This is the most amazing feat of engineering built in 1911 as a crazy gantry to replace the crowded ferries that transported workers across the river to work in the factories and steel works across on the other side. Now vehicles and pedestrians are swung across the waters, suspended underneath the rolling gantry by 30 wires. Absolutely amazing.
Most of the coast north of the Tees is flat scruffy marshland with barriered roads leading to industrial plants, power stations, chemical works and this wreckers yard.
Once you get to Seaton and Hartlepool, yes Hartlepool, it all changes. Wonderful sandy beaches run in front of amusement arcades and candy floss sellers competing with all day fish and chips shops and guest houses. This stretch is real holiday coastline country. First is Seaton Carew that creates the front in front of Hartlepool.
Then up the coast, over the tops of countless colleries that worm their hidden way underground, out into the North Sea. This is Seaham with a mixture of fishing vessels, industry and pleasure craft moored in the harbour below the grand resort dwellings overlooking from on top of the cliffs.
Even Sunderland has a seafront that provides all a family needs. Oh, and its own type of pier.
Looking up the coast Whitburn Colliery remains hidden under protruding cliffs on each side of the sandy holidaying beaches. The only thing to give its shafts away are a couple of brick, cylindrical piers on the cliffside and a large open, grassed recreation area next door to Souter Lighthouse, the first one in the UK to be posted by electricity, created and paid for by subscriptions from the miners.
Finally the long beach of South Shields appears with Tynemouth lording it on the far side of, yes you guessed it, the River Tyne.