Thursday, 27 November 2008

Skywatch - Friday 28 November 2008

We tend to think the sun never shines in the UK but it does, occasionally! When it does, the skies are beautiful and when the wind is from the west, it's a fantastic place to be.

Although last summer was one of the worst I can ever remember (I can remember quite a few), the sun did shine a few times, the skies were blue and on 9 June I captured the evidence below.

This is part of the beach at Seaham Harbour in the North East of England. As beaches go it wouldn't win any prizes, but I like it. I love walking in the water along a beach, any beach, anywhere really, I don't mind. Although I like living in Washington and it's only a twenty minute drive to a few beaches, I miss not living next to the sea.

I lived in Seaham until I got married in 1969 and now it seems to me that when I was little, we spent most of the summer on that beach. The summers were longer and hotter, the days were sunnier and the beach was definitely cleaner. Well I said that's how it seems to me.

The beach certainly got dirtier because the coal dust from the pits in the area was dumped it into the sea. Eventually as coal production increased the sand got blacker and the water got dirtier. Not a pretty sight!

Dawdon was one of several pits in Seaham, it was sunk in 1905 and employment grew to 3,300 with an output of 1 million tons in its heyday. It was closed in 1991 a few years after the 1984/85 miners' strike.

All the pits are long gone now, courtesy of Margaret Thatcher and her Conservative Government. The loss of the industry hit places like Seaham really hard. My great grandad, both my granddads, my Dad, all my uncles and my brother worked at Dawdon Pit. The area has never recovered despite the development of new industrial estates.

(Dawdon) "...suffers from severe deprivation, with many
households surviving on welfare benefits, poor health, poor educational attainment and significant child poverty."
Dawdon Community Appraisal

On the plus side there has been a lot of work done redeveloping the area. In addition the sand is clean again and the water is much cleaner. However the sea seems a whole lot colder than when I was young!

Beach top car park

They have been doing a lot of work to improve the area at the top of the beach. I think the designer of this wall must have been having a bit of a Gaudi moment. I really like it.

Is this a sea monster?

The church on the left of the picture is St Mary the Virgin. It's an Anglo Saxon church dating back to 7th Century. It's supposed to be one of the 20 oldest churches in the country. To my shame I've never visited it. Something I must do this summer and I'll take my camera, if it's allowed!

Why not join us at Skywatch Friday and post your photos? We'd love to see them.


  1. Those are lovely pictures and a nice story explaining them. I don't think we minded the cooler water when we were young. We just ran and jumped in and had a fun time splashing around.

  2. Very beautiful pictures for SWF!
    Great job!
    Cheers, Klaus

    P.S.: Please be so kind to provide a link to the Skywatch Site from your post - or direct your visitors to the badge in the sidebar, so they can see skies from all over the world!
    Your Skywatch Team

  3. Beautiful shots, what amazing landscape. Thanks for sharing. I added your great blog to my followers list so I can be reminded to return often.

    Regina In Pictures

  4. Yes, the skies are pretty, but it's the walls I lurve. A lot. When you go to that church, be sure to light some candles. Anything that old must be very special.

  5. I'm with you that a beach, any beach is beautiful. I love the sun sparkling off the water in the first shot. The rest are just charming. What an incredible place.

  6. Lovely set of photos Winifred. I remember a few blue sky days last summer but there weren't many were there! Pretty little church - will look out for some photos of that.

    A x

  7. I'm reminded of our own area. The city of Newcastle (Oz) relied on industry and most of it has gone. However, we're left with beautiful beaches to enjoy.

  8. Your beach photos are lovely and the commentary interesting. I love the "Gaudi" moment and yes the wall does look that way..

  9. It is amuch underated part of the world, and you've shown it are beautifully.

  10. I love the wall in front of the beautiful church. I hope you do go visit the church, and please comment on it after you do. I can imagine how stunning it must be inside. We take small vacations to Quebec, Canada during the summer & fall and they have some spectacular churches there.I can relate with your lack of summer comment, we didn't have much of a summer in Maine this year, and where I live there were many days of fog. I often wonder why we ever left sunny California. Marjorie

  11. Your pictures are really nice Winifred. I loved the first one and the wall was very interesting also. Too bad about the water getting all dirty from the coal. I only live close to rivers and they are very dirty. I was just thinking yesterday that it would be fun to have bloggers post more about the area they live in, with pictures. There are so many places I have never been and may never get to see. Via internet would be okay with me.

  12. Beautiful pictures and wonderful writing!

  13. This looks like a nice place to spend an afternoon taking pictures!

  14. Gday Winifred . Lovely pictures of the beach,specialy the one with the sparkling water.Love to see insde that lovely old church...Jen

    If you still want to see my Taperstries scroll down by side bar there under Archives...

  15. What lovely pictures you have of a gloriously still blue sea and the huge sky to go with it. These pictures make me miss my years spent in Paignton by the Atlantic. I know how the sea could roar so this is a wonderful peace indeed.

  16. Did you not wish to do the meme? I think the ladys award is so cute.

  17. lovely visuals all...

    It is peace in Mumbai at last.
    Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes.
    Pray for all those who lost their lives and may God give strength to their near and dear ones to bear their irreparable loss.

  18. Such lovely pictures!!! Sad the things that have happened to this beautiful place!!


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