riverside walks

Jo’s Monday walk : Beautiful Bath

I love a bit of drama in a photograph.  This is me, not quite falling over the parapet into the swirling waters of the weir at Bath.  I didn’t start the day with any intention to go to this beautiful city but, a few minutes after I’d been dropped off at Yate bus station, what should appear on the stand?  A 620 bus heading directly for Bath.  I didn’t need to be at the airport for my return trip home till the evening.  Irresistible temptation!

A 40 minute ride through gently green and rolling Somerset and I was there.  It’s many years since I was in Bath, and I never did get to visit the famous Roman Baths, so I was almost on a mission.  But first, a little exploration.

Who’d have thought to find a Tardis as I exited the bus station?  Bath is obviously popular with tourists and backpackers, as several places offered luggage storage, including an opportunistic barbers.  Grand Parade is just that, with its elegant balustrade looking down upon the Parade Gardens. I was tempted to go in, but there was a small admission charge, unusual for public gardens.  In any event, I could see most of the garden from where I stood, and I was drawn like a magnet towards the weir.

Pulteney Bridge, which crosses the River Avon, dates back to 1774 and is one of Bath’s iconic landmarks.  It didn’t strike me at the time but it has much in common with Ponte Vecchio in Florence.  Both have shops built into them.  ‘The Bridge’ cafe caught my eye, along with the view through to the river, as I crossed to the other shore, noting the rhubarb and cherry slice in the window.  Maybe later?

Steps led down to the river, and it was a glorious and warm day.  I had picked up a visitor guide at the bus station, and a bench right beside the weir gave me the perfect surroundings for a browse. With the wonderful distraction of a boat coming in to dock.

No doubt about it, I was tempted, but the next departure wasn’t for a precious half an hour.  The riverside walk needed to be undertaken first.

As always, the boats and the watery reflections filled me with delight, and there was a wonderful sensation of peace.  In the very heart of the city, and yet enfolded by nature, I had not a care in the world.

I had forgotten that the Kennet and Avon Canal flows into Bath.  This 87 mile long canal links London with the Bristol Channel and had its heyday in the early 1800s.  With the advent of the railways it went steadily into decline, but happily restoration has turned it into a wonderful leisure facility.  I paused for a while to watch the activity at Widcombe Lock, before crossing a narrow footbridge back into the city.

The walk carried on, along the River Avon, but I wanted to make the most of my limited time. Stall Street led me conveniently towards the Abbey and the bustling heart of the city, where I had a date with the Roman Baths.

An event that I’ll share with you another day.  For now I’ll lead you past the Baths and the beautiful Abbey.  Yes, I know you’d like a look inside, but that will have to wait.  Instead we’ll walk all around the Abbey, admiring the statues, and into irresistibly pretty Abbey Green, with its leafy shade.

Just around the corner you can sample Sally Lunn’s buns, in Bath’s oldest house, dating from 1483.  You might find ‘bun etiquette’ amusing.  Hiding in these streets you will also find Bath’s indoor market, a wonderful melange of craft and food stalls. Too nice to stay indoors for long, I made my selection and headed for a nearby bench.  And yes, that rhubarb and cherry slice was simply scrumptious.

Just time to admire some Bath glass and at 2pm present myself back at the Abbey for the Tower Tour.  Look away now if you don’t like heights.

I think I made the most of my short time in Bath, but left still feeling that there were things I’d like to do.  Next time!

Thanks for your company, everybody.  I have a bumper collection of walks to share this week. Please do make time to visit them.  If you’d like to join me, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be very welcome.  Popping the kettle on now, and wishing I had a Bath bun to share.


Not strictly a walk post, but a composite of many enthralling moments.  This is a must read from Gilda :

Discoveries Down Under Part 4- Sydney and the Blue Mountains

I’d never heard of Jane’s walk, but trust a New Yorker like Susan to tell it in style :

East Harlem Jane’s Walk 2017 (Part 1)

Few people are better traveled than Debbie, so if she invites you for a walk, go!

Wandering through District 5

Jackie likes to hoof it a bit, too :

Day 6 So Cal – Solvang to Bakersfield 

Innsbruck is a city I’ve only dreamed about.  Drake brings it beautifully to life :

Between river and hills

Woolly is in the same neck of the woods, but I’ve been to Salzburg.  It rained! :


I’ve made lots of good friends in the blogging world.  Becky was kind enough to share a place that has captured my heart :

Something unusual in the Algarve

And speaking of friends, this is pure delight from Jude :

A Woodland Walk

My lovely Meg pootles on a beach- a most delightful occupation :

Eurobodalla Beaches : Billy’s Beach

While our Cathy shops her way around Tokyo, between shrines.  That girl loves a bargain!

Meiji shrine and Harajuku : Takeshita-dori and Togo shrine (part of walking tour 18)

Geoff, meanwhile, takes us on a fascinating exploration of ‘lost’ rivers :

Losing its Rivers : following careless London #londonwalks#lostrivers

Shazza has an interesting (and dog friendly) walk in the Yorkshire Dales :

Clapham Nature Trail and Ingleborough Show Cave

Eunice has some lovely reflective blue skies, and 2 more dogs :

Canal walk – Radcliffe to Bury

And Carol goes hunting Romans in the Lake District.  They can be elusive!

Searching for Romans

Vanessa demonstrates a love for and knowledge of Majorca.  This is the start of a series :

Soller, Mallorca, Spain/A walk past the Orange Groves of Soller to the pretty village of Fornalutx

Finally, here’s Paula.  As near to perfection as you can get in a post.  Turn the music on and feast your eyes!

Canon of the Spaces

That’s it for another week.  Hope you enjoyed, and have a happy week tootling about.

Jo’s Monday walk : City of Sunderland

Looking out at the quay, from the National Glass Centre

Looking out at the quay, from the National Glass Centre

You might remember, before I started my regular Monday walks feature, the post A Promenade to Roker?  It started from the National Glass Centre and followed the River Wear out to the beach at Roker, north of Sunderland.  I always intended to try a walk in the opposite direction, following the river through the city.  Since I promised you a level walk last week, I thought this might be a good one to try.

It’s an industrial area and the National Glass Centre is like a jewel at its centre.  I’m like a kid with a new toy if I get to visit, so we’ll be popping in later, but right now it’s time to start walking.

We'll start on the quayside, outside the Glass Centre

We’ll start on the quayside, outside the Glass Centre

A number of boats are casually moored

A number of boats are casually moored, waiting for an owner

This pretty blue one, a favourite

This gently blue one’s a favourite

But I took my eye off the boats for long enough to look at this

But I took my eye off the boats for long enough to look at this!

We’re walking alongside the University of Sunderland, and in term time the grass is strewn with students.  This morning the sun was glinting prettily on the medieval book, outside the university library.  There’s a wry sense of humour in the placement of giant nuts and bolts on the quay.

And the inevitable graffiti, of course

And the inevitable graffiti, of course!

Compensated for by this willowy creation

Compensated for by this willowy creation

We're walking towards the bridge over the River Wear

We’re walking towards the road and rail bridges over the River Wear

And beneath

And then beneath them

To a short pretty stretch of river

To a short, pretty stretch of the river

Not a ripple disturbing the peace

Where barely a ripple disturbs the surface

There are many reminders of the pitheads and the harsh life that miners and their families lived.

On the far shore, a crane building factory

Today a ‘crane building’ factory decorates the far shore

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Looking back at the wall plaques

Looking back at the wall plaques (and at Sunderland FC )

Soon after this the riverside path runs out, and we have the choice whether to retrace our steps or to see a little more.  Curiosity always takes me onto unfamiliar ground so I followed the curve of the path.  It loops up to join the Coast to Coast cycle route, which runs from the east coast all the way across to Whitehaven in Cumbria.

This results in a closer look at the Stadium of Light

This results in a closer look at the ‘Stadium of Light’

I head towards the bridges, cross at the busy traffic lights by St. Peter’s Metro stop, and drop back down to the river path within sight of my start point.

A couple of tugboats are just completing their business

A couple of tugboats are just completing their business

For you and me, a treat awaits

For you and me, a treat awaits

Inside the Glass Centre

Inside the Glass Centre

A crab sandwich?

A crab sandwich?  Don’t mind if I do

And a bit of a browse

And a bit of a browse

Aren't these gorgeous?

Aren’t these simply gorgeous?

Linger as long as you want.  There’s always something going on.  I noticed on my table a leaflet for ‘Hen Night Heaven!’  Only in the north east!  You can learn to blow a glass bauble followed by a delicious afternoon tea, with champagne.  Details of all events, and how to get here, are on this link to the National Glass Centre.

Before you leave, take a look up!  You’ll probably see people wandering across the roof.

Hello!  Can you see me down here?

Hello! Can you see me down here?

Don't worry!  It's reinforced glass.

Don’t worry! It’s reinforced glass.

And that's the way we walked.

And that’s the way we walked.  Good, wasn’t it?

Phew!  Hope you enjoyed our walk today.  It’s time to look at some more, then click on my Jo’s Monday walk logo to see how you can join in.  You’d better get yourself a cuppa first!

walking logo

Jude took me back to Grasmere last week.  I haven’t been for the longest time  :

Circumnavigating Grasmere Lake

I had such fun riding around in the panier on Drake’s bike, but I really should get off and walk!  :

The bike as the stowaways

Bird lovers among you will absolutely delight in this.  Welcome to my walks, Jo!  Please go and say ‘hi’ to Jo everybody  :

I just love birds

Laura’s had back surgery, but has put together a wonderful historical ramble in London  :

Walkabout 2- the Fleet by foot

If I were to find myself in Amy’s Lan Su, I would think I’d died and gone to heaven  :

Lan Su Garden

And finally, Kathryn has brought me the most beautiful light on the Dutch canals  :

Mas en Peel

Please go and give Kathryn a hug.  Things aren’t going so well.  See you all next week, I hope?

From a bridge, to a barrage.

A completely different bridge

The bridge at the Whitewater Rafting Centre

If you saw my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge this week, you might just have wondered what you would find if you crossed over that bridge. Come with me, and I’ll satisfy your curiosity.

You may remember that we started with this remarkable bridge

You may remember , I started with this remarkable bridge

The Infinity Bridge was constructed across the River Tees, at a cost of £15 million, and opened on 14th May 2009.  It was part of a massive regeneration project linking the river banks and providing a very pleasant environment for walking and cycling.  Full details are in the enclosed Wikipedia link, but a rather special feature is the sensory lighting system, which illuminates the bridge at night.  I have yet to play with this!

Footpaths stretch along both banks, leading in one direction to the town of Stockton.  The opposite direction leads to the Tees Barrage and eventually out to sea.  It can be quite an interesting bit of shoreline.  The Tees Barrage is used to control the flow of the river and to prevent flooding.  The waters beyond the barrage are permanently held at the level of an average high tide.   The Barrage, which opened on 22nd April, 1995, has a design life of 120 years!  It also incorporates a white water course,  a real crowd pleaser if an event coincides with a sunny day.

And looking back from the Barrage, what can you see?

The Infiniity Bridge, of course

The Infinity Bridge, on the skyline, of course

Just look at that blue sky!

And just look at that blue sky!

Today all is calm on the White Water course

Today all is calm on the White Water course
Not a ripple disturbs the water.

Barely a ripple disturbs the water

But sometimes the Fire Brigade provide a little sport

But sometimes the Fire Brigade provide a little sport!

If nothing is happening on the white water, you can often find entertainment from the antics of the seals in the River Tees.  They seem as interested in the Barrage as are humans.  There is also a small nature trail, for a close up on the wildlife.  It can be a breezy spot though, so don’t forget to wear your warm jacket.  I did!