Jo’s Monday walk : Roker pier

Roker lighthouse

Roker lighthouse

There’s nothing I like better than standing at the foot of a lighthouse and looking up!  Especially when, as in this case at Roker, Sunderland, the pier has been newly restored and it’s possible to walk right out there.

Newly restored Roker Pier

Newly restored Roker Pier

Last week I mentioned that I might have to repeat some of my walks.  This is a variation on one I’ve previously done but with the addition of the newly accessible pier.  Mind you- it was bitter cold out there, but it didn’t seem to deter whole families of hardy northerners. Toddlers skippetty-hopped along, tugging parents hands, or racing ahead on ‘Christmas-new’ bikes and scooters.

600 metres long, Roker Pier is 111 years old and grade II listed.  Enormous seas had rendered it unsafe for the public, and a restoration programme began last June.  It reopened in November. Further work is planned to both pier and lighthouse, but I really should start at the beginning of the walk, so grab your warmest coat and woollies.  It’s time to go.

This was my start point- note the frost!

This was my start point- note the frost!

The sun was fighting hard  to melt the frost

The sun was fighting hard to melt the frost

A last remnant of 'The Red House'

One last remnant of chimney pot

Part of the Riverside Sculpture Trail, the group above are entitled ‘The Red House’, and are just beyond the National Glass Centre, where you can park for free.  The trail continues towards the marina which, because of its situation, is probably the warmest spot on our walk today.  In fact, I distinctly remember an elderly couple sitting on a bench, backs to the wall and faces lifted reverently to the sun.  Overcoats on, of course!

The first sighting of the pier

The first sighting of the pier- note the hard frost on the ramp!

Just beyond the marina and the boatyard, a vista of beach and pier opens up before you.  The concrete bowls on the beach are filled to different levels, representing different phases of the moon.  A promenade leads past a children’s playground to the final item on the Sculpture Trail. This highly polished granite monolith, designed by Andrew Small, has a circular cutout which makes a fine frame for Roker Lighthouse.

The children's playground

The children’s playground

The marble monolith and the pier

The marble monolith and the pier

Roker as described by Wikipedia is a seaside resort.  I doubt that many would lay that claim in these days of exotic holidays, but it still retains a certain charm.  It was news to me that the Roker story goes back to 1587, when the Abbs family were granted land on the north shore of the River Wear.  It was a condition that they provide six soldiers to defend the mouth of the river.

Did I mention that further work needs to be done on the pier?

Did I mention that further work needs to be done on the pier?

The railings could definitely use some TLC!

The railings could definitely use some TLC!

But out on the pier it doesn't seem to matter

But out on the pier it doesn’t seem to matter


I didn’t have a band of Northumberland Hussars to pipe me off the pier, like the Earl of Durham, but it would have been nice.  As would a hot drink!  But for that we need to return to the National Glass Centre.  You can pass through the tunnel at the end of the promenade, into Roker Park, and complete a circuit back to the front, or simply retrace your steps.

Be sure to leave yourself time to loiter in the Glass Centre.  You’re bound to like something!

 Even if it's an angel in a  bauble!

Even if it’s only an angel in a bauble!  So, that’s another walk completed!  I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll be back next week, and we’ll wander some more.

walking logo

If you’d like to join in my Monday walks, it’s very easy to do.  Just click on the logo or my walks page.  Many thanks to this weeks contributors.  Now, let’s put the kettle on and settle back to read!


Lovely Debbie from Travel with Intent is joining us this week.  I know you’ll enjoy Glasgow through her eyes. Many thanks, Debs!

The Banks of the Clyde

Paula has an on-going love affair with Corsica and it’s not hard to see why  :

A Walk among the Menhirs

You can count on Cardinal to have a unique viewpoint!  :

Oslo- a Village on Steroids

Again, Jude has me wishing I was on the far side of the world!  :

Hills Road walk

Amy’s back with a bang!  Well, maybe that’s not the right expression around a volcano!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A Monday walk wouldn’t be a Monday walk without Drake, would it?

Friendly minded castle conquest

Please welcome a very distinguished newcomer, from Australia.  Many thanks for joining us, Elizabeth!

New Year’s walk : a giant stairway and a miniature train

And a lovely lady called Lisa joins us from the Bay of Islands  :

Opua-Pahia Coastal Walkway

Rosemay finishes off her zoo walk.  It’s hot!

Tales from Perth, part 2

And then Yvette comes in with a blockbuster of a post!

Shadows in New York City

If you’re not totally worn out, you can even do an evening walk?  Welcome Bon Minou!

Amsterdam at Night

What a selection!  Brilliant, aren’t they?  Have a great week everyone, and happy walking!


      1. Well I’m 16 so I haven’t really travelled as much. Also I live in India and we don’t have very many lighthouses so thank you for sharing yours (:

    1. Frizz! 🙂 How lovely to hear from you! I’ve been very negligent lately 😦 I often catch a glimpse of your posts as I scurry past. I’m replying from a hotel room in London. Will pop in and see you when I’m home. Thank you so much! 🙂

  1. The public sculptures look lovely, I especially like the bowls filled to different level. Roker pier looks splendid, I really like walking along a pier so I wish I could have joined your walk. 😉

  2. Beautiful walk, Jo. I loved the wide shot of the curving pier, ending with the lighthouse. Hmmm, after looking at your photos and reading a description of your walk, I realized I shouldn’t be complaining about the 14 degree weather here 🙂

    1. I only complain about grey skies, Kan! I hate them, but I can manage most other things 🙂 Thank you- it’s a nice-looking place these days 🙂 Must find something else to be joyful about soon!

  3. OK. I got the message. It was frosty. A warning? However the light is astonishingly warm. What did I really like? That very beautiful lighthouse. Steps with a carved carpet. Lovely curve of the pier. The speed of the restoration work. And of course you’re teasing by showing so much of the glass centre. Myers I’ll nip across from Warsaw!

      1. Darn! I have a straight week 30th April-7th May. I will be in Krakow till 4th May, which is Adam’s birthday, then I hope to visit family in Belchatow for 2 days before coming home. 😦 Not set in stone (or even booked yet- I’m doing it tonight) but there’s another Polish wedding later in the year so I’m spreading myself thin!

  4. My winter coats are packed away so I’ll just skippetty-hop extra fast. I adore lighthouses. We have some fabulous ones along the coast near here, including the Round The Twist lighthouse (children’s tv show many moons ago). And I love a good playground. Thanks for the walk. I think I’ll find the nearest cafe for a hot chocolate now, if you don’t mind.

    1. A Round the Twist lighthouse walk sounds good to me. It’s in your capable hands? I’ll wait patiently. 🙂 🙂
      With marshmallows on top, or is that too sickly? Cheers!

  5. Gosh Jo, your posts just get better and better! I do admire your hardiness in getting out there on such a chilly morning in order to take us all on a walk. Must say it was nice and warm for me to accompany you. I do like the sculptures AND those Celtic designed steps and I do hope you grabbed a shot of the couple on the bench for me 🙂 And thanks for finishing in the Glass Centre again. What a sweet angel. I hope you bought one. Bit late with my walk – too busy searching for houses again so the blogging is getting behind. I think we are going on a recce soon, but not to the south-west o_O

    1. I wondered when the house hunt would resume 🙂 The weather’s a bit unpredictable yet, isn’t it? Something I really can’t do is to point a camera at a little old couple. Maybe I’ll have to learn… I’m getting better at catching Michael in the frame 🙂 His red jacket is such a nice little pop of colour.
      Thanks for the kind words, Jude. Next week’s might be a bit disappointing but who knows what can happen in a week. Warm hugs! 🙂

      1. Here I am! Slightly warmer than your post 😉
        Meant to say how much I love the photos of the lighthouse and the sweep of the pier – all these shots seem to have a very soft feel about them. Maybe the light? As for catching people, just make out you are focusing on something near them, that’s what I do, or I wait until I can get them from a different angle. A good zoom helps! I’m not a street photographer either, it feels intrusive somehow unless you have consent.

        Sleeting at the moment – think I shall have to change dinner plans as I’m not going to the butcher in this!! Stay well my friend 🙂

        Oh, and I was thinking of Robin Hoods Bay for a meet-up. Have you written about that?

  6. Beautiful photography, I am a huge fan of lighthouses, I live very near Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. Thank you for the lovely shots , very fine!

  7. Lovely walk Jo though am glad to be enjoying it from the comfort of my study it sounds rather chilly for me – am well and truly acclimatised to Perth weather these days! Am so glad Roker Pier has been restored and reopened – Roker is not a town I’ve come across before so I’ve very much enjoyed reading about it 🙂 Thanks again for including my follow up zoo tales in your weekly Monday Walk roundup – sorry I didn’t get a chance to come on here and thank you yesterday I was on the run all day! There look to be some great walks this week and I’ll enjoy reading them all! Have a lovely week and hope it gets a tad warmer for you! 🙂

  8. The steps are stunning Jo, did the Celts reach the east coast? I also like the clean uncluttered line of the pier and I hope that some of the rusty bits are allowed to stay, it would be a shame if it was too pristine. Nice glass trees, was there a café in the glass centre? Great sculpture and even blue sky, what’s not to love? 🙂

    1. Hi Gilly! Is all ok with you? I saw a comment on Jude (or Meg?)s earlier saying your head was all over the place? Just busy, I hope!
      The Bede Centre up at Jarrow is full of Celtic associations, and yes, there’s a rather smart cafe/restaurant 🙂

      1. I’m absolutely wonderful Jo, I’ve been waiting for my daughter’s baby to arrive – and she has, Layla Nkeiru, 8lbs 14ozs of wonder and joy. My head was all over the place because Nina had high blood pressure, Layla was 6 days late and in no rush and the hospital couldn’t make up their minds what to do about it!

  9. Brrr….look at that frost! We have had some here too, and getting some more and even snow tomorrow or Wednesday judging by the weather forecast. We shall see! Love the walk to the lighthouse, and the beautiful celtic designs on the steps down to the sea. Another lovely walk, perfect on a winter’s day and ending with a nice hot drink…cocoa now I think 🙂 Hope your week gets better and better Jo…keep smiling that beautiful smile 😀

  10. What a great walk. There is something for everyone. History, art,sculpture, playground and that lovely old lighthouse and its picturesque pier. The moon phase bowls are unique. Thanks for getting out and about on this frosty morning, Jo.

    1. It was just after Christmas, Lynne, and I had nowhere in mind- just needed to get out of the house. I wasn’t even aware that the pier had reopened so that was a superb surprise 🙂

    1. I wasn’t sure that I could get enough in, Jet, but in the end I liked the photo. I’m waiting to see if the lighthouse opens to the public after further restoration 🙂 Thanks for your company!

    1. I do seem to hang about things that need restoring, don’t I? I smiled to myself when reading this back because it would have been yet another candidate for Restoration 🙂

  11. This one is a winner, Jo. You know me and lighthouses. 🙂 So glad the pier and lighthouse have been spruced up. I love those decorated steps, and the concrete bowls are fascinating. My ears got a bit frozen. I’d better bring a hat next time. 🙂

  12. Beautiful stonework abounds in this walk, Jo. That’s certainly one of the more artistic lighthouse towers with its alternating stone blocks, and the stairsteps just echo the voices of all who placed footsteps. Charming!

  13. WOW to the first shot, but I went through others with my mouth open too 🙂 I will be linking in a bit. Thank you for taking me to the sea, and showing me sunshine and amazing views.

    1. Thanks, sweetheart 🙂 It was going to be a candidate for Cardinal’s architecture but not enough contrast (the first shot). I really enjoyed this walk. No hurry 🙂

  14. Jo I especially love the first image gazing up at the lighthouse. The photos of the stairs curving down to the sea with the sun glistening is a wonderful perspective. Another lovely walk. Wish I had been there with you. 🙂

  15. Love Monday mornings – this is a great post Jo! Just love the old lighthouse and perspective you give us. Yes looking up makes me dizzy. Those rusty rails are great detail, they sure have seen their share of salt water! Wonderful walk ~

  16. I’ve always had a thing for lighthouses, and Roker Pier is a fine example. Jo, I liked going on your walk today and enjoyed all of your photographs, especially the beautiful captures of paths. Loved the steps down to the water too. Very nice!

      1. Happy to join, as always, Jo! It was 40F this morning here, a little warmer than last week. 🙂 This post may make you feel warm, I hope. 🙂

  17. If I stopped at the Glass Centre I would leave all my money behind there; mind you I would get some lovely things to take home in exchange. Love the way the marble monolith frames the lighthouse.

  18. Love that sweeping view round to the lighthouse Jo . They’ve done a marvellous job with restorations . I can see it’s a walk to be revisited apart from the location with sea and beach the sculpture trail is a fascinating addition to the ramble . I bet people find plenty of fun ways to photograph themselves with that plain and simple monolith there 🙂

    1. Funny you should say that, Poppy 🙂 The photo of the monolith I’m showing is from a previous walk. I took a couple of rather silly ones reflecting me and Mick, but decided not to use them 🙂 Not my finest moment!
      I’m not sure if they’re going to open the lighthouse up when the next lot of restorations are done, but that would be good 🙂

  19. I felt a twinge of vertigo looking up at the lighthouse! That green grass and blue sky is deceiving. If you hadn’t pointed out the frost, I would not have realised how cold it was. It brought back memories of winter walks when I lived in London. An interesting walk, Jo!

    1. Hi Cardinal! 🙂 Your comment came up just as I was about to rush off for today’s windswept walk and I didn’t have time to answer. I was going to use the first lighthouse photo in your B&W challenge but there just wasn’t enough contrast. So I went trespassing on a posh neighbour’s property and got a couple of interesting shots to convert. Not sure if I’ll be able to go back without being spotted though. It was fun trying 🙂
      Many thanks for your link again!

    1. Great timing, Lisa 🙂 I usually snatch whatever time I can to put my walk together on a Sunday so I’m ready to roll on Monday morning (when I’m usually out walking 🙂 ) We have a lovely pink sky here today. Thank you very much and enjoy your week!

  20. Great walk Jo – I’m just putting the kettle on to warm up, brrr! Those steps with built-in stair runner are wonderful – no need to vacuum that carpet 🙂
    My walk is on its way

      1. No, i never went but rememver hearing about the famous Rokrr Roar. All the old grounds seem to be housing estates or supermarkets now. Looked a nice (but cold) day for your walk!

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