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Saturday, 7 November 2015

In the land of the Makems.... November 6th (Wearside in Durham)
  Not being a native of the north east I do not have a tremendous passion for Newcastle United, but I do watch them. Their great rivals are Sunderland. Sunderland folk are called "Makems". The usual explanation is that when ships were built on the Wear and the Tyne, those built in Sunderland (Wearside) were taken to the Tyne to be completed. Hence the shipbuilders of Sunderland "make them" and the fitter outerers of Tyneside "take them"; Makems and Takems.
  We have a guest gadgie today, another John, John Hall, John Ha, not to be confused with John Hampton, John H. A friend of Brian's, he likes easy walks, who doesn't these days, so we are walking from St. Peter's on the north side of the Wear, to South Shields on the south bank of the Tyne. The walk has not been blogged since "Curry and Rice Pudding" February 24th 2014. It is a true gadgie walk, involving bus/metro passes and we are meeting at St. Peter's Metro station. Easy to follow, no map required. The Tyneside metro system is pretty good. About 30 years old it was built largely on existing railway line but it disappears underground as it approaches Newcastle. On the north bank of the Tyne there is a loop connecting all the riverside towns. The track crosses the river and then goes to South Shields on one track or Sunderland on another.
                                                 True gadgie walk, bus and.......
                                   ..............................    Metro train.

St Peter's is one of the oldest churches in England. Built about 675 AD, added to in the 12 and 13th centuries and remodelled later, its most famous connection is with the Venerable Bede who started his monastic life there before moving to St. Paul's in Jarrow on the south bank of the Tyne. He wrote The Eccliastical History of The English People and several other works. He was made a Doctor of the Church in 1899 by Pope Leo, a bit late really.  he also popularised the use of BC and AD for dating events, but he didn't invent it. Nowadays it is PC to use BCE and CE so as not to offend. A bit like getting rid of pounds and ounces, pints and gallons and proper money. Anyway he is buried in Durham Cathedral.

                                        St Peter's Monkwearmouth. The tower is mostly Saxon and if you walk through it you follow the footsteps of three saints, but I can't remember their names.Possibly Cuthbert, Hilda and Bendict Biscop.

  A big turnout today, John H, John C, Harry, Dave, Brian, Ben, me and guest John Ha.
The walk: You really don't need a map but if you do use OS Explorer 308, Durham and Sunderland and OS Explorer 316 Newcastle upon Tyne.
We crossed the road outside St. Peter's using the subway as we are getting on a bit and the road is busy. The church is signposted and well worth a visit, if you like old churches. There are usually a few people in who will show you round and point out the features. There is also a cafe, but we walked on today down the steps through the University of Sunderland. As an alternative there are some steps by the bridge and if you go that way you walk along the riverside promenade which has replaced industry with some pleasing works of art.
                         The David Puttnam Media Centre, University of Sunderland. David, or Lord, Puttnam made some top class, Oscar winning films, Chariots of Fire etc. For some reason he was made Chairman of the General Teaching Council. At a union meeting I asked why and was told it was because he was interested in education. My reply that I liked films but they didn't make me chairman of the British Institute of Film was met with snarls from the union spokesperson. A woman actually but a right on one.
  Beyond the University buildings is the Sunderland Glass Centre which has a fine display of locally made glass objects and a cafe, but the best bit is the workshop where you can see a demonstration of glass blowing, fascinating, with a live commentary too.
                  The team approach the Glass Centre. The lady I talked to said we all looked fit, it was because we had just started I answered. Perhaps she meant something else.

 Once famous for ship building, Sunderland harbour is quiet these days, apart from this.
  Beyond the Glass Centre the path follows the promenade, beware of fishermen and their rods. It goes round the marina, past some new housing and emerges on the sea front close to Roker Pier. The marina has art work built into the walls.

 Brick art. A miner has his bath in-front of the fire which is a traditional range with an oven. His miners safety lamp is bottom right next to a water bottle.
                                 The marina. Some of the fishing boats had witty names, like "Catch 22"              
                            Roker Pier. Sunderland  AFC had their ground in Roker before they built the Stadium of Light on top of a coal mine.
From here on the path follows the coast except it is necessary to make a detour through Roker Park as some of the promenade is closed for repair.
Near Roker Park we saw what we first thought was a war memorial. It turns out to be a Bede Memorial. I would have had to walk backwards to get it all in so here it is in sections.  

                       On one side is a copy of an old picture of Bede's last hours, and a pointing finger.

                                                                                            Initially most of the path is in front of buildings; houses, hotels, amusement arcades and cafes. Just beyond Whitburn there is an army rifle range. If it is being used you must walk round it but today there was not a soldier to be seen. At the north end of it, by what appears to be an observation post, we called a Herbie Spot.
 This ones especially for you Sue of Forest Hall. Today's treats were: Alpen biscuits, chocolate iced biscuits from Mrs A, flapjacks from www.cakepoppins.co.uk, Yorkshire flapjacks from ASDA, Ben's home made ginger cakes and lovely ginger cake from Mrs Ha. Apparently John Ha was told he had to bring something! No comment on weight until the end. That's Harry's leg on the right, he always stands up to eat.
There are a number of sea stacks along the coast an, as Dave the Geologist pointed out some interesting rock formations.
                                             Sea stacks.
Laid down 255million years ago in dry desert areas in the Permian era this sedimentary rock has been changed by chemical reaction into the concrete looking stuff below, some of the bits are nicknamed cannonballs. I could have been a geologist but I didn't have a hammer.                                                                                                              

Beyond the Herbie Spot is Souter Lighthouse, a National Trust property currently being renovated, hence the scaffolding. It also has a splendid pair of fog horns.
Souter Light House and fog horns. There is a cafe here too.
  Still sticking to the coast the next place of interest is Marsden Rock. A pub built into a cave at the foot of the cliff, accessible by lift. If you want to visit though, check opening times. And further on is Marsden Lee, once a coal mining village, now cleared and grassed with a mysterious car park without an entrance road. The lime kilns remain though.
Marsden Lime Kilns. Plenty of coal and limestone in the area.
There are several bays as you approach South Shields, one being Frenchman's Bay, so called because in the 17th century a French ship hit the rocks and foundered. Good job it wasn't Hartlepool.
As you arrive in South Shields there are cafes, amusement parks, a sports ground and it is of course the end of the Great North Run, the annual Tyneside half marathon. We cut across the park, mainly to see if there were any potchard ducks on the lake, There weren't but it had been a good day for the birders, spotting kestrels, redshanks, golden plovers, lapwings, sanderlings and cormorants as well as the usual LBJs.
 Brain is not a Wetherspoons fan at all, but surprisingly, possibly under duress, he suggested we end the walk there before going for the traditional curry. John C offered the Stag hotel but it had a limited selection of beers so Wetherspoons it was. The time at the end of the walk was about 4pm, the curry houses open at %.30. What's a poor gadgie to do but fill the time in sampling the extensive rang of real ales on offer, and all at reasonable prices. Several pints later some went home and some went to the Asha Restaurant on Ocean Road. This is a favourite eating place for gadgies and is also used for the famous "Curry Night" which have been mentioned before. Curry and Cobra all round, a stagger to the Metro Station and journeys  home after a fine day out and an increase in weight probably with all the drink and food.

The Matrix MMXV ZZZ   (New pedometers being tested today)

                                                                   steps                           miles
Nakosite the new                                       29775                         13.15 need adjusting
LIDL3D                                                    25640                          12.1
Dave's Nakosite                                        25770                          12.1
Dave's LIDL3D                                        22394                           11.4
Dave's USB                                              22211                           11.2
Ben's GPS                                                                                     10.9


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