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!


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!


  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: 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.

  7. Hi Jo, impressive pictures, again. I love the low perspectives … the ones taken from a low point of view, I mean. Beautiful colours, too. It all reminds me of how much I like the sea.

  8. Very glad to hear your son is okay! All these attacks and loss of lives …so tragic and meaningless.

    I enjoyed this walk so much perhaps because the area IS being revitalized and as well, the colors and the rocks and pebbles are so rich and varied…enhanced of course by the sculptures!


  9. What a wonderful environment with which to wander and ponder the enormity of life’s recent events, Jo. I love the art installation, and think it’s brilliant to move the P’s in order to experience them in different light and surroundings. It’s also interesting to know something of the history of the beach and to see how it has been lovingly restored to such beauty. I’m glad you shared the personal impact of the terrible events on London Bridge, and the all-too-close encounter of your son. I watched news coverage for hours thinking and praying for my many friends from GB, hoping that all were safe, and grieving for the victims and their families. I made a small donation to the victims in Manchester, simply because I had to do something. It’s been very clear to me that the world has grown smaller and its people more precious to me as we’ve connected through blogging. I think we all need more beautiful, peaceful walks, such as you represent here, to keep our perspective and expand our ability to keep going in spite of it all. Have a peaceful week, dear Jo.

    1. Thank you for such a lovely response, Debbie. I think you’re right about the blogging because we do reach out and get involved in other people’s lives on a daily basis. My life would be much poorer without my friends on here. The TV coverage has been harrowing. The pure brutality of those men! How hard for our Muslim community to be tainted by this. If I learn anything from our young it is that they are more accepting and tolerant of racial and sexual differences. How much better to have an open mind than one filled with hate.

  10. Oh my goodness Jo I am so relieved to hear of your son being off the bridge at the time. So much tragedy but so much strength and spirit being shown.
    Your beach looks like a wonderful spot to explore. Us landlocked folk think any oceanfront is astonishing. 🙂

  11. Lovely walk, Jo. I loved the peas in a pod, and you can see the difference the water makes. The beach is pretty but doesn’t look like it invites swimming.

  12. We both did sculptures this week! Great minds think alike! Your sculptures remind me of the “Jacks” we used to play as kids. Do they even make those any more? First you threw the jacks on the ground, I think there were 10 to 12. Then you through a small red ball into the air and tried to pick up one jack letting the ball only bounce one time before catching it. Then you picked up two etc…… until you had all the jacks. We played this game for hours. Good hand, eye co-ordination, way before computer games!

  13. It’s not the sort of beach you would sit on your beach towel and soak up the sun, but it looks quite interesting anyway. I love the idea of having sculpture displayed outdoors and these ones are perfect.

  14. Ah, and there I was looking forward to fresh peas from the pod (the best way to eat peas I might add). Not so taken by the sculptures, but I do like your beach and thank you for huffing and puffing your way down and up again. I was puffing badly last weekend coming back up from a beach in the rain. I think I should have moved to Norfolk!! There was a patch of very red rock there, almost like a waterfall running down the cliff, so do you think it is caused by iron? I shall try and get another garden walk done for you this week. Rain set in here for a few days so no chance of heading out. And I have a window man calling to replace a couple of windows upstairs. What roof do you have on your conservatory? Ours is polycarbonate, but needs replacing. Quote for glass is rather high (as it will need new roof supports too) so I am in confusion as to what to do. I really only want to use it as a greenhouse (unheated) and maybe breakfast in the summer months.

    1. Raining most of the week here too. Hoping it doesn’t affect the French too badly tomorrow. Are you feeling a bit more lively now? Yes, I think it’s iron affecting the colour.
      Mick says we have the same. Plastic wood 🙂 Can you not just replace like with like? We use ours in the same way- mostly plants and somewhere to sit if you don’t actually want to be in the garden but looking at it. 🙂 🙂

      1. I guess we can, but there are some newer versions that block out the sun better, so it would be more comfortable in the summer, I’m just not sure how much light would be lost. I’d rather have a proper green oak sun room, but then we are talking of serious money and I suspect we won’t be here long enough to recuperate the cost.

      2. Got the champagne out then? 😀
        Good game, poor Stan was given the runaround wasn’t he! A deserved 10th win for your man and I loved those glimpses of him as a young man with the long gypsy hair (not so much those sleeveless vests he wore then…) Now we can have a break before Queens and Wimbledon Wombling begin, maybe I will finally finish my garden work AND get out to a garden or two! Talking of which, I have one for you:
        Enjoy the rest of the weekend – sunny and very blustery here..

      3. Thanks so much, Jude! I saw yours on my phone this afternoon between sets. We’ve just had Sunday dinner and I put the laptop on to come walking with you. 🙂 🙂 It looks beautiful! We had a quick nip to Durham this morning because I expected a 5 hour tussle. I couldn’t sit about waiting so goodness knows how Rafa felt, but he was magnificent. 🙂 🙂 The regatta was on so that was nice. Now I need to get cracking on my walk.

  15. I’ve never heard of Louise Plant, but I love her work, and she comes from Devon! I think the beach is nice, lots to see, with all those rocky shapes, paths and orchids too. I suppose it may be different on a grey day, but I see that Meg loves it too. A fab walk darling, I can feel the breeze from the ocean 🙂

    1. Funny about you Devon lot! The last time we were in Seaham we found a painter from Devon on the beach. It’s not like you don’t have your own, but I don’t mind sharing. 🙂 🙂 It’s a bit ugly in places, Gilly, but wonderfully atmospheric. Hugs, darlin!

  16. This certainly is a much different beach walk than your usual sandy ones. 😎I actually love stony beaches. The sound of the waves as they ooze back and forth between the pebbles. I’m very glad that your son is safe, Jo.

    1. Difficult times we live in, Julie, but last night I was proud of our response to evil. And hugely relieved for my son, of course. 🙂 🙂 The beaches up here are a good mix. I couldn’t believe I’d never been down to that one!

  17. Another gorgeous walk Jo. I love the sign in the first shot suggesting no access & yet there appears to be a trodden path beyond! Sending wishes of love & peace to our friends in England.

    1. Some people aren’t very good at following instructions, Lynn, but this coast does have erosion problems. 🙂 🙂 We need all the love and peace we can get over here right now, so thank you very much.

  18. What an interesting walk, Jo…the colours on those stones, the stacks, orchids and a huff and a puff back up the cliff! I can only manage such stuff virtually, so keep doing the walks and posts! On another note, very pleased to hear your son is safe…

    1. Life and its rich variety, Sue! He wasn’t even supposed to be there but plans had gone a little adrift. Unbelievably thankful to get his text. Thanks, hon! I’ll keep trying, though I may need galoshes this week. 🙂 🙂

  19. I have enjoyed this walk at Blast Beach. .interesting name. The wild orchids also caught my eye. Very sad about the recent attacks. I was in London visiting my son and we were near the area affected just few hours before the attack. Words can’t express how we all feel for the victims of these atrocities. Very sad times indeed.

    1. It’s named for the blast furnaces that used to be here, Gilda. I had some very anxious hours yesterday but we were certainly among the lucky ones. Thanks, hon! 🙂

  20. Jo,
    What a lovely walk. I love the pictures of the rock formations and the stones on the beach. I believe they are art in itself, created by nature and appealed more to me than the pods.

    1. I wasn’t wholely convinced by the Pods myself, Vanessa, but looking at her website there are some very nice pieces. And I know what you mean. Sometimes nature in the raw does it best. 🙂 🙂

  21. What a lovely place, so much to admire! What happened in Manchester is awful, however, you have to be strong and never be afraid. Terrorism is like cancer, we have mentally be strong to fight against it. Please take care, dear Jo, we all are with you!

    1. I think you can always find beauty if you want to see it, Colline. I sometimes have to wear blinkers but I do like to look for the good in life. 🙂 🙂 Thanks, hon!

      1. Seeing the good, the positive, and the beautiful is the way we should live our lives. And that is why I enjoy visiting your blog.

  22. What a fabulous beach – not your typical pretty beach, but lots of interest and character, and I love the orange coloured rocks. Glad to hear your son is safe. What a time we live in!

  23. Oh my goodness Jo – happy to hear that your son is safe. Mlle was out and about in Spitalfields (about a mile away just north of the river) with friends when this horrible event was unfolding – she messaged us straightaway to let us know she was safe otherwise I wouldn’t have known till I turned on the news (we’re 7 hours ahead here). I am still feeling sick in the stomach about it all – thankful she is safe but so sad for the families whose loved ones are not.She used to live by the Shard when she first moved to London nearly 3 years ago. On a happier note love this beautiful coastal walk – my mother in law was born in Seaham but her family moved to the West Country when she was very young. The orchids are so pretty! Take care and have a good week xx 🙂

    1. You never know when today is going to be the day, Rosemay, and for our kids- so much to make us anxious parents! The last time I was in London I ate at Borough Market and I knew it was the kind of area James would like. He was at Epsom races at a birthday bash and I didn’t know he was heading into the city or I’d have been beside myself.
      Did you see anything of the concert? It truly was beautiful and a tribute to the young lady and to our kids. 🙂 🙂

      1. I just saw a clip of the concert on the news here Jo – it looked so moving. So thankful again that our families are safe – can’t imagine the anguish that the families and loved ones of the people currently missing are going through. I have to accept that Mlle is frequently out and about in London (just as we were when we lived there). She is a sensible girl and will take reasonable precautions but will not give in to fear. I love the London markets too – have been to a few but not Borough, though Mlle has been a few times and in fact lived by the Shard for a few weeks when she first got to London. Wishing you a safe and happy week 🙂

  24. oh I so enjoyed this walk with you this morning, and lovely to see a certain M enjoying it along with us 🙂
    Made me laugh the watering of the pods, is she going to do this every day?!

    And thank goodness your boy was not on the bridge after 9pm, hope at the time it all unravelled you didn’t know he had been in the area. Dreadful what happened but like you I have hope and love in my heart after Ariana’s fabulous concert last night. I had tears running down my face during her session with the choir.

    As always sending you love back, and thank you for such a lovely intro to my walk x

    1. Hiya sweetheart! She won’t need to today because it’s bouncing. Just a weathering in process I understand. James had been at Epsom on a birthday bash. I didn’t know for sure where he was till I got a text Sunday morning. Life! The girl was brilliant wasn’t she? Hugs darlin xx

  25. I enjoyed that walk Jo. The colouration down below definitely adds some character to the beach.
    I watched the Manchester event too. I was very impressed and shed a couple of tears.
    I was also impressed at how people reacted in London. They really helped each other as much as possible. Glad you’re son got through ahead of that.

    1. The guy in the London pub, Debs… hard to imagine how you’d react in the situation. There were some heroes that night!
      James was spending the day at the races at Epsom on a birthday bash. I hadn’t expected him to be in the city and it was a shock to get his text.

  26. Palpable love can’t be beat. Glad your son is safe. I enjoyed accompanying you on your beach walk today. Such interesting sculptures- The Ps and natures stacks. Have a good week.

  27. That beach is stunning with its stacks and colours and strange-faced rocks. All this and orchids and sculptures too. A wonderful walk amongst many wonderful walks. Thanks for tackling the path down.

    1. The path up was worser! 🙂 🙂 But I huffed and I puffed. It’s throwing it down this morning so yet again, no Monday walk. Will have to hope the tennis is still on (in Paris 🙂 ) Hugs, darlin!

  28. What a wonderful walk Jo. Three PS indeed: Perfect, picturesque and pretty. Loved the photos. I’ll be joining you for a walk this week. xo 🙂

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