Thursday 21 May 2015
Sunderland to Whitley Bay
Esplanade Lodge Guest House
Today I crossed 2 rivers, the Tyne and the Wear. First up was the Wearmouth Bridge, linking the 2 halves of Sunderland.
A pleasant walk follows the cycle way to the end of the coast-to-coast cycle route (which I did in 2010) and there are plenty of information boards to read. Once past the Wear mouth it’s North to South Shields along a lovely bit of coastline. The beaches are long and sandy and the magnesian limestone cliffs have eroded and left a few interesting stacks and caves.
The Wherry is a quaint little bay with a rock stack in the middle that used to divide the boy’s side from the girls’ when it was popular in the early 1900s.
Souter lighthouse is the landmark at Lizard Point and overlooks Marsden Bay, the site of Marsden Rock.
The Rock used to be bigger and was a distinct landmark for passing boats to navigate by and for people to congregate on (saw a great photo of a Mass taking place on the rock in 1910). The coastline around here was a smuggler’s paradise as well as being good for quarrying. Marsden had a quarry, limestone kilns and a purpose built village on the cliff that was demolished when the industry closed and now there’s no trace of it.
The walk around the South Shields headland was more dull, although there were plenty of quirky sculptures and things to see.
The council were busy building up the beach.
I caught the foot ferry across the Tyne to North Shields and then walked along the old Tynemouth quayside, now devoid of industry but with a few cafes and fish shops. Tynemouth headland, and the town on the cliff, looks very nice. Fantastic position for the 14th Century castle and Benedictine priory, where 3 kings were buried.
A walk along Long Sands beach brought me to Whitley Bay, a slightly run down resort in the process of being ‘improved’.
The South side of the town overlooks the pretty Cullercoats Bay with its history of fishing, lifeboats and as a destination for artists.