Friday, 2 September 2011

* 99 *

On one of my previous posts I asked if you would like more details about the beaches and parks that we go to. A few of you said yes so here is my first one. Hub upgraded my Blogger the other day and I so wish he hadn't as I have no idea what's going on with it so please excuse anything odd!   

 A couple of weeks ago I took the boys to a new beach which is about a 20 minute drive from where we live and just a bit further up the coast from the beach we normally go to . Some of these photo's are from that trip and some are from today.
From the sign you can see that it's called The Blast Beach and one of the information boards tells us that it is so called either because of the 19th century ironworks which were situated here or possibly because of the ballast which was dumped here from passing merchant ships.
If you enlarge the picture below it shows you a photograph of how the mining works used to look and it also tells you that this beach was also used in the film Aliens 3.

If you look at my picture below and then check out this photo which someone put on Flickr you will be able to see some stills from the actual film . It really is quite spooky . The beach itself is not what you would think of as a normal beach all sandy and being able to make sandcastles etc, this beach is rocky . There are rocks of all different shapes , sizes and colours and you can see this as when you look down from the cliff tops you can see the stripes where they change from one type to another.

The path to get down is quite steep so you have to be very careful as I'm sure many people have ended up on their backsides!

The beach of black sand is due to eroded coal and iron pyrites which came from the ironworks and it is said that Fishermen who landed here would kick the ash and this would combust and start a fire which would keep them warm.

 It's very hard to describe this beach as there are just so many oddities about it, the odd smell which lingers which is probably from all the iron , it's neither a nice or nasty smell - it's just there and although the beach looks pretty flat , it isn't. If you walk towards the cliffs , which are teaming with all sorts of wildlife I might add , the rocks get bigger and more orange but the strangest thing is that it gets quieter too and when you turn back to look at the sea it isn't there. There is a crest which just hides the sea and the rest of the beach altogether.

 There are two limestone stacks at the far end of the cove but unfortunately I don't think this particular one will be here for much longer as it seems to be eroding quite rapidly , which is a pity. All the cliffs are limestone too and I read that  all the waste that was once dumped here actually helped to protect the cliffs from the sea spray and erosion.

There are a couple of bright orange pools like this one which are naturally stained with iron and minerals .

Now something which I have never ever seen on a beach before is a Pillbox . This box was built during World War two (  1939 - 45 ) as a defence against a possible invasion from Germany. It was built from concrete filled sandbags and has a roof made from a concrete slab. This was the first time the boys had seen a Pillbox and they were quite fascinated by it and it's history.

It appeared as though someone had been camping here recently as there were signs of a camp fire and stones that had been made into seats. I can't say that it is somewhere I would particularly like to be at night as there is a real eerie air about it.

 Towards the end of the beach there is a staircase which was built by the National Trust and once you get to the top you can either turn right and head back towards the car park or left to continue a walk along what is called the Durham Coastal Walk. Today we turned right but I think there will be a day when we turn left and continue on to do a little bit more exploring. I do have quite a few photo's of the walk back to the car but am going to share those with you maybe tomorrow or in a few days as I think I might have over loaded you with facts in this post .

I couldn't end without showing you our finds though could I ? I started the walk thinking that this wasn't going to be a very good cove for sea glass but boy was I wrong , oh so wrong. It was definately more on the 'green' side than for any other colours but we found some really nice pieces. 

I've used a 20p piece for size comparison. The top two are green eggs, the bottom left is quite orange but it hasn't shown very well here. The long thin turquoise piece is the bottom part of a stopper and the red is actually a glass bead which is a real find and the blue is the biggest piece of blue we have found so far .

But the piece de resistance , oh my , I yelled when I found this one . The biggest piece we have ever found , it's about the size of my hand !! Isn't it a corker .. wow , and I can't believe I just used the word corker , that shows my excitement doesn't it?

I hope you liked this post just as much as I liked writing it although it did take me quite a while , silly Blogger !!


andamento said...

I love your new header photo, and I also loved this post - most interesting. I'm also impressed by your sea glass collection, what fabulous finds, especially that last piece. Well done!

Ruth said...

Your main title pic is fantastic. Loved your post, ty for sharing :)

Lyn said...

Lovely post, I was one of your comments that asked for more details on your beach, so thank you. That is a CORKER sea glass!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow! What an interesting post Lisa! Now I REALLY want to visit -- just to see the beaches. And how fascinating to see the pill box. Thanks for all the pictures and sharing.

And 1: I LOVE your new header picture. Beautiful!

And 2: The upgrade didn't put you in my problem blogger category. I'm not sure what causes some of the bloggers to be that way, but I'm super happy that yours isn't one of them! Yipee!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Lovely sea glass ! I haven't seen any for ages ( perhaps because I don't go to the beach ?) , so I'd forgotten that perfect shade of green .

A mermaids purse said...

wonderful images- look at the wonderful glass- quite right thats defo a 'corker' hehe ;0)

melanie said...

Oh The Blast! I have known about, and visited this beach for years, as my grandad lived at Seaham, not far from this beach actually, and as well as going to the normal, main beach, we would visit this beach quite often too, and I took hubby there once as well, it is a hidden treasure, I love it :)

Adrienne said...

wow - that sea glass is awesome! what an interesting beach ... can't say I would want to camp there either. love the little trips you share with us!

Simone said...

A really informative and enjoyable post Lisa. That massive piece of sea glass was deinitely a corker-yikes!!!