D19: English Coastal Path

D19: BLACKHALL ROCKS   to   HARTLEPOOL

Monday 14th January 2019

Today miles:  9.2        Total miles:  256.7

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      After our full English breakfast we caught the bus back to Blackhall Rocks hoping for another pleasant day of coast walking.     The weather was similar to yesterday hence gloves and woollen hats were donned from the start. There’s a couple more of those minor annoying ravines to contend with early on.

Pesky ravines

The only noise that could be heard was from the screech of the sea birds as we disturbed each nest in turn along the edge of the cliff. There was the obligatory Golf Course to skirt along near Crimdon Park and shortly after at North Sands we decided to take to the beach as the tide appeared to be going out. The old redundant Steetley pier is not looking it’s best. In its hay day it was part of the steetley magnesium works which once dominated this section of the Hartlepool coast. The walk then returns to the dunes. There’s a brand new housing estate on the right (to replace the old magnesium works) and a nice wooden boardwalk to avoid difficult walking in the soft sand. Yet again there’s too much rubbish scattered in the dunes for my liking. It didn’t take long before we had reached the Northern edge of Hartlepool and we’re walking along to Parton Rocks Headland. The walk around the Headland is complimented by a promenade and several pieces of art spread out along the route. I immediately recognised the statue of the cartoon character Andy Capp propped up outside of the Harbour of Refuge pub. In accordance with political correctness I noticed that they had left out the characteristic cigarette which always hung from his mouth. The original creator of Andy Capp, Reg Smythe was born and lived in Hartlepool. On the Southern end of the Headland the promenade disappeared and it’s replaced with less attractive factories and industrial buildings. We were both feeling hungry so as soon as we spotted a cafe on the A1048 we dropped in for a hot drink and a sausage and bacon sandwich. The next mile or so we continued along the road before reaching Hartlepool marina. We took a short diversion in order to check out the shops at the marina. I hate window shopping (and shopping in general) but just went along to keep the peace.

Hartlepool monkey

At the marina there’s another statue that I recognised, this one not particularly complimentary to the people of Hartlepool. Hartlepool folklore has to that during the Napoleonic Wars a French ship was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool and the only survivor was the ships mascot, a living monkey who was washed ashore. The people of Hartlepool having never seen a monkey nor a Frenchman convicted the monkey of being a French spy. It was hung on the beach in quick time. Since that incident the people of Hartlepool have unjustly acquired a reputation of being a bit thick. Not sure that stories true, but it is funny.

This was a relatively short day and were back at the hotel to pick up the car not long after lunch time.

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