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. 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.

  2. 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!


  3. 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.

  4. 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. 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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. 🙂 🙂

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