Sunderland to Seaham

A great day for a walk and we all me at Park Lane Metro station and walked through the leafy suburb of Ashbrook. It seemed like summer was here, with temperatures at least 8 deg, but after the weather this March was like tropicana!


There were also some nice Victorian churches.

Ashbook Church

Our ifrst por of call for a ‘coffee’ was the Rosedene and here we all are suitably refreshed!

The Rosedene

We now headed out to the Tunstall Hills. These were remnants of a coral reef in Magnesian Limestone and what a view from the top! That is once we had huffed and puffed up the hill!

Easter Cross Tunstall Hills John looks out to sea Penshaw Monumnet and distant snow

Note the snow on the distant hills above!

But there was one more climb to the very top

Tunstall Hill Trig Point

We descended to the Albion and had a chance to check the football scores, not a good day for Sunderland fans, nor for me as Leeds were getting stuffed as well!

The Albion

We headed off to our main goal of the day which was not at a football ground, but at Ryhope Victorian Pumping station. Here there was a Classic car advertising the rally on Monday – A Ford Consul Classic complete with period fags in the window!

Ford Consul Classic

Times gone past

The Pumping Station

Ryhope Pumping station

Below are the pictures from the pumping station in full steam.

Pumping station wheels Levers at work Old Wash Basin Pumping Engine Pumping Station at work2 Pumping Station at work

Of course non of this was possible without the boiler room.

The Boiler House

Finally we had the pleasure of watching the Blacksmith at work at his forge.

Watching the Blacksmith Blacksmith's Forge Ryhope

Eventually we had to leave and head to the coast, but this was via Seaham Hall, famous for its association with Lord Byron. Any detail about Lord Byron’s life would take another 10 blogs, so it is a point of further research. Here is the Hall

At Seaham Hall

Seaham Hall2

As a footnote to those who listened to my ramblings, it was not Lord Byron re the Doppelganger, but Shelley…………

Finally a panorama from the Tunstall Hills

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Christmas Walk

The walk started in Whitley bay, but I was late and arrived in Cullercoats. That gave me some time to take some photos whilst the light was still good and meet up with the group later.

Wave Brown's Bay The Watch House Cullercoats

Cullercoats is still a ‘fishing village’ and it is nice to see the lobster pots and the cobles. This boat is one of my favourites.

Jingling Geordie and pots

Jingling Geordie

Well I caught up with the rest of the walkers in the Queens head.

The Queen's head

Time to leave here and make our way to Tynemouth via Longsands.

Long Sands

About 2 deg C, but it did not stop these chaps. Surf’s Up!

Surf's Up

St George's Church Cullercoats

Front street always looks good, no matter the time of day and we walked down and into the Salutation Inn.

Front Street Tynemouth

By the time we left here it was virtually dark. I spent three months in here, but then realised it was a different Priory!


Great views of the River Tyne at dusk as well,  as we headed for North Shields.

View to South Shields below

South Shields at dusk

We could smell the fish and chips from here! Looking up the Tyne below.

Looking up the Tyne at dusk

Last stage of the journey was the ferry to South Shields and a stop at The Steamboat.

On the deck of the ferry

Cold, but it was great to see the ferry at night.

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(Reminder – left click on a picture to make it much bigger. If you want to copy this, right click the larger image and ‘save as’ onto your computer)

Well so winter is here and this 8 mile walk in the city was on decent paths for most of the way and finished early to allow for the dark evenings. We met in the Job Bulman for breakfast, coffee and a chat before we set off down a busy Gosforth High street. It was not too busy though to jump in the road and take a picture for the start of the walk.

We wandered down the High street and had a look at the County – an impressive building with fine ales.

There were many large houses with one used by the Bishop of Newcastle, but I also managed to find a colourful old building too.

We arrived at the edge of the Town Moor and then cut into Jesmond Dene past the large hotel of the same name.

The old watermill is always impressive.

The waterfall was in action mode after all the rains, with a pretty reflection further upstream.

Now we all arrived at the Victory in South Gosforth for refreshments. It also reminded me of a friend of mine who is so petrified of all the roundabouts, turnings and lanes, that he makes a long detour to avoid this place in his car.

Inside the pub is a Victorian fireplace and a warm welcome!

Well unfortunately we had to move out and off around Gosforth Park nature reserve where the fields held standing water from all the rain we have had.

There was even a sneak peek of the racecourse grandstand where I used to cheer on all my winners!

Next we cut through a housing estate and to our surprise in the middle were the remains of a late Norman chapel – North Gosforth Chapel.

A short walk along the edge of the Great North road and we turned in to the Border Minstrel pub.  Leaving here we stopped to look at Brandling House at the racecourse,

but by now light was fading and we had to head off back to Gosforth.

By the time we passed the Victory it was dark and we crossed the road into the Brandling Villa for a meal.

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Up early and a beautiful October morning, as we arrived at the Quayside in Newcastle for breakfast and a chat. Lots of the walking group regulars from a few years ago got together today to walk around 10 miles from the Quayside to Beamish via Causey Arch. The Quayside is always a delight, especially when the light is so good. Here are some pictures of what greeted us.




We crossed the Tyne and then headed west with more views.


A look back provided an excellent vista of the High level Bridge in all its glory.



We now walked on towards Dunstan Staithes, used to load coal onto ships and there were more photo opportunities.


Now it was time to head inland and we reached a reclaimed colliery area called Watergate wood and lake. There was a waterfall from the lake..


Causey Arch was one of the earliest single span bridges of its kind. Desperate to exploit the market in London for coal mine owners had to devise ways of getting their coal to the lucrative markets in the south. Wagon ways were built with horses drawing the wagons… like the one below


When the wagon way met a stream gorge then it had to be crossed, sometimes using new ideas.


Time to move on and to a convenient watering hole, The Black Horse. The manager had a problem and the 5 real ales were off, but he kindly offered to draw the pints from the barrel in the cellar – what a gent! There were still some flowers in the rockery too.


Now it was the final leg of the journey to Beamish Hall and the 10 real ales on offer , well it was an offer we could not refuse!


A short but demanding uphill walk took us to ‘the Shepard and Shepherdess’ pub where we had our evening meal before the journey home. I thought I was OK when I was travelling on the bus home, but when I got off I was walking like Douglas Bader!

PS A couple of pictures I missed out!

PPS Thanks for organising the walk John!


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Hampshire Wriggleys

A visit to a nature reserve in Hampshire during the warm spell of a week ago produced some nice sightings of Slow Worms.


The New Forest Reptile Centre was a delight,t as the cloud vanished and the sun came out. This meant most of the reptiles came out to bask in the sun and take in the heat. The reptiles are kept in their natural habitats and young from breeding success are released into the wild to boost flagging populations.


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Low Newton

Bank Holiday and the prospect of crowds of people, so I decided on a late afternoon walk finishing around 8-00pm. Only just managed to get parked at Embleton, but from there on it was all sun with some great views and quiet beaches. From the golf club it was up the first sand dune and a catch up with a mate of mine from the holiday chalets, nestled in the dunes. Here was the view from there.

On through the dunes and there is a nice view to Low Newton and the pool.

You can just make out the coastguard house in the picture above. Once I reached there – well here is the view!

I took a slow walk through the links and dunes in the sun, finally reaching the tern hide and the Long Nanny bridge.

It was turn around time now and then I realised that everyone had gone home.

Not bad for a Bank Holiday weekend!

When I reached Newton Point again there was a great vista including Low Newton and a sailing dinghy that had pulled into shore.

As I walked further I noticed a gathering on the beach. What on earth were they doing?

I got nearer and it was still a puzzle?

Guessed what it is yet???!!!!

It was a ‘Beach Volcano’ contest. You build a great pile of sand. stick dry wood in the top and set it alight LOL Well it is England!

I had taken too long, but still time to take a few pictures before the light faded.

Not bad for a Bank Holiday Sunday and I will remember the late start next time!

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Low Hauxley to Low Chibburn

A beautiful day and so we parked up at Low Hauxley nature reserve to start our day out.


Here there are some fossilised trees from its coal mining past. We visited some of the hides and there were a few of the more unusual waders heading south after breeding, such as Common Sandpiper, Greenshank and Black Tailed Godwit. Low Hauxley is a great nature reserve with free parking and a friendly warden that will tell you the species to look for that day as well as other flora and fauna. It also links to the Chevington reed beds and Druridge Bay Country park.

Now we left the reserve and pushed south along the coast and to the massed reed beds, silent now, as the Reed and Sedge warblers have stopped singing and are heading south soon. Our next target was the Old ruins of Low Chibburn.



This was a chapel and farm owned by the Knights Hospitallers and dating back to 1313. The farm was extended at a later date. Here are some pictures – firstly the shields above the chapel door


The fireplace in the farm


Here are some more pictures



During World War Two this area was well defended and the ruins were used as a machine gun emplacement, pictured below.


Now it was time to leave this interesting site and head back a different way through the dunes and along the beach.


On the Ragwort there were some Cinnabar moth caterpillars. They have had a bad time of it in this wet spring and summer. They are truly magnificent though!


Now we were heading onto the beach and the views were spectacular.



There were some people on the beach, mostly near where you can park cars, but if you walked further there were still deserted stretches even on this sunny day in the school holiday.

On our way back we were reminded of the fears of invasions past, with lines of Tank Blocks along the golden sands.


This was an 8 mile walk and easy going with lots and lots to see! Summer or winter it never ceases to impress.




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