D18: SUNDERLAND to HARTLEPOOL
Sunday 13th January 2019
Today miles: 15.6 Total miles: 247.5
It’s been more then 3 months since I left the coastal path at Sunderland and as soon as I got the opportunity in 2019 I headed South to continue with my Coastal walk. At the beginning of each year I like to consider my walking goals and options for that particular year. My definite first objective is too complete the Munro’s in Scotland, I’ve only got 30 left (of 282) and I hope to get them finished this year. My second and last target is too get down the coast as far as the town of Boston in Lincolnshire. This is a reasonable objective, it’s not as ambitious as some but definitely an achievable goal for me.
I arrived in Sunderland, with Gemma to keep me company. After a reasonably early start we quickly reached the official English Coastal Path. The sun was sitting low in the sky and as I ambled along the bright light was glaring in my eyes, forcing me too walk with my head down. Not for the first time I was disappointed with the amount of household rubbish deposited close to the ECP. The first hour of walking was pleasant enough and we saw plenty of decent views. The disappointment occurred when I descended down into Ryhope Dene, I discovered several large piles of garbage spread across the foot of the dene. I appreciate that local authorities have limited resources but it would only take two people a couple of hours and a van too move the mess. There were at least two old fridges, a double mattress and a microwave oven. Not long after climbing out of Ryhope Dene we left Northumberland County and instead entered County Durham and soon after the small town of Seaham. Despite it now being a cold and overcast Sunday the town of Seaham was fairly busy and there’s a lot of people walking along the sea front. There’s an impressive work of art named ‘The Tommy’ on the promenade.
The rusted red steel statue depicts a World War l soldier, sitting on top of an ammo box, holding his rifle with his head hanging down. It’s a detailed and thought provoking piece of work. We decided to grab something to eat and a hot drink at one of the many sea front cafes before moving on towards Easington Colliery.
The 3 miles between Seaham and Easington were some of the most pleasant miles I’ve walked. The scenery of low cliffs leading to small sandy coves and various sea birds nesting amongst the cliffs was a pleasure to walk along. There was a brief moment where Gemma spotted a herd of cows in the distance and she looked at me hoping we wouldn’t be heading in their direction, we weren’t. As we approached first Horden and then our destination of Blackhall Rocks we noticed that several times the path descended down into a ravine and then reascended again, most of these were shallow but one or two were deep and steep and a pain for my knees at the end of a long day. We moved away from the coastline where it met up with a minor road towards Blackhall Rocks. A short wait and before long the bus turned up and then took us to our hotel in Hartlepool.