Wednesday, 29 February 2012

It's only a short walk..........
said Dave as we settled on the metro from Newcastle Haymarket.
Four of us out today for an extra, midweek gadgie walk by coast and country,  Harry, Dave, Herbie and I. Dave has discovered that he has 13 pedometers and feels he should be known as a "pedometer fetishist." Bearing in mind the sad fate of the paediatrician from Plymouth who was attacked by a gang of ignorant vigilantes I think he should take care! Herbie has raided Greggs for sandwiches and his tardis* rucsac is overflowing.
This short walk begins at East Boldon metro station where we got off the train. Immediately out of the station turn right on Station Road, cross over and walk down Cleadon Lane.  At the end turn right onto Boldon Lane and continue to the village of Cleadon. Across the road from the village pond and heading north is Sunniside Lane and after about threequarters of a mile a signpost on the right hand side points you towards Cleadon Hills. Follow the footpath to the top of the hill, unmistakeable as the tower of a windmill sits there, no sails, just a tower.

The windmill on Cleadon Hill.

The view from here is breathtaking. North to Tynemouth Priory and castle, west to Newcastle with St. James' Park** clearly visible, south west towards Consett and south to Sunderland, the Stadium of light also clearly seen.
The footpath going south east towards Whitburn is "Bede's Way", some imaginative person possibly claiming this is the route followed by the Venerable author on his way from St. Peter's in Monkwearmouth to St. Paul's in Jarrow. The path, quite rightly, goes round the edges of the fields to Wellands Farm and a road then takes you to Whitburn where we declared a Herbiespot sitting on a bench in warm February sunlight. The temperature in Durham reached 17.4 C today and it can't have been much cooler in Whitburn. After sandwiches we walked down to the parish church which was first built in the 11th century. Although the building was locked the tower offered evidence of Norman construction. I may well be wrong, I often am according to my wife, but this church does not appear to be dedicated to any saint.

Aconites in Whitburn.

The church does claim to have a ship's bell taken from a Spanish galleon attempting to sail round Britain after the defeat of the Armada in 1588. And Lewis Carroll was inspired to write "The Walrus and the Carpenter" in Whitburn on a visit to his cousin. Furthemore George Farrow, member of the 1953 Blackpool FA Cup winning team came from Whitburn and at the time Blackpool were my team. I watched, as a nine year old, the "Matthew's Final " on a tiny TV, in black and white too.

From the church we walked across a park to the sea front and turned north on the coastal path, the same as the one in "Curry and Rice Pudding". Today there were more cormorants on the stack, some appeared to be nesting already.

Cormorants on a stack off the north east coast.

Walking up the coast we saw, as well as the cormorants, kittiwakes, redshanks, wagtails, pippits and a male sparrowhawk. Good day for the vogelmeister.
At Marsden we left the coastal path, crossed the road and found a footpath  near a caravan site that took us through Marsden Quarry, now a nature reserve, across a golf course and back to the windmill on Cleadon Hill from where we returned to the metro station along the route we had used in the morning.
Although not out in the hills this was a thoroughly enjoyable walk, thanks to the last government for its generosity with bus passes and metro gold cards.
The outdoors GPS claimed 9.92 mile, good old higear made it 10.3 and the pedophiles ASDA chunkies gave an average of 9.55. Dave measured it at 9.8 and my precision German Mapmeasuregefunkengeleit came in at 10. So 10 it was, on a warm February day.
* tardis. Dr. Who, childrens Scifi character on BBC tv travels in a tardis. Originally a policebox, used before radios and mobile phones, they were about 5 feet square but once inside Dr. Who's they become infinite.
**St. James Park. Home of Newcastle United FC . The club owner has renamed it Sports Direct Stadium but not many people seem to listen.