Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Marsden Bay

I've been absent from blogging and commenting due to being very busy then going away to the Leeds Festival. Normal service will resume shortly after I've caught up with reading blogs.

The other weekend some friends and I got together for a walk around Marsden Bay near South Shields. We hadn't done many walks around this area so it would be a good opportunity to explore somewhere closer to home rather than trekking all the way to the Peak or Lake District.

We followed this route but started from a slightly different location as we parked near Souter Lighthouse. It took us a good 3-4 hours because we kept stopping to explore the beaches and cliffs.

From Souter Lighthouse we turned south and followed the coastal path toward Whitburn coastal park amid squalls of rain. I began to regret wearing shorts! We spent a good hour exploring the rocky beaches of the bays we passed by. It took me back to the rocky beaches of my North Yorkshire seaside childhood and many summers' afternoons spent exploring the rockpools looking for sea anemones and winkles. The first bay we passed was probably called Wherry Bay. I can't remember the exact name and can't find the name on my OS map, but there was a little plaque explaining the left-hand side of the bay was used for fishing and the right-hand side was called Ladies' Bay since the flatter rocks were better for women and children to go bathing.

We also saw a couple who were wearing heavy-duty wetsuits and had two Newfoundland dogs on leads. My friend, who is more socially fearless than me, asked what they were planning to do. They were planning to go in the water with the dogs and the wetsuits were protection against the North Sea chill.

I think this is a place called Wherry Bay. Left and right are separated by the mound in the middle.

Wherry Bay?

Starfish! I've never seen one in the wild before.

Sea Anemone in a rockpool.

We turned southwards again and headed onwards. We kept heading south along the coast toward Whitburn and passed some old coastal defences and fields full of cows and sheep. The weather began to clear up and the sun came out.

We went too far south and had to walk through Whitburn to get back on track. We turned inland and headed for the windmill, through Well House Farm and upwards into gently rolling fields of corn. Eventually we came to the Cleadon Hills conservation area.

Cleadon Water Tower on the inland portion of the walk.
Penshaw Monument in the distance taken from the Cleadon Hills conservation area.

Next we headed downhill and eastwards toward the sea. We walked through a golf course and onto the coast road. We passed Marsden Bay, Marsden rock and remnants of the area's industrial past.

Marsden Bay

Marsden Rock
Mine workings near Marsden Bay?
Mindful of the carpark closing time we hurried past Marsden Grotto, although we did pause for an ice-cream. What trip to the seaside is complete without a 99?

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