A coastal odyssey from Bridlington to Broughty Ferry
This is a photographic record of the coast of north-east England and south-east Scotland. The end points are Bridlington and Broughty Ferry.
I didn’t set out with any intention of making a continuous and extensive record of this sort. In the early years of the Geograph project from 2005 onwards, living first in Durham, then in Hexham, I made occasional trips to the coast. But it was not until 2010 when I embarked on a series of multi-stage coastal walks that the germ of an idea was formed. The first such was the coastal part of St Oswald’s Way (May to August 2010).
This was followed by:
The Berwickshire Coast Path (April 2013 to March 2016)
The Durham coast path (November 2015 to February 2016)
The East Lothian Coast Path and eastern end of the John Muir Way (March 2016 to April 2019)
The coastal part of the Cleveland Way (November 2017 to June 2018)
The Fife Coastal Path (March 2019 to August 2022)
The Headland Way (May 2022)
And sundry other locations over the years.
Gradually a plan formed in my head to build up a gallery of photos taken within a continuous chain of contiguous coastal kilometre squares of the National Grid. Initially the line of the chain was determined by following a plausible route overland including bridges and ferries. This involved some considerable diversions inland – specifically at the mouth of the Tees, and between Budle Bay and Holy Island in Northumberland where the St Oswald’s Way makes a great loop inland to take in the hills behind Detchant.
Subsequently I have decided to keep more strictly to the sea, even if it involved vaulting over gaps in the coast which were not feasible routes. These jumps include: across the mouth of the Tees, across Budle Bay and Holy Island Harbour, across the mouth of the River Eden (Fife) and across the mouth of the Firth of Tay. These late-day amendments are work in progress.
As my plan formed, I thought it might be a nice idea to have an alliterative pair of end points – namely Filey to Fife Ness. A bit later, I had the idea of expanding the project to include major towns at either end – Bridlington to Dundee. At the very last moment, I decided to also give them an alliterative ring, and finished up with the title in its present form: Bridlington to Broughty Ferry.
Let us have a quick reminder of what this project is NOT
1. It is not a record of a single continuous walk - the photos have been taken over a period of 17 years from 2005 right through to 2022.
2. It is not even a record of a continuous track over the ground. In a few places, I have popped in to take a handful of photos from a single spot.
3. Nor has it been covered in a consistent direction. The coast to the south of the Tees has largely been covered north to south; whilst to the north of the Tees (with the exception of the coast of North Tyneside and the southern shore of the Firth of Forth) it has largely been covered south to north. It is however presented here from south to north throughout.
4. It has not all been covered on foot - about 16% has been covered by bike and 2% by car.
A total of 602 photographs have been selected from about 3,500 geographs posted for about 675 kilometre grid squares. The total number of photographs taken during this project cannot be easily deduced, but is probably in the order of two to three times the number uploaded to the Geograph project.
About 53% of the route has been covered solo, leaving about 47% undertaken in the company of others. Their assistance is detailed under the heading "Acknowledgements".
The journey has been divided up into a number of separate parts.
And in case you don't know - you can click on any photograph to enlarge it and read an extended description.
My journey started at Bridlington Harbour with the arrival of an old sea angling boat, "the Sportsman" now repurposed as a pirate ship for the tourist trade.
A glimpse of the past. The statue "the Gansey Girl" reminds us that Bridlington started life as a fishing port.
At Sewerby Cliffs, the sand gives way to a narrow beach of chalk rubble and a wave-cut platform to seaward. The chalk cliffs of Flamborough Head can be seen in the distance.
South Landing - the gap in the cliffs where the villagers of Flamborough launched their boats on the south side of the peninsula.
Breil Nook. About 100 years ago there were two chalk sea stacks in this bay, but one has since been almost completely eroded away. The pinnacle still standing is known as Queen Rock. If we zoom in on Queen Rock we see something very remarkable...
...about ten years ago, some person unknown somehow placed this tractor tyre on the apex. Now occupied by a Herring Gull nest.
After a comparatively quiet stretch of cliff top, we suddenly find ourselves surrounded by hordes of people. What are they all doing here? The answer is straightforward. This is the renowned Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve and they are eagerly watching the prolific seabird life on the cliffs...
Beyond Speeton, the high chalk cliffs give way to low slopes of clay backing a sandy beach which is very extensive at low tide - but there is no easy way of getting directly from the clifftop down on to the beach.
There are many interesting artefacts on the beach - this is the boiler from the collier "Laura" wrecked in 1897
The Reighton Sands Holiday Park stands on top of the cliff. A tractor bus transports holidaymakers up and down the ramp to the beach.
The Beach Cafe at Hunmanby Gap is half way up the cliff. Erosion may soon bring it down to beach level!
Filey Brigg, the projection of tidal rock out into the North Sea is one of the most spectacular features of the entire journey.
This monument marks the end of the Wolds Way and the start of the Cleveland Way (or vice versa depending on your point of view!)
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