I wish I’d taken the camera!

Happy Saturday to you all!

We actually had a day of sunshine on Thursday :-) That is the first time I’ve seen a blue sky up here since well before Christmas. So I had to go out for a walk……but I didn’t take the camera! However, I did manage to get a few snaps on my phone (which isn’t brilliant but you’ll get the idea). 

I started in the sleepy park where all the trees and plants are slumbering and the ground is very damp.

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This is a huge park constructed in Victorian times. It is on the land sloping steeply down to the sea and has woodland, terraces, a huge pond and a miniature steam railway maintained and run by volunteer enthusiasts.

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When you get to the top of the hill, there are no trees, just a wide expanse of grass. To the east, there is the North Sea. 

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The two piers mark the exit of the river Tyne, where the ferries leave for Scandinavia. Also, the Nissan car ferries come and go every day, laden with new cars made in the nearby factory in Sunderland, bound for the European market. 

ImageCloser to the water’s edge now and looking across to Tynemouth, a small town with a 13th century Benedictine priory where the kings of Northumbria were buried.

This close-up picture of the priory is from http://www.english-heritage.org.uk.

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Next, a stroll up river leads to a dead-end! If you crane your neck almost through the fence into the old boat-yard, you will find a sculpture of a hand. It isn’t possible to take a picture from any other angle. I have no idea why it is here, who made it or what it is called but I like it a lot.

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About turn, back towards the mouth of the river and along the pier….

This is the 13 metre high lighthouse on Herd Groyne. There is a large bell just visible on the left of the white balcony. 

ImageHere is the information board complete with raindrops from a recent sun-shower.

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The piers are subject to the ravages of the sea and in 1897 the North pier was smashed by the storms. The reconstruction took 11 years.

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Now heading south along the dunes. The lighthouse on Herd Groyne is just peeping above the maram grass. Still blue sky!!!!!

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Then….all of a sudden, a clearing in the dunes reveals these statues. 

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I think they are collectively known as “Conversation Piece”. There are 22 copper-bronze figures designed by a Spanish artist called Juan Munoz.

ImageSome people love them, others don’t. There is often much controversy here regarding the spending of “public money” especially when Council taxes are so high. Personally, I love these “people in the dunes”. Almost everyone stops to look at them and they often get the conversation going between onlookers. I’ve also seen real humans talking to the statues, especially toddlers who stand and stare or dance around or sometimes hug them. 

ImageHere, the statue in the background, looking out to sea, has had their view obscured as the dunes have shifted from year to year.

I wonder what this one is thinking…

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Time to wander back up the hill and into the park. When you get almost to the top, you find the bandstand.

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As we strolled through here before Christmas last year we heard the band playing Christmas Carols. As we approached, we were handed a song sheet and just had to join in other passers by who were singing. What a lovely surprise! The Westoe Colliery Brass Band consisted of only a handful of members. The numbers have rapidly decreased since the closures of the coal mines. I remember all of the colliery bands marching through Durham at the annual Miners Gala in the 70’s. That was a fabulous day out every summer. I love the sound of brass bands, particularly when they are outdoors. I used to play trumpet in my school band many moons ago😉

And finally, before we head for the gate towards home, I’ll leave you with some beautiful ironwork on the long row of identical park benches. 

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Thank you to the people of South Tyneside for keeping the area where I live so special and unique😀

Have a wonderful weekend😀

Avis x

 

 

 

 

 

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29 Comments

  1. What a lovely description of the area where you live. I particularly like the group of bronze figures, they reminded me of some sculptures I saw in Chambord Chateau in the Loire.

    Reply
    • Thank you🙂 Yes, it is lovely quiet part of the country with beautiful coastal walks and cycle tracks. Thanks for stopping by. Avis x

      Reply
  2. Tuesday was beautiful here too. A lady made me laugh when she got on the bus and said she had considered wearing her bikini! Oh that’s a lovely walk. Something for everyone there. I love the people and all the public art in your area, was reading about “Northumberlandia” the other day. We will have to visit her. I will show your post to Mr P. He’s originally from the NE and is familiar with lots of the places you mention. He’ll enjoy it.

    Reply
  3. Thank you for sharing – I love to see where my fellow ‘bloggers’ hang out! It looks lovely. We had lots of snow around Christmas, but this week the temps went way up and it is melting…not looking very pretty at the moment.

    I love joining you on your walks🙂

    Reply
  4. Nice Post, and a place with great Art and history. Beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing as always. Mtetar

    Reply
  5. Such a wonderful pathway. Dreamy. Very inviting. Thank you for asking us along……I think I even spy some green grass!

    Reply
  6. Thank you for taking me along on your walk; I got all the benefits except the exercise.🙂

    Reply
    • Ha-ha! Well, to be honest, we were walking so slowly it is highly unlikely we used any calories at all😆 Thanks for popping in! Avis x

      Reply
  7. Great photos Avis. You live in a beautiful area.

    Reply
  8. witchylin

     /  January 13, 2013

    Thank you for posting those lovely pictures Avis. I have visited the lighthouses in the area but had never seen the “Conversation Piece” figures. They are must next time I go to see St Mary’s,Blythe and Souter lighthouses. You did have a lovely day, blue sky and sunshine. Makes you feel spring is on the way.

    Reply
    • Thank you Witchylin. If you park just south of the Tyne and close to the beach then walk towards the mouth of the river, you can’t miss them. Every time I see them I expect them to have moved around a bit, but they are firmly fixed to the ground. As for Spring, Mam’s daffs are coming up but apparently we will have snow tomorrow. I hope not! Have a great week🙂 Avis x

      Reply
  9. Superb blog post, Avis. I like the idea of you taking us on a walk with you. It’s not a part of the UK I’ve ever visited so really interesting. The park bench and bronze sculptures are wonderful. I reckon the motif of the lighthouse and squirrel could feature in a quilt/ applique inspired by this walk! A real memory piece.

    Reply
    • Thank you very much. You guessed! I do plan to do a lighthouse stained glass style quilt at some point in the future🙂 However, it will feature the lighthouse which is just up the road from me and not the little red one at Herd Groyne. I’ll take you out on another walk to see that one another day😉 Avis x

      Reply
  10. Gardengirl

     /  January 20, 2013

    What a lovely park and a lovely place for a walk. It was sunny here today so I went out for a walk today. It was not nearly as inspiring as yours though. 🙂

    Reply
  11. I love that priory. No matter how many times I’ve been, no matter how much I’ve explored it, it’s one of those places I always have to go when I’m home visiting my family.

    Reply
  12. I love those cuddly statues, where are they exactly, would love to come up and see them in the flesh
    like your blog, its great

    Reply
    • Hi Carol, Welcome to my blog😀 The statues are at the mouth of the river Tyne on the south side. You can’t miss them if you walk towards the pier from the car park. Enjoy! Avis x

      Reply

I really enjoy reading your comments. Have a lovely day :-)

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