Roker Pier

Jo’s Monday walk : Boxing Day Blues

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I just know you’re ready for some fresh air and exercise this morning, and you’ve come to exactly the right place.  Grab a scarf and some gloves and we’ll go and dust off those Boxing Day blues.  Nothing finer than a vigorous walk along the north east coast of England.

We’re at Roker, just north of Sunderland, and smiles abound this gem of a morning.  Let’s start by the tall white lighthouse that studs the green.  In Summer this is the focal point for the Sunderland Air Show and breathing space is scarce.  Right now, we can stroll as far as the eye can see.

I’m heading south, but you can choose.  Not too many clouds in the sky this morning, but they can gang up on you when you’re  least expecting. Let’s hop down on the beach and see what we can find.

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The stories a pebble could tell!  I look back along the beach, and then ahead, into shadow.

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That’s Roker Pier you can see straight ahead.  It looks far distant but it’s no more than a good stride.

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The clouds are making the most enchanting reflections on the damp sand.

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Just around the corner, a rather strange ‘gateway’ to Roker Park.

Don’t let it put you off.  It’s rather a nice little park, especially when the Roker Lights come to town in September.

In no time at all we’re back on the sea front, and there ahead of us stands proudly curvaceous Roker Pier.

img_5490 Remember I mentioned those sneaky clouds?  Well, just for a few seconds…

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…a drop or two of rain plops on the sand.  But it’s gone in a whisper, making me doubt it was even there.  I stroll back in the direction from which I’ve come, smiling at a dog walker, and a lone maiden on a rock.

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For a moment I fancy she might just be a mermaid.  That’s what happens when you watch ‘Splash’, the movie, on Christmas TV.  Heading north again, did you spot the selfie on the beach?

There’s a good incentive to carry on around this bay.  On the edge of Whitburn, Latimer’s deli and fish restaurant is a great little spot, looking out to sea.  On a summer day you’ll be fighting to sit out on the sun terrace. Today it’s just that little bit cool, and squeezing inside is more desirable.

The lobster salad was such a good price, and looked delicious.  I modestly settled for a lovely fish chowder. Maybe next time?  I hope you’ll join me.

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Thanks everyone for spending time with me today, and the whole of the year.  I’ve loved having your company.  I’m going to be missing for a few weeks because next Monday I’ll be on my way to the Algarve.  I have 2 weeks to enjoy, and recharge my batteries.  I don’t blog while I’m away, so the next walk will be posted on 23rd January.  That seems a long way off.  You might have forgotten me by then.  If not, I’ll be open for walks as usual. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

Let’s enjoy some great walks now, shall we?  I’ll pop the kettle on first.

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You can always rely on Anabel for a bite to eat along the way :

A walk round Overtoun Estate

Indra’s in British Columbia, and very beautiful it looks too :

Kelowna…. Nature’s Playground

Sunshine in your eyes?  And the ‘white stuff’, with Drake :

Snow in the eyes

Beautiful architecture as Jude follows in my footsteps, along the river bank :

Norwich Part III : Wensum riverside walk

I know she’d love the fruit and flowers in Lady Lee’s Philippines :

Sonya’s Garden – Urban floral displays

Jackie found lots of ice in Florida.  An unusual, if expensive, treat :

Charlie Brown’s Christmas

Not so chilly at the beach, with Geoff and Dog :

Hag Stones#poems#poetry

And where’s Woolly this week?  Dodging snakes it seems!

Jo’s Monday-Walk-06 Geelong Botanic Gardens 

Denzil always enjoys a breath of fresh air and a stretch of the legs :

Walking around Wonck

I’m quite jealous that Sophie managed to get onto these walls :

The walk on the wall of Pisa

And I’m determined to get to Cornwall next year for these scones.  Thanks, Carol!

The End

Have you come across the London Wlogger?  The lady features very informative London walks :

King’s Cross to Hampstead Heath : Unlocking London’s beauty

Finishing with a little piece of leftover Christmas magic from Drake :

Dreaming about so much

And closer to home- you’ll like this, Jude!- Jaspa shares some Cornish lights :

Mousehole Harbour Christmas Lights

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  I’ll be around till the New Year, walking of course, if the opportunity arises.  Make the most of your relaxed time, before we dive into 2017.

Jo’s Monday walk : Souter Lighthouse

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My part of the north east coast of England is littered with lighthouses!  The jagged coastline traditionally needed the big guys to flash a warning to passing ships.  Times have changed, but the coastline remains as rugged as ever.

Souter Lighthouse was the first in the world to be designed and built specifically to use alternating electric current.  The lighthouse opened in 1871, and was decommissioned in 1988.  It continued as a radio navigation beacon until 1999, when it was finally closed. Today the National Trust own the property and open it to the public.

It’s only a couple of weeks since I was at Roker lighthouse, on a properly murky day.  This walk heads north from there, along the cliffs to the magnificent lighthouse at Souter.  There’s a long promenade backing the fine stretch of beach, perfect for galloping horses.  A straggle of charming houses follow the bay.  I’m tempted to take a seat.

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Did you spot the fish restaurant sign?  Latimers boast smoked haddock, leek and potato pasties.  Noted, for later.  A sign on the cliff top claims 6 and three-quarter miles to the Tyne Ferry.  We won’t be going that far.  The smooth expanse of beach left behind, below us rocks scatter the shoreline. Fascinating grooves and grottoes hug the cliff’s base.  The potential for shipwreck is easy to see.

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Ahead, in the grass, a stone circle has been formed, not unlike a maze.  I don’t understand its significance, but there are old military bunkers nearby. The track is a little slippy from recent rain and, peering at the rock formations below, I lose my footing.  No damage done!  But, looking at the seat of my jeans, I realise that I’m not quite presentable enough for a restaurant.  I hope you weren’t looking forward to that pastie.

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My favourite part of the walk lies ahead.  The stacks teeter at the water’s edge, harbouring only gulls on lookout duty.  A first glimpse of Souter’s flamboyant red appears on the horizon.  Nearing, I can see the indentations in the rock face, and the stranded islets, clinging to shore.

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And then the cove known as The Wherry.  In former times there was a Lad’s Wherry and a Lassie’s Wherry, for fishing expeditions and picnics in the bay.  A central rock split the bay in two.  Nowadays, in part due to erosion, the sea separates the rock from the shoreline at high tide.

Souter lighthouse is about 3 miles south of the River Tyne.  Beyond the river, 7 miles to the north, St. Mary’s lighthouse at Whitley Bay is a sister Victorian lighthouse to Souter.  With good visibility, the one can be seen from the top of the other.

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I love the sound of a foghorn but, were I married to a mariner, the sound would fill me with dread.  The Souter foghorn has seen several incarnations, and is still occasionally sounded on special event days at the lighthouse.

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Souter lighthouse was revolutionary.  Quoting from Wikipedia, “the 800,000 candle power light was generated using carbon arcs and not an incandescent light bulb, and could be seen for up to 26 miles.  In addition to the main light a red/white sector light shone from a window in the tower below the lantern, to highlight hazardous rocks to the south; it was powered using light diverted (through a set of mirrors and lenses) from the landward side of the main arc lamp.”  As Souter was never automated, it remains pretty much in its original operational state.  I thought that this might make a good subject for Paula’s Traces of the Past.

The grassed area north of Souter was once a thriving mining community of 700 people.  It was completely demolished after the mine closure in 1968, and the population rehoused in new council housing in Whitburn.  A brief history of Souter can be found on the National Trust website, along with details of opening times and how to get there.

Now I know that you will be worrying about your stomach by now.  Latimers having been ruled out, I’m glad to inform you that the lighthouse has its own very pleasant cafe.  Would you like to try a ‘Singing hinnie’?  A warm griddle scone.

Sadly I cannot take you into the lighthouse.  It was half term on my visit and very busy, I’m pleased to say.  Maybe another time?  You might also like my Roker Pier walk.  I’m up to my second cup of coffee this morning, after a spectacular sunrise. Please put the kettle on and join me in a visit to some great blogs.walking logo

Many thanks to all of you who contributed this week.  I’m really happy you can still find time to join me.  For any newcomers, you can find details on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.

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Benches or snow?  Which is it to be?  Let’s start with a Gallivant in the woods!

Cashel Forest

I’ve never been to Mexico, but Jackie’s making up for me.  Puerto Vallarta this week :

Sunday Photo and Monday Walk

Amy finds the perfect bench for Jude, while I just laze on the beach!

Monday Walk : A Beach Walk and February Garden : Monochrome

I was blissfully happy with Drake this week, even wearing my gloves!

Cool art in winter mood

Turns out I couldn’t even say this correctly, but now I’ve had lessons from Smidge :

Culross, Fife

I just about managed to avoid getting splashed by Debbie this week :

Broadstairs to Margate : an easy coastal walk

Or absolutely drowned by Jaspa!

Rough Seas Off Land’s End, Cornwall

Wild water doesn’t seem to stop life from happening Down Under, with Pauline and Jack :

Amazing sights at the beach

Finishing with spectacular beauty in Hawaii!  I’ve told Carol I’m green  🙂

Eyeing the Needle

Thanks again, everyone!  I love having your company.  Have a great week!  If you’re needing some travel inspiration, pop over to Monday Escapes. See you there!

Six word Saturday

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Having fun on a murky day

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It was one of those days when you just need a breath of air.  Salt spray, the wind in your hair…  Roker Pier.  Where else?  A stride across the sands, rain at your back…  Then back along the cliff top, past Bede’s Memorial.

No children in the playground.  It’s a bit damp, and the big brothers and sisters will be in school.

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Jack Sparrow’s on his own this weekend.  Our first snow arrived overnight.

What did you get up to this week?  Got time to share six words with Cate?

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you have planned.  I’ll see you on Monday, for a walk?  We have a date with some waterfalls.

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Jo’s Monday walk : Roker pier

Roker lighthouse

Roker lighthouse

There’s nothing I like better than standing at the foot of a lighthouse and looking up!  Especially when, as in this case at Roker, Sunderland, the pier has been newly restored and it’s possible to walk right out there.

Newly restored Roker Pier

Newly restored Roker Pier

Last week I mentioned that I might have to repeat some of my walks.  This is a variation on one I’ve previously done but with the addition of the newly accessible pier.  Mind you- it was bitter cold out there, but it didn’t seem to deter whole families of hardy northerners. Toddlers skippetty-hopped along, tugging parents hands, or racing ahead on ‘Christmas-new’ bikes and scooters.

600 metres long, Roker Pier is 111 years old and grade II listed.  Enormous seas had rendered it unsafe for the public, and a restoration programme began last June.  It reopened in November. Further work is planned to both pier and lighthouse, but I really should start at the beginning of the walk, so grab your warmest coat and woollies.  It’s time to go.

This was my start point- note the frost!

This was my start point- note the frost!

The sun was fighting hard  to melt the frost

The sun was fighting hard to melt the frost

A last remnant of 'The Red House'

One last remnant of chimney pot

Part of the Riverside Sculpture Trail, the group above are entitled ‘The Red House’, and are just beyond the National Glass Centre, where you can park for free.  The trail continues towards the marina which, because of its situation, is probably the warmest spot on our walk today.  In fact, I distinctly remember an elderly couple sitting on a bench, backs to the wall and faces lifted reverently to the sun.  Overcoats on, of course!

The first sighting of the pier

The first sighting of the pier- note the hard frost on the ramp!

Just beyond the marina and the boatyard, a vista of beach and pier opens up before you.  The concrete bowls on the beach are filled to different levels, representing different phases of the moon.  A promenade leads past a children’s playground to the final item on the Sculpture Trail. This highly polished granite monolith, designed by Andrew Small, has a circular cutout which makes a fine frame for Roker Lighthouse.

The children's playground

The children’s playground

The marble monolith and the pier

The marble monolith and the pier

Roker as described by Wikipedia is a seaside resort.  I doubt that many would lay that claim in these days of exotic holidays, but it still retains a certain charm.  It was news to me that the Roker story goes back to 1587, when the Abbs family were granted land on the north shore of the River Wear.  It was a condition that they provide six soldiers to defend the mouth of the river.

Did I mention that further work needs to be done on the pier?

Did I mention that further work needs to be done on the pier?

The railings could definitely use some TLC!

The railings could definitely use some TLC!

But out on the pier it doesn't seem to matter

But out on the pier it doesn’t seem to matter

 

I didn’t have a band of Northumberland Hussars to pipe me off the pier, like the Earl of Durham, but it would have been nice.  As would a hot drink!  But for that we need to return to the National Glass Centre.  You can pass through the tunnel at the end of the promenade, into Roker Park, and complete a circuit back to the front, or simply retrace your steps.

Be sure to leave yourself time to loiter in the Glass Centre.  You’re bound to like something!

 Even if it's an angel in a  bauble!

Even if it’s only an angel in a bauble!  So, that’s another walk completed!  I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll be back next week, and we’ll wander some more.

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If you’d like to join in my Monday walks, it’s very easy to do.  Just click on the logo or my walks page.  Many thanks to this weeks contributors.  Now, let’s put the kettle on and settle back to read!

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Lovely Debbie from Travel with Intent is joining us this week.  I know you’ll enjoy Glasgow through her eyes. Many thanks, Debs!

The Banks of the Clyde

Paula has an on-going love affair with Corsica and it’s not hard to see why  :

A Walk among the Menhirs

You can count on Cardinal to have a unique viewpoint!  :

Oslo- a Village on Steroids

Again, Jude has me wishing I was on the far side of the world!  :

Hills Road walk

Amy’s back with a bang!  Well, maybe that’s not the right expression around a volcano!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A Monday walk wouldn’t be a Monday walk without Drake, would it?

Friendly minded castle conquest

Please welcome a very distinguished newcomer, from Australia.  Many thanks for joining us, Elizabeth!

New Year’s walk : a giant stairway and a miniature train

And a lovely lady called Lisa joins us from the Bay of Islands  :

Opua-Pahia Coastal Walkway

Rosemay finishes off her zoo walk.  It’s hot!

Tales from Perth, part 2

And then Yvette comes in with a blockbuster of a post!

Shadows in New York City

If you’re not totally worn out, you can even do an evening walk?  Welcome Bon Minou!

Amsterdam at Night

What a selection!  Brilliant, aren’t they?  Have a great week everyone, and happy walking!