Sunderland

Jo’s Monday walk : A Tall Ships Treat

A visit from the Tall Ships is always a special occasion, but when it coincides with a significant birthday there is an opportunity to make it very special indeed.  When Thursday dawned cool and grey, I thought I might’ve made a mistake with my husband’s birthday surprise.  But, the tickets were bought, and I’d even purchased train tickets to Sunderland.  He could drink without driving, and not worry over parking.  The pattern of the week had been overcast skies till about 3pm, when magically the clouds rolled back.  Here’s hoping!

To host the start of a Tall Ships Race is a great coup, and Sunderland has made the most of the opportunity.  Leaving the station it’s only about 10 minutes walk to the riverside, and from there you have a choice whether or not to cross over the River Wear.  The ships were berthed on both sides of the river and are nothing short of majestic.  As ticket holders we stayed on the near shore and followed the trickle of people heading down to the quay.  The East End of Sunderland is still undergoing changes to bring this historic area into the 21st century.

The Tall Ships will race over a thousand nautical miles in 3 weeks.  The first leg races from Sunderland to Esbjerg in Denmark, then to Stavanger in Norway, and finally to Harlingen in the Netherlands.  You can see the full line up of over 50 ships on the Tall Ships website.

Despite grey skies they were an awesome sight as we made our way along the quayside.  Various entertainments were on offer, and we paused for a few minutes to observe Martin Lewis of the ‘Money Show’, taking questions from the audience.  On the far shore, next to the National Glass Centre, a full scale fairground was in progress, and some of the ships had entertainment on board.

No time to linger at this stage.  We had a destination.  Unbeknownst to my husband I had booked a 2 hour sail on a Tall Ship.  Until we checked in I did not know which.  Enjoying a drink at the bar, we waited for our number to be called.  Half an hour later we were boarding the beautiful  Wylde Swan from the Netherlands.  The largest two-mast topsail schooner in the world, she was built for speed.  The story of our voyage was the subject of this week’s Six Word Saturday so I’ll simply say that it was magnificent.  The crew demonstrated their proficiency, hauling on ropes and tying sails, yet still finding time to engage with their passengers.  The camaraderie as they worked together was a joy to see.  As we returned to port the sun, which had been hovering behind the clouds, finally broke free and we were bathed in golden sunlight.

It was a long walk down the quayside and I had spotted a pub with a bird’s eye view of the festivities.  Naturally this involved a number of steps, but the sun terrace of the Boar’s Head was worth it.  Built in 1724, beside Youlls Passage where press gangs were reputed to work, the pub was later frequented by Laurel and Hardy.  Peggy Potts, a local brandy smuggler, lived just 50 metres away, and her family are said still to be patrons. We basked in warm sunshine and friendly chatter with the locals.

More strolling was required after our lunch, and there was plenty still to see.  Entertainers were either resting or setting up for a performance, and many of the crews were at ease.  Further along the quay the ships grow smaller, the industry of the port an interesting backdrop.

Our feet were tiring by this stage and there was still the walk back to the station.  A convenient icecream van was just what we needed.  The event was rounded off with fireworks each evening, and on Saturday a Parade of Sail, as the ships left harbour to begin the race.  If they didn’t manage to find a Cooling breeze or two, I don’t know who would! (do join Leya for this week’s brilliant Lens-Artists Photo Challenge).  And how could I forget Cathy?  I love what she’s doing over at Wander.essence!

The walks I share are all so very different in style and content.  Please find time to visit as many as you can, especially if it’s a blogger you don’t know.  Many thanks to all of you for sharing and for your wonderful company.  Kettle on?  We’re good to go, here at Jo’s Monday walk!

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Self-realisation is a wonderful thing, especially if you can share it with Elaine :

A quiet walk

When I said to Drake that I always wanted to visit Annecy, he came up with the goods!

Pure idyllic transitions

South Carolina!  There’s another dream for you!  Salt marsh, I’m familiar with from the Algarve :

A walk on the wildlife side

I can’t resist Meg, and her close scrutiny :

Sunday bushwalk

Lichens, fungi, grass, tree bark and herbal cures… you’ll find them all at Meg’s :

Weekend strolls

I’m not a great cook, but Lady Lee could tempt me with her chicken and cashews :

Food, glorious food!

But if all else fails, Jackie has a good idea :

Picnic

Who doesn’t sing along when the Bee Gees are on?  And maybe strut your stuff?  With Carol, of course!

Born to Sing

Or you could try a bit of gold digging?

Gold Fever

Meet Melanie and say hello to Captain Cook, while we’re Down Under :

Melbourne- It’s a Walk in the Park

This sounds a bit like a radio programme, but take a turn with Anabel.  You’ll love it!

Ambles from Ambleside

I don’t know anyone who writes better garden posts.  Another beauty from Jude!

Garden View: Bonython Manor Gardens

Seeing the title I thought Amanda might have a ship or two.  Far from it, but this is a wonderfully lyrical post :

Walking Around in Whitby

And finally, Cathy surprises me with a lovely swathe of bluebells :

Riverbend to Great Falls : the Bluebell Path

That’s it for another sweltering week.  Hope it’s fine where you are, but if you need a drop of rain then I hope it lands.  Take care till next time!

Six word Saturday

Riding the North Sea in style!

Click on the gallery to read the story of our adventure on the high seas.  A very special person had a significant birthday and we celebrated in style.  Our Tall Ship, ‘Wylde Swan’ from the Netherlands, was a beauty and the crew worked hard to give us a wonderful experience.  Even the weather cooperated, after a very grey start.  All was smooth sailing.

Is anybody counting?  Debbie keeps tally over at Six Word Saturday.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Jo’s Monday walk : Boxing Day Blues

img_5473

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.

img_5462

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

img_5468

img_5470

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

img_5474

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

img_5477

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…

img_5492

…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.

img_5496

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.

walking logo

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.

…………………………………………………………………..

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.

Winter Gardens, Sunderland

IMG_2365

I really didn’t think I was going to have quite so much fun when I suggested to Jude that I might visit the Winter Gardens in Sunderland. It’s a number of years since I was there, and I had completely forgotten about the extensive gardens of Mowbray Park, adjoining Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.  The luxury of a bright, sunny morning was all the invitation I needed.

It’s a bit of a rags to riches story.  In 1831 Sunderland recorded its first cholera epidemic, and a health inspector recommended that a leafy area would benefit the town.  A grant of £750 was provided by the government to buy a plot of land from local landowners, the Mowbray family, and turn it into a park.  On 12th May, 1857, shops closed early and thousands flocked to attend the opening ceremony.  In 1866 a lake and terraces were added and, in 1879, the Winter Gardens and museum.

IMG_2371

For me, one of the park’s most attractive features is the cast iron work.  When the Second World War came along many of the iron structures, including bridge and bandstand, were taken away to be melted down for weapons, and open space was converted to vegetable patches.  Fortunately a huge restoration programme took place in the 1990s.  Many features, including the William Hall Drinking Fountain shown above, were renewed.

It being January, plants had taken a bit of a back seat, but I was delighted to come upon an early rhododendron bursting into bloom, and a cheery carpet of aconites, pierced by spikes of snowdrops.  The gazebo, I found tucked in a contemplative corner.

IMG_2373

IMG_2381

IMG_2388

Sunderland has strong links with the author Lewis Carroll.  A walrus sculpture by the lake commemorates the link.

IMG_2395

I bet you’re itching to get inside those Winter Gardens now, aren’t you?  There’s a surprise or two in store.

IMG_2411

IMG_2414

IMG_2421

The plant house towers high over your head, and a spiral staircase carries you up to the canopy.  Rising through it, a colossal water sculpture, designed by William Pye.  It’s hard to resist touching the column of moving water.

IMG_2440

The Winter Gardens cater well for children, seeking to engage as well as educate.  I dodged around several parties of small children, engrossed in identification of plants and doing much better than me.

Of course, you can only find bougainvillea in a hot house.  Just the place for me!  The museum was quite fascinating too, and I promise to take you back there one day.  For now, you’d better hurry if you have a Winter Garden to share with Jude.

Six word Saturday

6ws-participating-in-banner

Having fun on a murky day

IMG_2066

IMG_2075

IMG_2077

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.

IMG_2096

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.

6wsButton

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.

walking logo

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!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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!

A new exhibition

Magdalene Odundo exhibit, National Glass Centre

Magdalene Odundo exhibit,  National Glass Centre, Sunderland

Last week I suggested that it was a great time of year to visit museums.  One of my very favourites in the North East of England is the National Glass Centre at Sunderland.  I’m always excited to see the new creations and exhibitions.

The shot above is of Magdalene Odundo’s Transition II and you can see a video of its creation on the link.  It was captivating seen from any angle.

I love the shadows, rippling across the floor

I love the shadows, rippling across the floor

With the occasional flare of colour

With the occasional flare of colour

Of course, I couldn’t resist the lure of the display cabinets and the new items in there.

Isn't this a lovely piece?

Isn’t this a lovely piece?

IMG_5376

And, naturally. there were owls!

And joyful elephants- why not?

And joyful elephants- why not?

I imagine you can see just why I love going there.  Maybe we’ll pop in again on my Monday walk, next week.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “New.”

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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?

A Lingering look through glass factory windows

Looking out of the National Glass Centre, Sunderland

Looking out from the National Glass Centre, in Sunderland

In my Monday post A promenade to Roker we took a walk through Sunderland’s ship building past.  Though ships are no longer built here, a thriving cargo trade has developed on the River Wear today.  The National Glass Centre occupies the former site of J. L. Thompson and Sons shipyard, on the north bank of the river, and is witness to most of the comings and goings.

Glass making was introduced to Britain from France in 674, specifically for the windows of the Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory, which stood not far from here. The industry thrived on cheap local coal in the 18th century, and Sunderland gradually established a name for glass.  The Pyrex factory was based here until its closure in 2007.

The construction of the National Glass Centre in 1998 was a bold move, part of a regeneration scheme in a declining area.  Today the centre is free to visit, with daily guided tours.

Keep an eye on the boats while you admire the glassware

You can keep an eye on the boats while you admire the glassware

I know someone who loves owls!

I know someone who loves owls!

Part of the fascination is watching the glass workers ply their trade.

Behind glass, of course!

Behind glass, of course!

There's bound to be an element of danger

There’s bound to be an element of danger, isn’t there?

The building itself is quite interesting, and there’s a restaurant looking out onto the riverside.

Just a few more reflections

And in the vestibule, possibly my favourite thing- this suspended glass sculpture.

Let's raise a glass!

Let’s raise a glass!

The National Glass Centre website gives full details of opening times, events and free tours.

I really enjoyed putting this post together for Dawn’s weekly Lingering Look at Windows challenge.  Hope you like it too.

A promenade to Roker

Grab your coat! It's time to go.

Grab your coat!  It’s time to go.

It’s Monday, my usual day for a walk.  Do you fancy a stroll?  I’m starting out today on the banks of the River Wear at Sunderland.  Ship building used to be the mainstay of this area, till foreign competition priced us out of the market.  For a lot of years nothing much happened around here, but gradually life is creeping back in.

The National Glass Centre blazed a trail and it is the start and end point of my walk.  At the river mouth a small marina huddles against that sometimes biting north east breeze.  In its absence, this is a very pleasant stroll, with some quirky sculptures along the way.

But best to head off round the marina

But best to head off round the marina

What can I tell you about Sunderland?  I expect you’ve heard of Geordies, people who hail from Newcastle-on-Tyne, but have you heard of Mackems? The name Mackem (‘make them’) may have derived from the Wearside shipyard workers, who would design and build ships, which would then be taken by the Tyne-siders.  The expression “mackem and tackem” (make them and take them) seems to refer to the rivalry which has always existed between these two cities.

My favourite sculpture is the stained glass boat

My favourite sculpture is the stained glass boat

Beyond the marina the river mouth opens onto the beach front at Roker, newly made over.

With more sculptures

With new sculptures and seating

And numerous rock pools

The beach is full of tempting rock pools

Just the place fro walking your dog

It’s just the place for walking your dog

And admiring the lighthouse

Or admiring the lighthouse

This area is not without its admirers.  Lewis Carroll wrote some of his works in neighbouring Whitburn and local landmarks are believed to be the source of inspiration for his “Alice in Wonderland”.  The painter, L.S. Lowry, regularly stayed at the Seaburn Hotel, here on the front.

The promenade stretches off into the distance and you can walk as far as you like.  Buses run all along the coast so, if you overdo it, you can always hop on a bus back to Sunderland centre.  I think we may have walked far enough for this morning, so it’s time to retrace our steps, and maybe pick up an icecream en route.  A  short detour through pretty Roker Park will bring you back down to the beach.

The lighthouse at Roker

Upper or lower promenade at Roker lighthouse?

An old drinking fountain

An old drinking fountain

Back to the beach, from Roker Park

Back to the beach, from Roker Park

The National Glass Centre has a very nice riverfront restaurant where you can take some refreshments, and maybe fit in a free tour of the glass factory.  I love glass blowing.  Don’t you? But more of that next time.