A promenade to Roker

Grab your coat! It's time to go.

Grab your coat!  It’s time to go.

It’s Monday, my usual day for a walk.  Do you fancy a stroll?  I’m starting out today on the banks of the River Wear at Sunderland.  Ship building used to be the mainstay of this area, till foreign competition priced us out of the market.  For a lot of years nothing much happened around here, but gradually life is creeping back in.

The National Glass Centre blazed a trail and it is the start and end point of my walk.  At the river mouth a small marina huddles against that sometimes biting north east breeze.  In its absence, this is a very pleasant stroll, with some quirky sculptures along the way.

But best to head off round the marina

But best to head off round the marina

What can I tell you about Sunderland?  I expect you’ve heard of Geordies, people who hail from Newcastle-on-Tyne, but have you heard of Mackems? The name Mackem (‘make them’) may have derived from the Wearside shipyard workers, who would design and build ships, which would then be taken by the Tyne-siders.  The expression “mackem and tackem” (make them and take them) seems to refer to the rivalry which has always existed between these two cities.

My favourite sculpture is the stained glass boat

My favourite sculpture is the stained glass boat

Beyond the marina the river mouth opens onto the beach front at Roker, newly made over.

With more sculptures

With new sculptures and seating

And numerous rock pools

The beach is full of tempting rock pools

Just the place fro walking your dog

It’s just the place for walking your dog

And admiring the lighthouse

Or admiring the lighthouse

This area is not without its admirers.  Lewis Carroll wrote some of his works in neighbouring Whitburn and local landmarks are believed to be the source of inspiration for his “Alice in Wonderland”.  The painter, L.S. Lowry, regularly stayed at the Seaburn Hotel, here on the front.

The promenade stretches off into the distance and you can walk as far as you like.  Buses run all along the coast so, if you overdo it, you can always hop on a bus back to Sunderland centre.  I think we may have walked far enough for this morning, so it’s time to retrace our steps, and maybe pick up an icecream en route.  A  short detour through pretty Roker Park will bring you back down to the beach.

The lighthouse at Roker

Upper or lower promenade at Roker lighthouse?

An old drinking fountain

An old drinking fountain

Back to the beach, from Roker Park

Back to the beach, from Roker Park

The National Glass Centre has a very nice riverfront restaurant where you can take some refreshments, and maybe fit in a free tour of the glass factory.  I love glass blowing.  Don’t you? But more of that next time.


    1. There’s a writing desk, if you prefer? It was part of a tableau and not easy to get a shot of the whole. The walkers were disappearing off into the distance, too 🙂
      I’ve just returned from taking moonlit shots of a lighthouse. The strange things some people do, Paula 🙂

      1. I expect I can work it in somewhere 🙂 I hope to go back to Sunderland to walk the other way along the river some time soon. Thanks, Paula 🙂

    1. Yes, definitely looking up at the minute, Sue. I tend to forget about Mackems too!
      How are you? Saw on Jude’s that you’d been ‘off’ lately. Posting the glass factory tomorrow on windows. 🙂

      1. I’m OK, thanks Jo, just been doing a bit too much recently hence no blogging the last few days. I have a couple of posts I want to d o, but need to rest a bit so we’ll see! Have you got some old industrial buildings to post?

      2. Sorry, Sue! Went off to download some more photos. It was lovely here today and the camera never stays in my pocket for long. The Glass Centre’s been there since ’98. I really love it. 🙂

  1. Oh I so enjoyed my walk with you today Jo! I love the history about the ‘mackems and the tackems’, never heard that one 😉 Yes, I do love glass blowing and remember visiting a glass blowing factory in Italy in 1976 and my mum bringing home a blue, glass swan which she still has! The sea air and the wonderful sights certainly blew away the cobwebs, thank you 🙂

    1. I’m just looking at my glass factory photos now, Sherri. My mum collected glass bells and the like, which always lived in a china cabinet in the ‘good old days’. I’ve inherited her love of them. 🙂

  2. Enjoying my revisit. Wonderful, rich blog. I’ve never been overseas so these shots are a window out to the world for me.

    Let me know if you’d like to participate in the Race (info on my front page). You could share your stories on my podium. I’d be happy to promote your blog.

    1. Many places I have yet to visit and most of them, like Asia, will only be reached in my dreams. 🙂 Thank you for your kind offer. Your blog makes interesting reading. Someday I might be able to contribute.

  3. I absolutely adore creative art! While I enjoyed looking at all of the sculptures, the broken door and abandoned coat in the first photo really grabbed my attention. Thanks as always for sharing Jo 🙂

  4. Thanks for taking me along with you, Jo. Such fascinating history you’ve shared, and I so enjoyed seeing all the wonders of this lovely area. I absolutely adore your first pic. That sculpture is brilliant, and the stained glass boat is so beautiful 🙂

    1. That first sculpture is part of a kind of “writer’s corner”, Ad, but I didn’t really get a good shot of the whole. The walkers were disappearing off into the distance and I didn’t want to linger too long. They tease me and call me Snappy as it is (and I’m nothing like a crocodile!) 🙂

  5. veramente affascinante questa passeggiata e la mia guida anche! ho amato la scultura di vetro, moltissimo, e la strana fontana portatile ha ha ha, non ne avevo mai viste,
    I colori molto ad acquerello credo rispettino assolutamente quelli locali.
    Aspettando altre passeggiate, ti abbraccio con affetto
    really charming this walk and my guide too! I loved the glass sculpture, a lot, and the strange portable fountain ha ha ha, I had not ever seen,
    The watercolor colors I respect absolutely local ones.
    Waiting for others stroll, I embrace you affectionately

    1. The area is such a strange mix of old and new, Ventis, but it’s good to see a little money being spent to improve it. Next we’ll go inside the glass factory. Not quite Murano, but fun anyway 🙂

  6. We have glass blowing in Wheaton Village a little ways from here. Only been there once but it is fascinating. Saw a paper weight there that I loved but didn’t buy it. Duh! I’ve never been able to find another. Lesson learned. Great shots, Jo. Thanks for the stroll.

    1. Doing my home run of north east promotions, Gem. 🙂 It’s beautiful again here this morning but I’ll probably soon wilt as I was up till 3.30am watching Rafa lose in Indian Wells 😦

    1. I had a few different shots of the fountain, Meg, and wasn’t sure which to choose. It’s a lovely ‘blast from the past’ isn’t it? Thanks a lot 🙂

    1. It’s not obviously beautiful, but if you know where to look, like a lot of places, it has its nice spots. Glad you liked it and thank you so much for commenting. 🙂

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