For our New Year’s Eve day out Sarah and I have been to Sunderland.

Not that one, but a much smaller one up near Heysham in a little bit of England neither of us had ever been to before. Now the name ‘Sunderland’ means ‘separated land’ and the place we’re going is indeed cut off twice a day by the tide, something you’ll be seeing warnings about as we get going.

We had a great day and, as is the way with our ‘days out’ blog posts, there’ll be more pictures than words. Taken here by both of us.

We’ve parked in Overton and we’re going to walk along the causeway through the marshland to Sunderland, then Sunderland Point beyond it.

Across the marsh to our right we can just see the Heysham nuclear power station, to our left we’re walking alongside the River Lune which has just flowed through Lancaster – so you can get your bearings.

Sarah is immediately doing what Sarah does, investigating what’s growing here. This is Channel Wrack.

‘Always the highest seaweed up the shore. A good indicator of where high water will be.’

Moody black and white land and seascape by Sarah.

So we arrive in Sunderland. Where the story of round here is told on a wall.

A story of past prosperity, slavery days, a fading port and even being known as Cape Famine for a while. But we’ll let our photographs tell the story of now.

Beyond the village is Sunderland Point, the local version of the end of the earth.

Being dramatically bleak and a bit windswept, as we like it, we stop here for lunch. Pulled out of both bags, but all actually got ready by Sarah.

And as we sit a song gets written and sung. You can join in with us if you like? It’s a kind of jazz-age musical song, roughly to the tune of ‘Let’s call the whole thing off.’

Here goes:

‘I’ve brought the cake if you’ve got the custard?
You bring the pie cos I’ve got the mustard
You and me, we’ve got it all together!

You bring the cheese and I’ll bring the blinis,
I’ve got the glasses for the martinis
You and me we’ve got it all…

Together! Me and you, in our seaside rendezvous.
Together! What d’you think?
Go on pour us another drink!!’

(Jazzy instrumental 1920s-style verse to follow. Then repeat chorus ad infinitum to fade…)

No martinis or in fact blinis were actually had, but well done there if you managed to either join in with us or play an imaginary clarinet in the backing band!

Walking on.

Next we come upon two curious things. First is a return to the slavery days I mentioned earlier. The grave of one of the forty or so slaves local records show were captured and brought here. This slave’s grave was unmarked until sixty years after he was worked to death by his owner, who called him Sambo.

But these days his memory is clearly being treasured and kept by his many young visitors.

Next is a Camera Obscura that’s being built on the Point here by a mason who’s handily called Andy Mason. Sarah heard about this on the radio, which is what made her suggest exploring round here as our day out.

Obviously it’s not finished yet, but it’s already a beautiful thing.

Now we’ll cut up a little lane called ‘The Lane’ back to Sunderland. A sheltered lane full of spring growth already. And lichens for Sarah.

Back through to Sunderland.

Happy New Year 2019 from the End of the Earth.

The tide’s still well out, but as the light of 2018 begins to fade it’s time to walk back along the causeway again.

On the way, hundreds of geese flew and danced in the sky above us.

A wonderful place.

Particular thanks to Sarah for suggesting this one and getting us out after our week of festive colds x

Published by Ronnie Hughes

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place: http://asenseofplace.com.

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12 Comments

  1. Wonderful Ronnie, thanks so much. I heard the same programme on Radio 4. You brought it to life.
    The pictures you took were better than the ones I had in my head!

  2. Fantastically other-worldly – great choice for New Year’s Eve! The other side of the estuary from Glasson Dock to Cockersand Abbey is also worth exploring another time. Happy New Year and happy walking in 2019!

  3. Thanks for that Ronnie, one of our favourite walks but not been for a good while, it’s on the list for this year now. A remote place like that puts life in perspective we think..

    1. Thanks Claire, yes this is a beautiful place, though check the tide times!

      And the writing is going well, thanks. It’s taken a lot of getting used to these first few months but I’ve loved most of the work. Looking forward to some Skelmersdale time before too long!

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