D15: English Coastal Path

D15: BLYTH    to    WALLSEND

Thursday 13th September 2018

Today miles:  17.7           Total miles:   203


Gemma was visiting her mum today so I managed to pursued her to drop me off in Blyth on her way to Newcastle. I quickly walked out of Blyth town and rejoined the ECP just North of Blyth South beach. It was a good start to the day, the sun was shining and there was a pleasant gentle breeze blowing along the dunes. I deliberately slowed down my walking as I’m in no rush today, I even stopped several times just to look out to sea and feel the breeze on my face. After Hartley a good solid dirt track passes through patches of thick gorse bush. I can see St Mary’s Lighthuose looming large in front of me. On arrival at the lighthouse I had a look around the small gift shop and then sat on a wooden bench for a few minutes. I watched as a large group of students clambered tentatively over the wet rocks. St Mary’s lighthouse is located on a tiny tidal island. When the tide is in, the Island is cut off by a 100mt expanse of water which fortunately for me is not the case today and my route was clear. Ten minutes after leaving St Mary’s I arrived in Whitley Bay. Between 1990 and 1993 I managed a pub named ‘The Ship’ in Whitley Bay so I know this place fairly well. It was also a favourite place to visit with my parents when I was growing up. I popped into a popular cafe named ‘The Rendezvous’ which has featured in several TV shows, including Vera. I ordered myself a mug of Latte and a bacon buttie. From there I passed by the dome shaped building of
The Spanish City. The building, originally a concert hall is easily recognised in this part of the country and happily has been redeveloped in the last few years after having sat unoccupied and decaying for the last few decades. In the 1970’s and 1980’s when I visited Whitley Bay the building actually housed an indoor funfair complete with dodgem cars and other rides. It’s now proudly again serving the community as a restaurant and conference centre. Sadly the building next door (where I also once worked) has been demolished. After Whitley Bay I took to the beach. First passing through Cullercoats and then Tynemouth. I noted the Lord Collingwood monument perched overlooking the mouth of the River Tyne. Lord Collingwood was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne and he is famous as the British Navy Admiral who took over command of the British fleet at the battle of Waterloo after Nelsons death. For me he doesn’t receive the recognition that he deserves. I’ve been trying to follow the ECP as closely as possible since Amble but I encountered a problem on arrival in North Shields. I was already aware that there’s a small passenger ferry which crosses the River Tyne between North and South Shields but didn’t give it much thought, however standing here now it’s clear that the official ECP utilises the ferry.
I looked at the map and considered my options. The next place to cross would have been the Tyne foot tunnel at Willington but that’s currently closed. I’m now walking towards the nearest bridge. It means an additional 18 miles along the banks of the Tyne but in my mind jumping on board a ferry is in breach of my ECP rules. To be honest the following 4 miles through the heavy industry of Willington Quay and Wallsend wasn’t that much fun and I’m pleased to finally reach the metro station. It’s going to be a while before I get back to the ECP, I’m planning on several visits to Scotland in the next few months hoping to bag some Munros’s with friends.

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