I took a bus ride to Blyth (using my free bus pass!) and took some snapshots during my walk back to Tynemouth. The weather was mixed so the pics aren’t great, but click on any of the images to see the full-sized photo, also click any underlined red coloured text for a link to further information.

Most of the walk was along the beautiful beaches that we enjoy in this part of the world, beaches that regularly win the highest ‘Blue Flag’ accolades for cleanliness, including:

Whitley Bay Beach

Tynemouth Long Sands

King Edward’s Bay

Looking back over the gaily painted beach huts, it’s hard to remember the tough industrial past of Blyth. A significant commercial port and a major submarine base in both World Wars, Blyth suffered very significantly from the demise of King Coal and the later closure of the Alcan aluminium smelter at Lynemouth.

The Tall Ships Race passed through Blyth in August 2016.

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Blyth Battery was my next stop, WWI buildings which were used as observation and gunnery control centres for two long range naval guns housed in the adjacent emplacements.

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Gun emplacement for a six-inch naval gun.

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Looking south down Blyth beach.

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Entrance channel, Seaton Sluice.

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I lingered for a while at Seaton Sluice, chatting with the local fishermen about the history all around us and marvelling at the industrial past of this picturesque corner of the coast.  The ‘sluice’ part of the name refers to wooden gates that could be raised at high tide, thereby trapping a considerable volume of water which would be released at low tide in order to scour sand and silt from the lower channel.  The whole story can be read here
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The deep channel shown in the above picture was cut in 1763 in order to provide an alternative entrance to the narrow harbour entrance. The channel is now completely blocked with sand and rocks, but this is no problem for the small vessels that still use the original entrance, seen below at low tide.

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This slot in the bridge abutment show the position of the sluice gates (now long gone), but I couldn’t figure out how the gates were lifted. My guess is that the slots were originally much longer, because the stonework above the walkway is modern and relates to the overhead road bridge.

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St Mary’s Island lighthouse.

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Whitley Bay Beach looking south.

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Coble hauled up for repair at Cullercoats.
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Cullercoats Bay, once a favourite place for Winslow Homer a very distinguished American artist who spent two years (1881-1882) living in the village. Click here to see a biography and here to see a comprehensive gallery of his paintings.

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Mark Hume’s atmospheric photo shows the Bay during a big storm.

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The Crescent Club in Cullercoats, where I spend most Wednesday afternoons listening to trad jazz played by my buddies The Vieux Carre Jazzmen.

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Tynemouth Longsands Beach.
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The Grand Hotel at Tynemouth, originally built as an anniversary present for the Duchess of Northumberland and allegedly incorporating a secret tunnel down to the beach so that Her Grace wouldn’t be ogled by the hoi polloi.
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King Edward’s Bay
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Nearly home, Tynemouth Front Street is just around the corner. I estimate the distance walked at about 8 miles.

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