One of the hardest things about my Monday walks is deciding where to take you next. I have easy access to both coast and countryside where I live in the north east of England. Add in a healthy dose of curiosity and restlessness and the sky’s the limit!
Last week’s visit to the Glass Centre is a hard act to follow, but I’m going to take you a little way south of me today, to the River Tees. The lovely curves of the Infinity Bridge have added grace and beauty to another quite industrial part of my world. This weekend the Stockton Riverside Festival was taking place. I hope a deluge or two didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for the music.
Our start point will be the parking lot behind the White Water Centre. We’ve walked around the Tees Barrage before but this time we’ll be heading towards Stockton-on-Tees.
It’s a popular cycle track too, so you’ll need to be alert. Some cyclists sound their bell in warning, but more often they just loom up. You don’t want to drop your camera!
Stockton is an Anglo-Saxon name, the ending ‘ton’ meaning farm or homestead. There is little in the way of agriculture to be seen on this stretch of the River Tees. The town used to have a thriving outdoor market where fresh produce was readily and cheaply available. The life and character that this brought has sadly vanished.
Stockton’s main claim to fame is tied to the advent of steam travel in 1822. The first rail of George Stephenson’s Stockton and Darlington Railway was laid locally, on Bridge Rd. Stephenson drove Locomotion no.1 himself on its first journey, on 27th September 1825. In recent years the riverside has been developed to make a focal point for the town.
Have you spotted something beyond the bridge? Something with tall masts? My main reason for walking this way, and one of my favourite things. Wait just a moment.
James Cook was a local lad and is widely feted in this part of the world. HM Bark Endeavour took him on the first of three voyages of discovery in the Pacific Ocean. He sailed thousands of miles of largely uncharted waters, mapping New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii for the British Navy. He died in Hawaii in 1779, leaving behind a huge legacy of scientific and geographical knowledge.
We’re heading back towards the Infinity Bridge. On the far shore of the Tees there are numerous office complexes and we thread our way through them, passing poorly maintained canals.
You know your way back from here, don’t you, and it’s not far. Maybe a coffee in the White Water Centre, or there’s a pub along at the Tees Barrage. The easiest access is undoubtedly by car, but you could do the walk from Stockton, which is well served by buses and trains.
I’m not going to be walking with you next week. I hope to be on a different riverbank- the Seine. I could schedule a walk but I prefer not to. The joy in my Monday feature comes from sharing, and responding to your lovely comments, and I won’t have time to do that in Paris. Feel free to explore a little without me, but report back, won’t you?
Two more things before I go. I noticed that my friend Marianne, from East of Malaga, is featuring Bridges in her CBBH challenge this month. We’ve been friends for the longest time but I seldom have time to visit. I’m hoping she won’t mind if I include a link to my walk this week. It certainly features bridges, doesn’t it? A condition of the CBBH challenge is to introduce 2 of your friends to Marianne. I will certainly do that with my links below.
Speaking of friends, and I’ve made so many of you on here, I know that I will be walking in the footsteps of Christine at least some of the time next week. I couldn’t go without one last tribute.
I hope you’ll find some time to visit my lovely walking friends now. Put that kettle on!
Jude has found me a mill and a lovely public garden in Gatehouse of Fleet :
The Travel Bunny, Suzanne, has gelato on her mind. It must be the weather! :
Drake found some long haired cattle to walk with us this week. He always has fun! :
On the West (not the Wild West!)
It will be very tempting to sit down on Amy’s walk this week, but you might need a cushion :
That’s it for now! See you in two weeks time. Happy walking!