The intermission between Christmas and the New Year has been characterised by some first-rate climatic conditions; it's been as mild as supermarket cheddar, and even when it's been a bit chilly it's been as bright as an annoyingly precocious child. We've tried to make the most of it by squeezing in a couple of #lovelythingstodo, including the trip to the coast I will henceforth relate. Our normal brine-tinged haunts include Tynemouth, South Shields and the Northumberland coast up around Amble and Alnmouth. Where could we go for a change? I know: Sunderland!
I must confess to being one of life's Sunderland non-appreciators. This is mostly due to football-based bigotry, but also due to a healthy dose of objective recognition that, considering how many people live there, it's just a bit rubbish. The "city" centre feels ridiculously low-rise, as if nobody has explained to them how to build anything more than three storeys tall, or as if they don't want to get too close to the sun in case their wings melt or something. But, in this season of good will, positivity and renewal, I'm here to say nice things about Sunderland. Or, at least Whitburn, which is close enough to Sunderland for the compliments I'm about to pay it to bleed into Mackemland too, by a sort of positivity-based osmosis.
I should like to start by commending the pricing strategy of Whitburn Bents car park. With a plethora of spaces available at 1p per minute, or £1 for all day (I shit thee not) there's really very little, if indeed any incentive to park illegally. We got out the car and started walking north. At about 11am the sun hung languidly to the south, casting a rather lovely light over the sea and cliffs.
If, out of some mad devil-may-care attitude you did press on, you might come across some interesting bird life, including Lapwings, Redshank and Golden Plover. There were great flocks of the latter, which alighted and then landed again in the fields next to the path as we walked along, which was a bit of a treat. They're bonny little things, which you can't quite tell from this picture. I'll maybe get a posh zoomy camera one of these days.
Before jumping into the car and heading back to the correct side of the Tyne we paid our first ever trip to Latimers Seafood Deli and Cafe, which I've been meaning to do for years. They've got a cracking range of fresh, frozen and cooked fish and come heartily recommended.
|All the fishes|
|Thou shalt have a fishy|