Jo’s Monday walk : Spanish City

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‘Girl you look so pretty to me, like you always did

Like the Spanish City to me, when we were kids…’

I don’t know for sure what holds me in thrall with those words from Dire Straits, but as I walk along the seafront at Whitley Bay they play over and over in my head.  The Spanish City takes me back to my childhood, when it was a funfair.  It all looks very different these days.

A £36million renovation plan is in operation to restore the Dome and create an attractive seafront promenade.  Currently it still has a few rough edges, but progress is underway.  Come with me, and we’ll do ‘the walk of life’?

If you look off into the distance you can dimly see one of the purposes of a walk along this shoreline.  Remember St. Mary’s Lighthouse?  She sits at the end of a causeway that attracts the crowds, whatever the weather.  What are we waiting for?  Let’s get down among the rock pools.

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Did Meg say she was collecting feet?  No, it’s no good!  I need both to balance on these slippery rocks.  Let’s hop back up on the promenade. There’s a skate park up ahead.  The kids love those.  The beach is full of dog walkers, and the odd warning sign.

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I stop to read a sign about Tide Wrack and Rock Pipits.  Apparently the latter feed on the insects, crustaceans and snails found among the seaweed and rocks.  Conditions are so good here that visitors pop over from Scandinavia in the winter months.  You’ll be pleased to know there’s no waste. Leftover seaweed is used to line the local pipit’s nests in spring.  We’re much closer to the lighthouse now.

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You can see already the numbers St. Mary’s attracts.  It’s an overcast day, but warm by north east standards, and whole families have come to play in the rock pools.  Not forgetting the dogs, of course.  It’s essential though to keep a close eye on the tide times.

There is another attraction here, aside from the obvious charms of the lighthouse.  St Mary’s Island is a grey seal haul-out- an area of land that the seals use regularly to rest and digest food.  Seals come onto the rocks and, if undisturbed, will remain there until the tide floats them away.  Grey seals are amongst the rarest in the world, and 40% of them live in UK waters.

Seals are normally solitary creatures, but they often haul-out in groups.  At just 3 weeks old, a seal pup is independent.  Many of the seals on St. Mary’s are youngsters, and it’s essential that they have time to restore their energy levels undisturbed, whilst learning to fend for themselves.

St. Mary’s do their best to educate about and protect the seals.  I have to admit to a great fondness for this lighthouse, which was built on the site of an 11th century monastic chapel.  The monks maintained a lantern to warn passing ships of the danger of the rocks. Sadly the current lighthouse no longer maintains this function, but it’s still a very welcoming space.  A variety of activities take place here, including Fossil Frolics, Rock pool Rambles and even Extreme Rockpooling!  Not quite that brave? How about the Lighthouse Bake Off party?  Set Sunday, 2nd October, aside.

If you’d like to see inside the lighthouse, this post will take you to the top of the 137 stairs.  Opening times and other useful details can be found on the website. (including where to find cake, naturally)  Which reminds me- time to put the kettle on!

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Thank you once again for your generous support.  I have heaps of great walks to share again this week.  Impossible to pick a favourite. If you have one you think I might like, why not join in?  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.

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Ice Age!  That’s a wonderfully cool image after the hot weather we’ve been having in the UK.  Thanks, Drake!

Hidden history

Caught between a rock and a hard place with Anabel?

Dumbarton and the Denny Tank

Jackie’s on a mission to find the post office museum in Toronto :

Return to Sender- Address Unknown

Welcome back Violet Sky, and nice to meet you Big Bruce!

The nicest town around

Wine anybody?  It’s totally taken for granted in pretty French villages is :

La Couvertoirade Village

Ruth is taking us for an adventure with bears (or without!).  Don’t miss her superb blog :

Sequoia National Park : Tokopah Falls

I do try to bring you an interesting mix of walks, and am delighted to invite Sartenada here, from Finland :

White bridges

For those of you who prefer to ride to doing too much walking, Jaspa has the very thing :

The Funiculars of Valparaiso, Chile

My lovely mate Cathy’s not afraid of a bit of walking.  And she has an eye for beauty :

Philadelphia Gardens : Chanticleer

More beauty, from NYC this time!  Don’t you just love a meander?

Meandering through the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Denzil’s taking it slowly too this week, after a back injury.  But not too slow :

Bierbeek and Mollendaal Forest

I’m sure there must be a Dire Straits song to fit this one, but I really can’t think of it.  Thanks, Susan!

Walking the Cruise Ship

More cruising, with Carol this time.  I’m going to jump ship in the Whitsundays.  Can you blame me?

At the Beach

All good things come to those who wait, right?  Absolutely!  Please welcome Madhu back :

An Amble through a Storied Park- Lodhi Gardens

Did you ever have a really, really good day?  I just did!  Badfish came to town.  Loud fanfare!

Prague : Up Close and Personal

Many thanks for keeping me company again this week.  I wrote this walk with my friend, Viv, in mind.  I think it’s one she would have enjoyed.  Have a great week, and take good care of yourselves.

132 comments

  1. Aye lass, how did I miss this? How odd, I usually look out for your Monday walk. Anyway I am here now, though not for long as I need to go to the station and pick up the OH who is on the train from Birmingham! Your lighthouse is very much like ‘my’ St Michael’s Mount, access over the causeway. You do love your lighthouses 🙂 My mother had a friend who lived in Whitley Bay and we (her and I) visited a few times when I was very young. Tragically the friend’s son was killed when he ran out from behind an ice-cream van. I’m sure you didn’t want to know that, though you probably remember the TV adverts warning against doing precisely that! That North sea coast has some very lovely places along it. And although I have no idea about the Spanish City, I do like Dire Straits 😀

    1. Funny how a place is never mentioned for years, and then it’s every second breath! James is in Brum next week for his final exams. 🙂 Those icecream van deaths were quite common at one time. What a way to go! The Spanish City was a rather tacky fairground (aren’t they all?) and I don’t know that anyone’s felt the loss. Well, apart from Dire Straits! 🙂 Thanks for making it over here. Off you go to be nice to OH. 🙂

    1. Incredible, isn’t it? They reckon 50% death rate though 😦 Not an easy place to be brought up, the sea. I’m almost glad I’m human (just! 🙂 ). Not bad at all, Corey. I just met Gilly! (Lucid Gypsy) 🙂 🙂

  2. Another wonderful walk – thank you for taking us along. I now have Dire Straits in my head, thank you – but it’s not all bad because they are one of my favourite bands and always remind me of when Mr Decisive and I met way back when. 🙂

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