Jo’s Monday walk : Blast Beach, orchids and P’s in a Pod

Just south of Nose’s Point at Seaham, on the north east coast, lies a stark, uninviting stretch of beach.  I’ve walked along the cliff top, looking down on it, many times.  On a warm and hazy May day, I was somewhat surprised to find myself descending steps that led directly to Blast Beach.

It was a day of surprises.  Up on the cliff top I had already met Devon sculptress, Louise Plant , watering her P’s in a Pod.  The art installation was being newly installed and my first thought was that she was reviving the grass surrounding the P’s.  Not so!  The pieces were being watered to enhance their patina.  You can read the story of the P’s and their journey on the link.

They represent a new approach to exhibiting art in County Durham.  The cast iron structures will be displayed at 4 different sites in the region, the idea being that a different backdrop will enable us to respond differently to them.  The reclaimed coastline at Seaham is the start point for their adventure.  After chatting to Louise for a while, it was on with my own mission- to seek out a few orchids. Around this time of year wild orchids sparkle in the long grass of the cliff tops like incandescent fireworks.

It’s always hard to find the first of the orchids, but many follow in its wake.  Continuing along the cliff, I noticed a pathway I hadn’t previously taken much notice of.  It could only lead downwards to the beach.  Why not take a look?

It’s not an inviting stretch of beach but the stacks do add interest, and close to the shoreline the rocks begin to develop an iron colouration.

Blast Beach was once the scene of coal production on a massive scale and the waste from that process defiled this beach and much of the surrounding area.  Bleak though it may still look, huge efforts have been made to clean up this stretch of coast and restore it to nature.

End to end, this is a long beach.  I circle both stacks and head back slowly towards Nose’s Point.

Ahead lies a steep climb up to the cliff top.  Let’s take a deep breath and go for it.

Made it!  I bet you’re in need of a cuppa now.  Actually it’s a good place to bring a flask and a picnic, but if you’ve come unprepared you can head into Seaham.  There are a couple of good cafes.  Back at the cliff top a young man was busy taking photographs of the P’s.  I moved aside to be out of shot but he waved me back in.  He was taking promotional shots and wanted a willing admirer or two.  Myself and husband duly obliged, but so far I’ve been unable to track down his work.  Maybe just as well…

I wrote most of this post while watching the concert in aid of the victims of the terrorist attack on Manchester.  It gave me hope for our future.  The love was palpable and I was proud of our young people.  Just 24 hours before I had been watching as horror unfolded at London Bridge.  I feel blessed, because my son had been at London Bridge station at 9pm that evening, but was out of range and blissfully unaware when the nightmare hit.

 

Many thanks to you all for your continued support.  I love sharing walks with you. Details of how to join me can always be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Definitely time for a cuppa now!

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Becky goes her own sweet way in the Algarve this week :

Serra de Monchique

A double dose of delight from Drake, in the beautiful village of Èze :

High level of atmosphere 1/2

High level of atmosphere 2/2

Fun and beer with Lady Lee :

Cycled to Waldwirtschaft

All singing, all dancing, with Jackie!

Bloomin Vegas

And something a little more exotic from Indra :

Sikkim Odyssey 1… Rumtek Monastery

Say hello to Gina!  She takes us walking in one of my favourite parts of the Lake District :

Ullswater Way

And if you’ve been waiting for Susan, then Part 2 is definitely worth the wait :

East Harlem Jane’s Walk 2017 (Part II) : Community Murals

A bird watching walk next, from Mari- Becky, are you paying attention?

Bird watching in Malaga

An amazing dawdle or two with Meg.  I just can’t choose :

Following my nose 

Last day in Melbourne

Three friends and so much more!  The delights of Venice, with Paula :

Tra Amici

Then a very English stroll with Carol.  Such cute bunnies!

Meeting the Locals

Yesterday I came across a lady called Anne-Marie and a series of walks you may not have heard of.  Please say hello :

Portuguese Camino in May

And we’ll finish with a rather interesting sculpture trail, from Cady Luck Leedy :

Jo’s Monday walk : Mainz, Germany

That’s it for another week.  I hope this one brings you some happiness.  Take care, and God bless!

130 comments

  1. Interesting sculpture Jo, and I love that stony beach…..wonderful textures and colours.
    So glad your son wasn’t on the bridge at the wrong time! Does he live in London?

    .

    1. Hi again, Madhu. Sorry- I went out soon after our last ‘conversation’. 🙂 James lives in Leeds but he was in London for a birthday celebration with friends. They went to the races at Epsom in the day time and I wasn’t sure what the evening plan entailed. I was horrified to find that he’d been in central London, but he was one of the lucky ones.

  2. I just realized that I never commented on this walk, Jo, or thanked you for linking to my last walk (the second Jane’s Walk). What an interesting beach – those stones have some beautiful colors, especially the ones with the green mossy tone – probably some type of algae? And you know I always love public art, so I love the Ps in a Pod sculptures. I really like how the artist wants the sculptures to be affected by the elements. I can just imagine how they will continue to oxidize over time, creating an interesting texture as well as the rusty color.

    I’ve got another walk for this week, if you like. Here it is: https://findingnyc.com/2017/06/11/central-park-3/. I’m looking forward to your walk again this week!

    1. Thanks, hon. Playing that Sunday morning game of ‘should I carry on writing my walk or should I try for breakfast in the garden?’ Every time I decide garden the clouds roll in. Bet it’ll be sunny when I’m engrossed/terrified for Rafa this afternoon. 🙂 🙂

  3. So glad you took us to Blast Beach. Those stacks are fascinating, and the bitten-into shore line. And artwork too. Another v. generous Monday offering, Jo. Just so much to enjoy, even if it’s taken me two days to catch up with you. AGAIN.

      1. They are looking a bit wind-torn, poor things. The poppies are blitzed. And we’re promised 24 hrs of rain next, though at this moment there’s sun. Not exactly summery.

  4. Jo, thank god your son is safe – it must have been a worrying time for you knowing he was in the area. It has been an emotional and traumatic time here in the UK and the main comfort is how people are coming together on so many levels.

    What a name for a stretch of shoreline, Blast Beach! It’s been well restored and the photos of it are very atmospheric, nature with its own creations of stones and pebbles – with the added patina from the sea enhancing the deep reds, copper and bronze hues! 😀

    1. Named for the blast furnaces, of course, Annika. It’s still a bit of a mess if you look too closely but I like the drama of it. 🙂 🙂
      Yes, a nightmare for lots of people at the weekend, and a few heroes made. How can you hate anybody enough to do that kind of thing? James had a few mishaps of his own but I was so relieved to hear from him on Sunday morning. 🙂 Thank you for your concern.

  5. This was a cool post Jo, loved learning about the area. Blast Beach is so full of history and the results of the restoration after the coal production is really coming along nicely – it’s a beautiful area. Your photographs are stunning of the cliff-sides and rock formation – love it all. Very sad what has had in England, at most recently at London Bridge – thank goodness your son was long gone from the area before the attack. I really don’t have any words, except thoughts of pure disgust. Thinking of you all and praying that good prevails.

  6. Another fabulous walk Jo! I love the sculptures. For some reason they remind me of toy jacks. Awful to hear all the tragic news these days from England. I am sure you were incredibly relieved to hear from your son. What a world we live in…

    1. We thought of jacks too, Nicole. I could just imagine rolling them (except they’d be a bit heavy 🙂 ). Life is so unpredictable and we seem to be up one minute and down the next.

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