So we went back to the coast to pick up the path we had to abandon yesterday. We parked at Nose’s Point and headed back towards Hawthorn, passing Blast beach along the way. It turns out we had been really close! When we reached the steps in the wood where we’d turned round yesterday, we turned back towards Nose’s Point. The plan was to drop down onto Blast beach on the way back but as we came up out of the woods, there were thunder claps in the distance and the rain began to fall. We headed straight across the top to the car park and arrived looking like someone had just chucked buckets of water over us! I always say there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing and today was a bad clothing day. Not a waterproof between us and I was wearing the thinnest cotton trousers and top so nothing was left to the imagination by the time we reached the car park. Thankfully most of the other cars had either gone or were too steamed up to see anything. I hope!
We headed home to get dry and ordered Pizza.
The other half is off work for two weeks at the moment, but instead of going away like we usually do, we are exploring closer to home. Yesterday we drove about half an hour up the coast to Easington Colliery, where we parked up and took the coastal path north above Shippersea Bay. Our plan was to walk as far as Blast beach or even Chemical beach towards Seaham but we only managed to get to the railway bridge at Hawthorn before I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it that day. So instead we followed the path down under the arches and along the dene and found a little hidden beach with old lime kilns, a WW2 pill box and some beach art to explore before heading back the way we came.
There are lots of these places dotted along the Durham Heritage coast where industry once thrived. It is always a bittersweet thing to stumble across and my mind ends up in conflict with itself. As I observe the slight ugliness of the beach itself where a shelf of industrial slag sits above the natural beach covered by a layer of soil, I think of all the livelihoods lost as the collieries and related industries along the coast shut down. A triumph for the natural world, yet it was food in bellies and roofs over heads for thousands. There is no ignoring the poverty that still remains in these run down towns and villages of the north east, no matter how pretty the coast and countryside around them has become.