Day 45 Durham Coast 

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Hartlepool to Sunderland
18 miles
Acorn Guest House

This is what you get with cheap guest houses aimed at contractors: shared bathrooms (no problem), ropey beds, DIY breakfasts and a packed lunch with sandwiches that look like I’ll live longer if I don’t eat them. 

Trying to find my way along the front in Hartlepool was harder than it should have been. The marina has too many dead ends and not enough ways out!  

Looking at The Heugh from the Marina
 Eventually I got out onto a main road and caught the bus to the headland, which is the old part (Harts Island or Heugh). It was rather quaint and I stopped at a cafe that was a converted church for a coffee and breakfast top up. Leaving Hartlepool I walked along the North Sands beach, which was variously golden sands and black sands (well sand covered with sea coal that was once collected to top up that which was mined from under the sea).  

Sea coal on the beach
At Crimdon Park there was a little tern nesting site that was being watched over by volunteer wardens in their hut. Bill offered me a cuppa so naturally I accepted and offered biscuits in exchange. I spent a happy hour listening to Trev’s wisdom on little terns and other animals (he was a poacher turned gamekeeper before he retired).  

Bill and Trev, Crimdon Park Little Tern wardens
 Once I got on the headland the views were amazing and I started on the Durham coast path. Another beautiful part of the country. There are 8 denes that cut into the Durham coast, each one must be crossed or walked around, and that makes it a little hard going but adds to the beauty.  

Blackhall Colliery Dene
 This is coal mining country and the landscape is still recovering even though the last mine closed 24 years ago. The waste used to be dumped over the cliffs but nature is doing a great job of repairing itself. The mining history is clearly still mourned by many and there is lots of art work on the cliffs.  

One of many tributes to the mining heritage
 The coastal views were stunning, especially as it was a glorious afternoon. My favourite views out to sea: bright yellow gorse, lush green grass, deep blue sea and pale blue sky.  

The view along the coast at Dene Mouth
The railway line runs close to the coast here and train travellers must get some good views.  

Castle Eden Dene railway viaduct
 Approaching Seaham I rounded Nose’s Point for a good view of the beach below, which was once the site of a coal mine and before that an iron mine. Now it’s a beautiful beach with only a few scars.  

Beach after mining
 I walked through Seaham to see Tommy, one of many large war memorials I’ve seen in the North East.  

Seaham’s ‘Tommy’
 From Seaham I caught the bus into Sunderland town centre where I was staying for the night. I felt a bit funny walking into town in my Cat One evening dress, but nobody bothered in Wetherspoons. Sat by a group of people and realised I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. Can’t wait for someone to call me ‘pet’.  

The big little tern on the cliff top at Horden (Trev says it shouldn’t have a crest really). Stunning colours of the sea and sky

4 thoughts on “Day 45 Durham Coast 

  1. chris frazer May 21, 2015 / 7:28 am

    A very rare sight you in an LBD…no picture to record the occasion….shame! Lovey pictures of the coast and such beautiful weather…….too bad it will all change in time for the Bank Holiday…Gortex for 96 hours you wait and see. keep going Juice….on on….its up hill now to Elgin.


    • Lucy May 21, 2015 / 9:28 pm

      I think you might be wrong about the weather this weekend. Definitely no photos of me in my dress


  2. jomunday99 May 21, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    It’s hard to get the scale of the denes from the photo – are they basically big v’s cut into the landscape? How big?
    We’re off to the New Forest tomorrow. We’ll miss you!


    • Lucy May 21, 2015 / 9:27 pm

      Have fun camping. I’m hoping to get back under canvas next week when I get to somewhere with campsites. The denes are different sizes but all are as tall/deep as the cliff, they just vary in width from skinny to as wide as the railway viaduct. They all had lots of trees and bushes in them so different to the cliff tops


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