Geoffrey, Robin, Steve and I set off in reasonable weather via the Metro system to Tynemouth, using the northern loop on the old British Rail route. From the elegance of the recently restored Tynemouth station, we made our way past Tynemouth Priory and Castle towards the North Pier, to begin the walk along the River Tyne from ‘mouth to source’.
Alas, because of the poor weather forecast the pier was closed, so, after a short prayer, we began … by retracing our steps back towards the town ! We quickly branched off though, and followed the promenade along the shoreline, under the monument to Admiral Lord Collingwood, past the notorious Black Midden Rocks, towards the North Shields Fish Quay.
After a pleasant stop for a coffee in a delightful café, we walked on past the many fishmongers’ premises along the Quay towards the former ice plant and Customs building, now apparently all empty, past the impressive High Light building and several larger fishing vessels berthed alongside, before walking down the New Quay ramp to the ferry terminal.
We had only a few minutes to wait before the ferry arrived, and it quickly carried us over to the south bank. There were good views of the Fish Quay (bathed in sunshine), and up river too, where we could see dark stormclouds gathering – a portent of wet weather later perhaps !
From the ferry landing in South Shields, we walked past the redeveloped quayside until finally turning inland (and up) towards the Arbeia Roman Fort. It was also closed, so we continued on through the town, past the Museum building, past the statue of the soldier with the donkey (need to look that up on the internet) and underneath the Metro line, towards the Market Square, hoping to view the interior of St. Hilda’s church … but it too was closed !
With lunchtime approaching, we needed to find a seat out of the wind to eat, and a bench in the Market Cross provided the ideal location – well, nearly, if we avoided the pigeons and seagulls. I suppose we could have gone to the café in Morrisons, but that would have been cheating, wouldn’t it ?
After lunch, we set off back towards the River Tyne and the Ferry landing stage, intending to follow the Sustrans cycle route along the riverside, towards Jarrow and Hebburn. Just as we were leaving our somewhat sheltered lunch stop though, rain began to fall, and as it increased in intensity, we decided that there was little point in continuing with the route as planned. We headed directly to Chichester Metro station therefore, and had only a short time to wait before an Airport train arrived to carry us homewards.
A slightly disappointing end to an otherwise interesting day, but we had made a start on our River Tyne ‘mouth to source’ series of walks.
PS I did remember to look up the information about the soldier with the donkey statue in South Shields High Street – see the link.
and also a bit of history about Palmersville, one of the Metro stops on the northern loop –