Thursday, 5 September 2013

Day 1 South Shields to Seaham

After a hearty breakfast I spent far too much time talking, I am just a flippin gas bag. I had planned on getting away at 9am, but it was more like 9.45am. Never mind, I am on my hols. I went off down to the sea front and turned right, all I have to do now is to keep the sea on my left hand side. Going past a green area called The Bents, the promenade looked very pretty with all the flowers. I love the way they have painted blue wavy lines along the edge of the pavement. The south end of the promenade has already been reconstructed and is a very pleasant place to walk. 

 As the road turned to the right, I set off down the coastal path on the left. Now for a stretch of rugged coastline to enjoy.

 I looked back towards the pier at South Shields.

The big green grassy area is called The Leas and is owned by the National Trust. I could hear a rescue helicopter hovering behind me and stopped to watch for a while. It was there for ages. I remember seeing some people in the sea at that point, I thought they were on a training exercise.

As I was passing a car park a police horse box pulled in and parked. I thought, ooh I wonder if they are going to get the horses out, so I asked the young lady driver. Her colleague was busy on the phone, checking they were in the right place, she said they may get them out in a few minutes as they are on a search mission.  I waited, and sure enough they lowered the back ramp down and out they came. Good photo opportunity I thought. 

The young police woman was very friendly, and was happy to make conversation, I haven't found one grumpy person here yet. We talked about the skills of driving a moving load, and she said it was more difficult to drive the bigger truck which held six horses, this one only holds two.

 Wow, isn't he a handsome boy.

She offered to take the picture of me and the beast. On the local news tonight there was a report that they found a missing woman's body on the beach at Marsden Bay. How sad, that must have been what they were looking for.

I carried on, the coastal path runs very close to the coast for a while. It reminds me very much of the south coast in Dorest and Cornwall. 
 This is part of the quarry works near Lizard Point, don't know much about it.

 A few birds perched on this big rock, don't ask me what they are, I am not a twitcher, ha ha.

 This is the Souter Lighthouse.

I saw this horse standing motionless on a hillock a long way away. I wondered if it was real, or a model. He was definately real, over the other side there was lots of horses grazing in a field.

The path runs quite close to the road at  Whitburn Bay, and I was amazed to see a magnificent display of wild flowers. A whole field had them planted all around it's perimeter, it must have been half a mile long. Stunning display.  
 As I walked along the Promenade at Sunderland I admired the magnificent flower plamters.

 This is the Lighthouse at Parsons Rocks.

 It says there is a Marina on the map, so I went and had a look at it.

Then I came across a sign for the National Glass Centre. It's free to go in so I spent about half an hour in there.

A couple of shots of the exhibition. 

I needed to cross the river at the first bridge I came to, and here I am, the view from the Wearhead Bridge. The building with the flat roof on the left is the Glass Centre.

From Sunderland I could have picked up the coastal path again but I chose to walk along the road because I needed to pick up some supplies so I was looking for a shop. I found an Asda in Grangemouth and spent £5, this will be my tea for tonight. and some for tomorrow lunch as well.

I arrived in Seaham at just after 5pm.  This Iron monument is on the pavement.

It wasn't worth going any further because there was no chance of finding a bed further on, so I started asking around where I should look. A very posh woman walking her dog pointed to a large seafront building and declared it must be good, it has five stars. I said I probably couldn't afford it, so she sent me in the opposite direction to an Italian Restaurant that had rooms upstairs. I couldn't afford that either at £85 with breakfast. I could have gone without breakfast for £75. I said no thanks and left. A young lady at a bus stop pointed me in the direction of a pub with rooms.

So here I am, it is cheap and cheerful for £35. No breakfast mind you. The owners only moved in a few weeks ago and the kitchen needs refurbishing so they can't use it. The whole place needs redecorating to be honest, it's a bit like transport and contractors digs. I took it because it seems there are very few establishments that do rooms in Seaham, which surprised me because I thought it was a seaside town.

Tomorrow I will have to find some breakfast, apparently there is a Weatherspoons not very far away which opens at 8am. Tomorrow I'm hoping to be past Hartlepool, but I don't think I will make it to Billingham. I will push ahead. I need to get my two small towels out and put them under my shoulder straps, they are starting to dig in a bit and make my boney shoulders sore. It has forecast rain, so that won't be very nice, but I will soldier on. Just have to walk faster and dodge the spots, ha ha.


  1. Lovely photos, Ilona! I hope the weather keeps fine for you, no matter what the prediction says.

  2. Hi ilona, I sent you a personal email. When you get to Middlesbrough you might like to call me on the number I sent. Great to see those photos, know the area very well. The 5* hotel was likely Sea ham Hall, it was a hospital in the 60 s when I worked there as a student. Hope you have a comfortable night.
    Brenda in the Boro

    1. Hi Brenda. I haven't worked out how to pick up my emails on this computer. If you send me your number in a comment here, I won't publish it.

  3. I am really enjoying reading about your trip! Is it possible to write in comments but not have it published? Do I just mention that?

  4. Hello Ilona... Been following your blog for a while. Your pictures are great! Just you ever feel nervous walking alone?

    Btw I live very close to Jane and Chris (Maple Syrup Mob) on the Talbot River-Trent Water system, Canada. We connected through your blog!

  5. What a great journey, best of luck to you!

  6. Lovely photos! So happy to be able to come along on this walk with you, Ilona. Thank you!

  7. Ilona, what great photos and write up. I didn't know the NE was so lovely. Think I might have to go for a jolly up there myself next year. Hope you have a great walk, even in the rain, I like to walk. Enjoy your day.

    1. Hi. Parts of it are lovely, and the not so nice parts are steeped in interesting history. The people are lovely also.

  8. Really enjoy hearing about your travels and love the many pictures, almost like going there myself. You are such an inspiration, Ilona. When I'm feeling lazy and don't want to get off the couch I always think, well, Ilona walks miles and miles from one side of the country to the other and she's older than me so if she can do it I can certainly do a 3 or 4 mile walk around town. Hope your 'cheap' digs was okay for the night and you manage to avoid the showers today. Love, Helen x

  9. I enjoyed this start to your journey Ilona. Loved the lighthouses and the iron monument.
    Hope you find a cheaper place to stay tonight. I thought you checked out beforehand for reasonable places to stay. We can't have you out in the weather with no where to stay. I worry about you enough already walking the desolate areas.

    1. Hi, No I don't check out prices beforehand, I never know where I am going to be. I stop when I've had enough, then look for a bed.

  10. Absolutely love following you on your travels and already looking forward to Day 2! Fingers crossed you escape any rain.

  11. Lots to see there! Look how the police horse is looking at the handler taking your photograph..showing how superbly trained he is....or he just knows how handsome he is!!
    Jane x

  12. Hi Ilona I am pleased you enjoyed S/Shields, there is always a stunning display of flower beds and tubs all along the N/East. The large rock with the birds on it is Marsden Rock, now this used to be one large rock, with an archway in the middle but the sea eroded the rock over the years and now its in 2 halfs,The birds are usually flocks og Puffins and gillymots and gulls. Just by the rock there is the Marsdon Grotto, it is a restuarant on the beach and at high tide the sea comes right up to the windows, you can sit having a meal and see fish swimming past. Sunderland area is really my home town, grew up just outside at a place called Penshaw and did my nurse training at Sunderand Royal Infirmary. I hope you can find a safe warm b/b or hostel for tonight, you may need to dry off, we have had bad weather most of today in Scarborough. Loved all of the pictures

  13. What wonderful walks you do and what interesting things you see. I used to do long treks, but can't manage it anymore. So thanks for letting me join you.

  14. You certainly get about a bit! I've been to Marsden Bay, there's a pub there at the bottom of the cliffs which you can only get to by lift or walking down a couple of hundred dodgy steps in the cliffs!! I also remember staying at a partly-refurbished pub/B&B which had the toilet on the landing! No walls, washbasin or anything, just a toilet on the landing...

    1. Yes, I saw the pub. Danneke wrote about it two comments up from yours.

  15. Thank you again for all the photos, Ilona; I love your interesting walks. Those birds on the rock - they are cormorants or shags (slightly smaller). Difficult to distinguish between them from a photo.
    I hope the weather improves tomorrow for you; we had hailstones today in Cornwall - Falmouth looked like Christmas!!!

  16. Hi Ilona loving your trip thank you for sharing. Small tip if you should ever get your phone or laptop wet again do not switch it on (very important) but take the battery out and dry it out for a couple of days then when you replace it your phone should work.


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