|Two coastal walks and a birthday observed
||[Apr. 17th, 2014|10:35 pm]
I had no real expectation, when we explored a stretch of Sunderland's coastline, that the projected continuous coastal path would ever become a reality. But county by county a path is being traced around the coast of England, and on Tuesday we joined fellow members of the Ramblers' Association to celebrate the completion - and opening - of County Durham's coastal path.
The plan was that the region's local groups would each hold a walk before converging on Seaham for a short ceremony followed by tea at Seaham Hall (a fancy hotel which promotes itself heavily as a wedding venue: it is, after all, where Byron got married, and we know how well that turned out). I don't usually walk with the group: they walk too fast for me, and don't allow for stopping to look at things. But the day's walk was advertised as three and a half miles, leisurely, and I was interested to see how the new path tackled some of the problems - and willing to swell the numbers, too.
It was a lovely bright day, not too windy, perfect for a stroll along the coast. But our walk leader had different ideas, and for reasons known only to himself led us at a brisk pace inland. He was suffering quite badly from toothache, and perhaps his judgement was impaired. And it wasn't a bad walk - too much main road, but some pleasant denes and parkland, and I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Dalden Tower, the remains of a medieval pele tower, which was completely new to me:
The route of the walk - which was more like five miles than three and a half.
I was more philosophical than I might have been about the non-coastal nature of the walk, because J. had offered, as a birthday treat, to take us, on a day of my choosing, for a day at the seaside, with a walk along the beach and fish and chips for lunch. My first thought was to go out today, which is my birthday, but there were other things we wanted to do today, so yesterday J. drove us up to Cullercoats and we walked back along the beach to Tynemouth. After a little recreational shopping (the bookshop in the Land of Green Ginger was closed, but I had fun in the wine shop) we caught a bus, which would have saved us the walk along the front if it hadn't then turned inland and taken us just as far from our destination.
By the time we reached the Harbour View in Seaton Sluice we were well ready for our fish and chips - which was just as well: you need a good appetite to eat there.
I had wondered whether the sculptures we saw on our previous visit on New Year's Day would have survived: but more than that, they had multipled. The girl on a swing had been joined by a mermaid, there was a valkyrie in one of the gardens, and Popeye clutched his tin of something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike spinach, observed by a peg-legged gull:
Today we went swimming, shopped at the Farmers' Market and did some errands: and tomorrow we have another excursion planned.