Christmas Pudding

….that’s me by the way, a Christmas Pudding. I did start out with fairly good intentions for Christmas, but as I literally had no idea where I was going to spend it until about three days beforehand, a lot of things just had to take a back seat. One of them was my exercise schedule. And also, aside from the fact that the gym has been shut, we have had about four inches of snow on the ground at home for a week now. As if I need excuses not to go out for a walk, that is a good one right there! In fact this is the view out of my front door about five days after it snowed:

Brrrrrr......

So the lead up to Christmas was the usual (for me) hectic stuff – too busy at work, but some good Christmassy parties there too. We had our works one the day before Christmas Eve, and I thought that I would give an honourable mention to Alice, who is pictured below, wearing my hat!

I should also give a mention to Ellie too, who is also bestest friends with Alice above, and so here she is looking rather fetching, and in ‘pensive’ mode:

"Do you think yellow suits me?......."

So anyway, up North I headed to my Dad’s on Christmas Eve, with a bit of a headache from the night before. Had a nice lunch just before I went (thanks Claire:)), and then met my old school chums from what must be a lifetime ago in the pub that evening. I loved it, it was absolutely great, even if ‘The Mariner’ might not exactly be the most salubrious emporium in South Shields. Joe McElderry’s picture was on the wall though, and so that is OK with me.

So anyway, once that Christmas Day was over with (oh yes and Boxing Day too), it seemed like a good walk was in order. Oh and before I get onto the walk I should say that the night before at John’s Mam and Dad’s house was just priceless – thank you John, I didn’t know that singing carols could be such good fun!

Down to the coast in South Shields then, and an 8.30 start on Sunday morning. Bugger me it was cold!

"Sheet ice" doesn't even get it.....

The path above, which leads down to the beach from the ‘Leas” at South Shields (a bit of history below from Wikipedia:) was so iced up that I didn’t even dare stand on it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Shields

The walk itself though was great. I did probably about five miles altogether, new boots on and all (and also down jacket, overtrousers, hat, scarf, gloves, you name it). The weather wasn’t great and neither was the visibility, but here are a couple more pictures along the way:

The south end of 'Frenchman's Bay' looking towards Shields pier.

This is ‘Frenchman’s Bay’, taken from the clifftops. The name I think came from a wrecked French fishing/pirate boat way back in time.

The next one is looking south towards ‘Souter Point’ (the lighthouse in the far distance):

It's a bit bleak today....

Oh and I resolve myself to get a better camera before Kilimanjaro – these are all taken from my iPhone, and whilst I have a ‘not bad’ camera, it is also ‘not good’ – it takes great pictures underwater (as it is an underwater camera), but on dry land it is disappointing, so that is one for the list.

After a few miles the nest one is taken towards ‘Camel’s Island’. I wanted to go down to the beach, but this path here was so frozen that if I had attempted it no-one would ever have seen or heard from me (at least alive) ever again, so I stopped where I was:

If you look at the large ‘rock’ in the sea in the middle of the above picture, then you will see that by the time I had taken the next picture, I had made a fair bit of progress:

"Marsden Rock", from just beyond the "Grotto"

So this is taken from the beach in front of Marsden Rock, a sort of famous local landmark. It used to be much bigger than this but half of it collapsed a few years back, so it almost looks a bit off these days if you knew it from before:)

To get to the beach I had to come down a big staircase, pictured below:

"Easier coming down....."

Here also is a picture taken from the beach looking back towards the picture taken three above here:

Wonder why there is no-one sunbathing?

So then finally back to those steps. As I had done a few miles already, I had the choice of two options – I could get the lift up, or could walk. Well no contest is there? Especially as going to the lift would have involved going into the pub at the bottom first! Actually, I surprised myself (twice:)), by walking up (all 123 of them), and then walking back down and then back up again! So that would be about 500 up and down steps then. I can only say that I was knackered completely by the time I got to the top for the final time.

So finally here is a picture taken from the top at Marsden, looking back north this time towards the pier at South Shields. It was still very cold, but the walk had certainly done me good.

The sun came out at last.....

Time for some mince pies, Christmas pudding, and some (even better!) Christmas beer!

Happy Christmas everyone…….

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