D20: HARTLEPOOL to MIDDLESBOROUGH
Wednesday 30th January 2019
Today miles: 15.7 Total miles: 272.4
Middlesbrough is a large town that lies on the Southern edge of the river Tees. It’s a heavily industrialised place with huge steel factories, enormous chemical works and many other heavy industries which dominate the whole,area. It’s not exactly the sort of place that somebody would necessarily choose to spend any time walking around, however if I intend too walk the entire coastline I’ll just have too suck it up and except days like today. I drove down to Hartlepool and set off walking along the road towards the marina but first I had to weave my way through the maze of new houses before finally finding the coastal path which runs adjacent to the A178. I noticed that the tide was out so decided to deviate from the ECP and instead walk along the beach at Seaton Sands. Unfortunately that short stage was pretty much the end of decent views for the rest of the day as I could see the massive power station looming large in front of me. I’m now walking the next 4 miles along the grass edge of the A178 with a continual trail of storage depots, brine fields and oil terminals , oh I mustn’t forget the rumble of hundreds of HGV’s
As I approached the Northern bank of the Tees river I turned right but before continuing I took a short break and watched the gondola moving across the Tees Transporter Bridge. This grade II listed structure has connected Middlesbrough to Port Clarence for more then 100 years and can carry up to 200 passengers or 9 cars for the 90 second trip across the Tees. Using this bridge would breach my rules so instead I’m going to walk the additional 2 1/2 miles until I can safely cross the river via the A1032 road bridge. Once again I’m surrounded by factories and more heavy industry, the entire way to the bridge. After crossing the bridge I’m off the tarmac and now walking along a dry earth footpath with the Tees on my left and you guessed it more factories on my right. This wasn’t actually that bad, for long sections there’s a mesh fence on my right with hedgerows and many of the awful factories are hidden from view. It’s also reasonably quite with only the occasional clatter of metal in the distance. As I turn in the meander to walk East the fence and hedgerow disappears to be replaced by several large pipes running adjacent to the official ECP. The Transporter Bridge comes back into view again and about 15 minutes later I’m standing on the other side of the Tees. I’m done for today so I turn South and head towards the car. Not the best 15 miles that I’ve ever walked but not the worst either.