If people are prepared to listen, I’ll talk endlessly about collecting random pieces of driftwood. So when you meet someone who shares your passion, it’s great to hear about their favourite beaches and even better if they know somewhere you don’t! This is what happened when I was talking to Jackie Stonehouse at the Pod gallery in Bishop Auckland. I don’t always remember the finer details, and on this day I came away with the information Blue Lagoon and Hartlepool. The detail I was actually given was far better than that.
A few weeks later, Gareth and I found ourselves with a free Sunday so we headed in the direction of Hartlepool. I’d done very little research to where the beach actually was, we parked a little south of Hartlepool at Seaton Carew and headed North along the beach. It was a lovely day and I found the odd bit of driftwood but somehow I knew I wasn’t in the right spot. We headed up to the marina at Hartlepool to find somewhere for a bit of lunch and had a look at the map. We decided we needed to be a little further south at Teesmouth. Blue Lagoon is actually the name locals use to refer to North Gare sands, so that’s where we headed.
On this occasion I have to admit I didn’t take too much notice of the surroundings. I’d just returned from a week in Northumberland in glorious sunshine, this definitely wasn’t Northumberland. However, the amount of driftwood amongst the tide line was incredible, I filled my bag and we headed home.
I’ve been itching to return since then, more because of the volume of driftwood I’d managed to collect in a short space of time, rather than the beauty of the place. I prefer to tie my beachcombing with something else, so I had to wait until I had a reason to head in the Teesside direction. This opportunity came up last week, and during a period of torrid weather, there was a window of opportunity, the weather forecast looked kind. You drive down a well surfaced road which takes you across the salt marshes to the car park. The road was full of bird watchers, I passed a curlew, a bird even I can recognise, and it seemed incredible that I was in the middle of industrial Teesside.
I parked the car, took my bag and bucket from the boot and headed along the track through the sand dunes and down to the beach.
It was a lovely morning and the beach looked stunning against the industrial backdrop. The tide was out so I had a vast expanse of beach to explore.
One of the first things I found was a little green car, I had Ned in my pocket….it seemed like a good photo opportunity!
I headed south along the beach, there wasn’t such a distinct tide line this time so I had to walk further to find a good amount of driftwood. I didn’t mind, it was just a pleasant place to be. There were a few dog walkers around but I mostly I had the whole beach to myself.
And the best news of all, I found a good selection of legs and feet for making more folk!