Monday, 10 July 2017

Northumberland at Large

I've just had a fabulous few days in Northumberland (including Tyne and Wear and Durham to be exact) visiting an old university friend.  He lives just west of Newcastle in Walbottle and whilst he was at work on Friday I took my Mac - have Mac will travel - down to the Tyne and caught up on emails and my MSc.
2017-07-07 Tyne
That evening Simon and I wandered eastwards along the north side of the Tyne ending up in the central waterfront area.  So lovely to be back here.
2017-07-07 Tyne Bridge
Simon has a wonderful old house which is just across the road from the line of Hadrian's Wall and has a benchmark to boot (see bottom left side of the house).
2017-07-10  Simons BM
He is quite high up, well, 77.28 m above MSL to be precise (yes, we looked up the height of the benchmark) and has amazing views as the sun sets.
2017-07-07 Pink sky
On Saturday is was gloriously sunny and we headed towards the coast, staying south of the Tyne.  As we drove around the A1 I spotted the Angel of the North up on the hill.  Simon hadn't realised I'd never seen it up close (it's a new fangled thing for someone who graduated in 1990) so we hopped off to have a look.  It's a fascinating sculpture - I love the 'panelled' style of the metal work.
2017-07-08 Angel of the North .21.48
We returned to the car and headed off towards Seaham.  As we did I pointed out an atheneum type monument on a local hill.  "Let's go there," said Simon.  And so we did.

It turned out to be Penshaw Monument, a folly built in 1844 and reminding me of a similar structure in Edinburgh.
2017-07-08 Penshaws Monument 12.07.02
2017-07-08 Penshaws Monument 12.02.14
As we wandered up I pointed out that it would be a fine location for a trig pillar.  Simon and I did the same surveying degree so he accepts my geo-geekiness with full understanding and empathy.

Anyway, lo and behold, look what we found around the back!  TP5394
2017-07-08 Penshaws Monument 11.54.27
2017-07-08 Penshaws Monument 11.54.10
We eventually made it down to Seaham and enjoyed a scramble around the rocks...
2017-07-08 Seaham 12.44.52
...ending up at Seaham Harbour.
2017-07-08 Seaham 12.57.32
An interesting First World War memorial - erected in 2014 to mark the 100th anniversary of the start.
2017-07-08 Seaham 13.11.20
Simon was playing at a gig that evening so we had to be home for him to turn around and leave again but, with a spare 15 mins, we popped up to the local remains of Hadrian's Wall at Heddon-on-Wall.  Interesting how many buildings locally are built of this stone.  I'm sure after the Romans left the locals dismantled it for their own dwellings.
2017-07-08 Hadrians Wall .22.12
I stayed in on Saturday night and watched/read the amazing book by Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild, about Chris McCandless.

Sunday was duller weather wise, but still dry, and this time we headed north.  We started off in Bednell wandering around the harbour enjoying the massive cloud show.
2017-07-09 Bednell 12.51.00
The harbour.
2017-07-09 Bednell 12.52.24
We then drove down to Seahouses.
2017-07-09 Seahouses .25.30
And again ambled out to the harbour.  It contained lots of fishing vessels (both commercial and taking tourists out line fishing), divers with massively thick dry suits for their North Sea forays, and numerous ferries shuttling tourists to/from the Farne Islands.
2017-07-09 Seahouses .48.08
We drove out of Seahouses and stopped near the dunes, hopping over to picnic on the beach.  It wasn't too windy so stayed warm however I was not to be tempted to join Simon for a paddle.
2017-07-09 Picnic .50.55
We probably sat there for over an hour playing 'spot the ferry'.  There were 3 to 4 in action and at any one stage we could see 2 as they chugged and weaved in and out of the islands, which you can see on the horizon in the left of the photo.
2017-07-09 Picnic .51.41
Last stop for the day was Bamburgh Castle.  There was a croquet game in flow on the green and I explained the rules to Simon.  I thought everyone played croquet on their grandparents' lawn as a kid. Turns out he played bowls as a kid and no doubt thought everyone did same too.
2017-07-09 Bamburgh Castle .36.00
We consulted the map before heading back and realised that we really were rather close to Holy Island of Lindisfarne and its causeway.  So being fluid with our timings we continued northwards and parked up to inspect the route.  As we'd surmised, the tide would be in, but it was receding at quite a fair lick.
20Holy Island -07-09 Holy Island .06.28
We calculated it was retreating at roughly 1 white line every 3 minutes so it was quite addictive to watch.  However, as the causeway wasn't due to be drivable for another 2 hours, we decided to head back.
20Holy Island -07-09 Holy Island .06.14
Monday saw me working from Simon's house whilst he was working.  I sat and watched the rain drip down being most grateful for the wonderfully dry weather I'd experienced for my first 3 days.  Simon and I have packed a lot in, not to mention hours of university reminiscing, quaffing wine and whiskey and talking nonsense.    It's been a blast!