MOUTH OF THE TYNE
Beach at Cullercoats, near Tynemouth, Northumberland
Beach at Cullercoats, near Tynemouth, Northumberland
Beach at Cullercoats near Tynemouth, Northumberland
Tynemouth Priory near Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland.
Close-up of Tynemouth Priory near Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland
I took a good shot of the "Queen of Scandinavia" sailing into the Tyne from Scandinavia. If you want to know any more about this ship I have some further details on another page.
Looking up the coast from the mouth of the Tyne, you can see the St. Mary's lighthouse, some of the coastal wind turbines, and an industrial complex beyond.
Here's another long-hop view of Cullercoats, again from the mouth of the Tyne. A famous native of Cullercoats is Andy Taylor, guitarist with Duran Duran.
Looking across the mouth of the Tyne to the south bank between South Shields and Sunderland, you can see the Souter lighthouse in the distance.
You probably saw in the photos above that the mouth of the Tyne is protected by a pair of breakwaters, each with a small marker light to guide the incoming ships. Here's a close-up of the southern one.
The town of South Shields is in the background.
One more shot looking up the Northumberland coast, taken from the end of the northern breakwater of the mouth of the Tyne.
It gives you a better perspective of St. Mary's lighthouse, the wind turbines, and the industrial complex.
Looking up the Tyne towards North Shields and Newcastle upon Tyne, you can get a fair view of what the average mariner sees when he enters the river. The aim apparently is to sail (or steam, or even diesel these days) up the river with the two lighthouses perfecly aligned one over the other, and then there is another market indicating where to turn hard to port.
The north bank of the Tyne between North Shields and Tynemouth
This is Tynemouth, with its statue of Lord Collingwood. Collingwood was Lord Nelson's right-hand man and consiered by many to have been instrumental in winning the Battle of Trafalgar.
He owned a house here, but legend has it that he never spent one single night there.
Another shot of Tynemouth.
These are the ruins of Tynemouth Priory, believed to have been fouded in the 7th Century. During the 9th Century it was ravaged on numerous occasions by the Danes.
As well as the town of Tynemouth, you can see on the right of the photographs part of the walls of Tynemouth Priory and the castle built on the same site.
At a certain point in the Tyne all of the ships going upriver have to swing hard to port. You can see the "City of Nordic" here just off North Shields making a dramatic turn in the river. I write about this ship elsewhere too.
Back at Tynemouth Priory again, you can see a plaque giving details of part of the history of the site.
I was with Liz at the time, and we were tempted to go around the Priory for a good mooch. But I have a theory about places with entrance fees, which is
Here, we took one look at the admission fee, and badgered off rather smartish-like.
Another photo of the Lord Collingwood statue.
This is the Northumbrian Quay, formerly the Tyne Commission Quay and recently refurbished as a marina and shopping and leisure complex. This is set to become the main deep-water anchorage for the Tyne and will be used for anchoring the large ships that the Port Authority is hoping to attract here.
The "Queen Elizabeth II", otherwise known as the "QE2", was a visitor here in mid-September, and a spokesman for the Port Authority said "The refurbishment of Northumbrian Quay will have a dramatic effect on our ability to welcome even more visiting cruise ships to the River Tyne, bringing with them tourism-related benefits to the whole of the region".
"We have been steadily increasing the number of cruise ships visiting the North-East and will be able to set even more ambitious targets for 2008 and beyond."
Another Illustrious visitor here was HMS Illustrious, which came here in November 2007.
We'd been up here the previous evening and one of the things that we'd made out in the gloom was what looked like an oil rig under construction or renovation round by Jarrow somewhere.
These are really impressive beasts when they are out of water.
Behind it is a large container ship berthed up in the docks.
Three are plenty of relics of the maritime past of the Tyne, all along here. When you think about it, as more and more goods and produce are imported into the UK, you'd think that there would be a greater need for docks and quays and the like to handle the traffic. But this really reveals two interesting facts ...
i)...Ships are becoming larger and larger, and there are fewer small ones to fill up this kind of berth
ii)..Ferry ports such as Dover and Ransgate with ro-ro capacity are undergoing a staggering expansion (you want to see what they have done at Ramsgate this last few years). All the freight comes by road in mainly foreign lorries, cluttering up the motorways and leaving the traditional ports to decay.
What parts of the docks that are no longer derelict are either trendy marinas and shopping centres, or given over to housing. Here to the east of South Shields ferry terminal there is a huge modern complex of homes and flats. Some of the docks have been filled in and built over or turned into trendy little gardens, but one or two still have water in them.
I don't know what satisfaction though the planners gained from closing off the entrances to the river, and putting toy boats on what looks like a stagnant pool. I'd like to see them opened up to the river so that there would be real water with real boats moored along the edges.
New riverside housing development at North Shields
The premises of the North Eastern Rubber Company at North Shields
North Shields terminal of the Tyne Ferry, with imposing houses behind.
A modern "improvement" of an old building on the Tyne next to the North Shields terminal of the Tyne ferry.
I suspect that what happened here was that a Royal Navy frigate coming up here under its own steam missed the bend in the river and took the front right off the building. And what with no architect or builder in the UK being capable of designing and building anything that resembles a traditional solid building, they fell back upon that modern substitute of steel and glass.
This will also account for why the Royal Navy has to have itself tugged up and down the river while any respectable skipper is allowed to paddle his own canoe and come up here under his own steam (or diesel, as the case may be), or even sail, seeing how "modern technology" is developing.
Another view of the Tyne river ferry terminal at North Shields, complete with ferry boat.
Former social housing on the north bank of the Tyne between North Shields and Tynemouth.
Looking across the Tyne to the north bank, with Tynemouth Priory and the statue of Lord Collingwood.
Part of the beach at South Shields
Looking back up river and across to the north bank to the two lighthouses. Compare it with this view from the North bank.
This is the beach on the north bank - the one that you can see in the right of the same view, taken from the North bank.
An interesting lighthouse at the mouth of the Tyne.
"Beam me up, Scotty", hey?
Several of the photos near the top of the page were taken from the north side of the Tyne right by the entrance to the river mouth. And I told you that the mouth of the Tyne was guarded by two breakwaters, each with a lighthouse.
In this photograph you can see exactly what I mean. I was standing right by the north (left-hand) light.
Entering the mouth of the Tyne in the old days was a hazardous adventure, and many ships had come to grief. A body, called the "Tyne Improvement Commission" was created to oversee an improvement in navigation, and one of the tasks it undertook was the construction of these piers.
But you could tell even then that this was a Local Authority project. Construction began in 1854, but was not finished until 1895. If they had engaged a real engineer such as Brunel, it would have been completed in 6 weeks.