over the Tyne to the piers and castle.
The final stretch of the walk was up to the top of the town and the Roman Fort.
Still bathed in sunlight we headed down for the Metro home, after a final pint in the ‘William Wouldhave’.