A coastal odyssey from Bridlington to Broughty Ferry

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright September 2022, Oliver Dixon; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


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.

Some statistics:
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.

Part 1 - Bridlington to Filey Brigg

 Map 1
 OS credit

TA1866 : The Pirate Ship enters Bridlington Harbour by Oliver Dixon
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.

TA1866 : "The Gansey Girl" by Oliver Dixon
A glimpse of the past. The statue "the Gansey Girl" reminds us that Bridlington started life as a fishing port.

TA1867 : Beaconsfield Promenade, Bridlington by Oliver Dixon
North Sands and the Beaconsfield Promenade.

TA2068 : Sewerby Cliffs by Oliver Dixon
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.

TA2169 : Steps down into Danes Dyke Wood by Oliver Dixon
At Danes Dyke, a flight of steps leads down into a deep wooded valley

TA2369 : The beach at South Landing by Oliver Dixon
South Landing - the gap in the cliffs where the villagers of Flamborough launched their boats on the south side of the peninsula.

TA2369 : South Landing bay by Oliver Dixon
South Landing bay, seen from the top of the East Nook cliff. Bridlington in the distance.

TA2369 : Swordlock sculpture above South Landing by Oliver Dixon
Monument on the clifftop commemorating the traditional Flamborough sword dance.

TA2369 : Whalebone bridge by Oliver Dixon
The Whalebone Bridge commemorates another local custom.

TA2369 : Gully crossing on the Headland Way by Oliver Dixon
Another gully in the cliff face.

TA2469 : Headland Way at New Fall by Oliver Dixon
The Headland Way continues as a field path along the clifftop.

TA2570 : Flamborough Head lighthouse by Oliver Dixon
Flamborough Head Lighthouse.

TA2570 : Chalk cliffs to the north of Flamborough Head by Oliver Dixon
The chalk cliffs continue beyond the headland.

TA2471 : Breil Nook and Queen Rock by Oliver Dixon
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...

TA2471 : The queen of Queen Rock by Oliver Dixon
...about ten years ago, some person unknown somehow placed this tractor tyre on the apex. Now occupied by a Herring Gull nest.

TA2372 : Thornwick Nab by Oliver Dixon
Continuing north, if we look back we get a remarkable view of chalk headlands and sea caves.

TA2073 : Viewing platform at Staple Newk by Oliver Dixon
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...

TA1974 : Gannets at Jubilee Corner by Oliver Dixon
but above all, Gannets.. .

TA2073 : Scale Nab by Oliver Dixon
...hundreds of them.

TA1973 : Visitor Centre at RSPB Bempton by Oliver Dixon
The Bempton Cliffs visitor centre.

TA1774 : England Coast Path at Buckton Cliffs by Oliver Dixon
Beyond the reserve, we again have the clifftop to ourselves, ablaze with Pink Campion

TA1574 : St Leonard's Church, Speeton by Oliver Dixon
This section of the walk finishes at St Leonard's Church, Speeton.

TA1575 : Dogwalker at the foot of Speeton Cliffs by Oliver Dixon
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.

TA1475 : Wreck of the "Laura" by Oliver Dixon
There are many interesting artefacts on the beach - this is the boiler from the collier "Laura" wrecked in 1897

TA1475 : Speeton Sands by Oliver Dixon
The "rocks" are the remains of World War II anti-tank blocks installed on the beach.

TA1476 : The tractor bus at Reighton Sands by Oliver Dixon
The Reighton Sands Holiday Park stands on top of the cliff. A tractor bus transports holidaymakers up and down the ramp to the beach.

TA1476 : The Beach Cafe at Reighton Sands by Oliver Dixon
There is an excellent beach cafe at the bottom of the ramp.

TA1377 : Beach Cafe at Hunmanby Gap by Oliver Dixon
The Beach Cafe at Hunmanby Gap is half way up the cliff. Erosion may soon bring it down to beach level!

TA1278 : Concrete remains on Hunmanby Sands by Oliver Dixon
Concrete remains on Hunmanby Sands.

TA1277 : Stream on the beach at Butcher Haven by Oliver Dixon
Stream on the beach at Butcher Haven.

TA1179 : South Beach, Filey by Oliver Dixon
Looking back along the sands from Filey sea front.

TA1280 : Sandcastles on Filey Sands by Oliver Dixon
Sandcastles on Filey Sands.

TA1180 : An attractive corner of old Filey by Oliver Dixon
An attractive corner of old Filey.

TA1180 : The Fisherman's Bed, Crescent Gardens by Oliver Dixon
A reminder of Filey's fishing heritage.

TA1280 : Filey lifeboat station by Oliver Dixon
Filey lifeboat station.

TA1281 : Cliffs at the north end of Filey Sands by Oliver Dixon
At the northern end of Filey Bay, the broad sands give way to the cliffs of Carr Naze.

TA1281 : Cliffs at the north end of Filey Sands by Oliver Dixon
An old outfall provides a pathway out to the Brigg.

TA1381 : Carr Naze by Oliver Dixon
Looking back from the Brigg to the headland of Carr Naze.

TA1381 : Brigg End by Oliver Dixon
Filey Brigg, the projection of tidal rock out into the North Sea is one of the most spectacular features of the entire journey.

TA1281 : Start of the Cleveland Way by Oliver Dixon
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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