Another day, another random walk.
I left the house without a clue as to where I was going. On the way to the Metro I decided it might be nice to see the sea so I planned in my head to head for Tynemouth and walk up the sea front to Whitley Bay. It's a nice walk and makes for a day that includes both the sea and charity shops and has optional chips and ice cream too.
But as I sat on my second Metro train and passed the stations I had an idea. Why not go to the light house? But what if the tides aren't right? Fortunately I have a smart phone so could look them up. Gone are the days of having to buy tide timetables. When living in Aberystwyth I would buy the timetable every year because I spent so much time by the sea - it's hard not to spend a lot of time by the sea when you're living in a building directly opposite the pier and your bedroom window looks up the length of the promenade.
Joy! The tide timetable showed I was in luck and the tide would be out. I would be able to walk across the causeway to St. Mary's Island and lighthouse. So between West Monkseaton and Monkseaton stations my plans changed. I would walk to the sea from Monkseaton, turn left, and walk to the lighthouse.
I confess freely to you that I am imperfect - I made a mistake. In my haste to look up the tide times in the one minute between the two stations I made a slight geographical error. I had not looked up St. Mary's Island to the north of Whitley Bay. Oh no. Not that one. I'd looked up another one. Yes, I'd been looking at St. Mary's Island in the Isles of Scilly. From the centre of Hugh Town on that island to the lighthouse I wanted to visit is, according to mapometer.com, 411 miles. Just a little mistake.
Fortunately it didn't matter. The difference in times was only a couple of hours and I was still able to get to the lighthouse. I'd have been very disappointed if I'd walked there and couldn't cross. Grateful for mistakes that work out fine.
Onto the walk, with the lighthouse just visible in the distance.
The next two photos show the difference between taking pictures on my phone and taking them on my camera. It's strange. I carry the camera most places but it usually stays in my bag and I've just been using the phone on most days. I suppose I like it because it's easy to use and it's easier to instantly send a photo to a friend or post it direct to the gratitude group. The camera isn't great and it feels like it takes almost forever for it to save a photo and be ready to take another - my biggest complaint about the thing. Maybe one day it will get replaced with something more wonderful.
St. Mary's Island - taken on the phone.
It's still a lot better than I would have achieved with my old phone, and I've taken a lot of pictures with it that I'm quite pleased with.
St. Mary's Island - taken using the camera from much the same spot.
To finish. Two more pictures from the camera. And these have been trimmed. Yes, I've actually done a tiny bit of editing of these. Originally I'd put a picture from the phone here but finally plugged the camera into the computer today (on June 6th - it's only taken 4 weeks!) and the pictures are far better. On the camera these are little shapes in the middle of some rocks.
I hadn't known there would be seals so I was merrily clambering over the rocks. Climbed on one as saw this gorgeous creature above and hastily ducked down again. It had spotted me but I didn't want to disturb it.
It brought me joy to see seals. So much so that a couple of days later I was back on the island with my wife. That time we walked from the other direction, getting a bus to Seaton Sluice and walking back over the cliff path to the island.
Thinking about it, over the course of several days I've walked the whole coastline this year from the River Blyth to the River Tyne, and in one day from the River Tyne to the River Wear. I wonder how long it will be before I get on with starting the longer walk from the River Wear to the River Tees - from Sunderland to Hartlepool, the stretch of the Durham Heritage Coast. That section of the official coastal path opened in 2014 and runs for well over 20 miles so I should be able to walk it in three days. Possibly in two days. Eventually I might be fit enough to walk it in a day. It may happen. I can live in hope!