I had been informed that Tynemouth was a quaint, traditional and pretty…..and it was. Not what you expect to find at the mouth of one of the most industrial areas in Britain.
The boats pull up to the quay and distribute their catch directly into the fish restraunts along the harbour side.
Unfortunately my visit coincided with major renovations of the harbour front and the whole view was obscured by builders hoardings. Fish and chips good though. I could however peep through the boards to the other side of the estuary to South Shields.
I could see a tiny red structure sitting on the end of a jetty looking like it fell from the sky.
Determined to reach the structure I set off to cross the Tyne. I drove back to the tunnel to find major roadworks in full swing and emerged into a sea of cones all steering me the wrong way. After a few giddy trips round the roundabout I pull over and asked a very nice a man in high visibility vest what to do and he removed two of the obstructing cones to allow me through to South Shields. Who says chivalry is dead.
Finally made it. I walked over the white sand dunes to the first up close view of the lighthouse standing defiantly at the end of the jetty.
It is essentially a corrugated tin box on legs and in remarkable condition considering it has had to deal with all the North sea could throw at it for a very long time. I related to it!
I am reliably informed by an old sea dog I know from my days in Robin Hood’s Bay that it is known as the ‘Groin’ or ‘Herd Groin’ and that he and the local kids played under it for generations. It does look like it belongs on a playground but preferably one less likely to drown your children. They are tough up north.
Built in 1861 it is still used to guide the ships into the Tyne.
The painting has become one of my favourites and I have adopted it as my motifs for the project.