Another fine though chilly morning for our second Tyne Trail. Steve, Clive and Geoffrey joined me for the journey on the Metro to South Shields, where we disembarked and headed down to the Ferry Terminal to begin the walk.
Our first place of interest was The Customs House, created in 1848 as an additional part of the Newcastle Collection; it has now been turned into a venue for the performing arts and an art gallery. We followed a slightly tortuous route around the surrounding area, passing the refurbished Dalton’s Lane warehouses and on to Commercial Road.
This next part of our walk took us past … lots of commercial premises ! Some new, some in need of a little TLC, and some closed, but we did get a view of the detained Donald Duckling ship, over the dock wall, as we walked down West Holborn.
Back onto Commercial Road, and along Temple Town, we passed more examples of the mix of old and new commercial enterprises; small hotels, public houses and factories. One interesting panel on a brick wall commemorates those employees of the West Docks who served their country in the Great War.
Eventually we approached the warehouses of the Port of Tyne, and admired the three storied, wooden bow fronted houses of Thornton Avenue, built in 1890, and the former Tyne Dock pub on the corner.
The next stretch of footpath was as correctly described in the book – uninspiring; though we were intrigued by the patterns created on a adjoining stone wall by the incorrect use of pointing mortar, and the old (and closed) Alkali pub – a reminder of olden days and the industries that existed hereabouts.
Eventually we emerged into a greener environment, detoured into a small area of (rather soggy !) parkland before returning to the road near the road bridge over the River Don. From here we had a good view of the old Jarrow Bridge, which gave the original access to St. Paul’s Monastery from the causeway around Jarrow Slake. It was restored in 1999.
Our steps then led us off to the right to St. Paul’s church, but there was a service taking place, so we had to forgo a look inside. It gave us the oppportunity to sit in the flower-bedecked churchyard though, for a coffee break before we made our way to the Bede’s World museum and heritage centre in the grounds of the old Jarrow Hall.
We had insufficient time to do justice to the centre with a visit, so had our lunch seated at a convenient table near the entrance, where a knowledgeable guide gave us a brief the history of the area. (Also see http://northeasthistorytour.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/king-ecgfriths-port-nz345655.html ) with reference to ‘King Ecgfrith’s Port’.
Time moved on, as it does, and so did we … back onto Slake Road alongside the River Don. At the end of this path, we spotted a couple of car carrying vessels moored up alongside the Nissan Quay, before we turned inland via Curlew Road to Priory Road. Turning down towards the river again, we were eruditely instructed about the massive gas holder that we passed on our way to the Riverside Park, but rather lost our way near to the (currently closed) Pedestrian Tunnel entrance.
The inverted cone shaped Road Tunnel ventilation shaft guided us back to Chaytor Street, Ellison Place and finally to Ellison Street (past Sir Charlie’s Restaurant – shades of Sir Charles Palmer, whose statue we missed in Riverside Park !) and the Metro Station for our journey home. Another less than visually inspiring walk, but good company and chat, plus a nodding acquaintance with Bede, meant that we’d enjoyed another Footloose Walk.