Monday, September 28, 2009

The Industrial North-East

The coast between Yorkshire and Northumberland is one of little known beauty and poorly hidden beasts. Brian, Peter and I met at the historic headland at Hartlepool on Friday morning for a paddle to Teesmouth. The launching spot is down a set of steps through a sandstone archway the old town wall onto a small beach called Fish Sands. As we paddled along the shores of Hartlepool Bay we kept ourselves entertained in the surf that was breaking gently on the smooth sands of Seaton Carew.

The industrial tangle of Teesmouth makes a dramatic backdrop to an otherwise flat coastline.

On Saturday we were joined by Glen and his partner Dee. Whilst us lads set about paddling from Blyth to Cresswell,  Dee helped with the logistics before looking for some horses to ride. Heading north from Blyth the coastline has all of the trappings of heavy industry (more past than present). The scenery begins to show signs of rural life where the River Wansbeck enters the sea on the approaches to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. 

To help prevent coastal erosion Newbiggin Bay has a new breakwater complete with a huge sculpture of a couple gazing out to sea.

Lynemouth Bay lies to the north and hosts the aluminium works and power plant creating an awkward interruption to the otherwise slow but sure transition from industrial to rural coastline.

Journeys end was on the unspoilt sands of Druridge Bay just outside the rosy village of Cresswell in Northumberland.

Sunday morning saw us heading to North Shields at Tynemouth for a trip north along the coast to Blyth where we had started our trip the day before. We Paddled out of the River Tyne entrance and turned north beneath the iconic silhouette of the Tynemouth Priory. We paid a brief visit to Longsands beach where Glen swam in the challenging 6 inch surf.

We passed St Mary's Lighthouse before battling with strong offshore winds as we passed Seaton Sluice on our way to finish the day at Blyth Beach.

Finally, on Monday Brian, Peter and I finished off with a short paddle round Coquet Island before starting the long haul home back west.

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