Watersmeet & The River Tyne

Any Geordie native will tell you he/she has the waters of the River Tyne running through their bloodstream, and I think it’s conceivable that after 15 years of drinking the tap water up her, that I have too. The Tyne has been romanticised in many a song, who can forget Jimmy Nail & Big River, or Lindisfarne’s Fog on the Tyne, or the beautiful Sailing to Philadelphia by Mark Knopfler and James Taylor. It’s even mentioned in a song by the country singer Gretchen Peters, in her song England Blues.

When I first moved up here 15 years ago, I lived just over the road from it and it was part of my daily existence.  I loved walking by it, camera in hand and fell in love with it as much as any regular Geordie.  I started travelling the North East for work, and one day, on my way back from Haydon Bridge where I had a clinic, I looked at the sat-nav and saw a blue line running by the side of the road line, South Tyne it was labelled.  I googled it when I got home and discovered there was a North Tyne and a South Tyne, and they converged at a point near a village called Warden.  I determined one day to see if I could find where they met, but time/work/life and all that never lent itself to the task.

So back in May, after Sophie and I had finished in Haydon Church, we decided to go and look for the convergence on our way home. We followed a little road off the A69 that looked like a dead-end on the Nav, and we were pleasantly surprised to find it’s a ‘proper’ area, with walks and wildlife information.

There’s an old railway bridge to go under to get to the river.

Going under towards the rivers
Back the other way.

There was wild garlic everywhere, (no bluebells though!)

No vampires here.

The South Tyne rises on Alston Moor in Cumbria, 1000ft above sea level, and flows down through Haltwhistle and Haydon Bridge in a valley known as the Tyne Gap, whereas the North Tyne rises on the Scottish Border north of Keilder Water.  It flows through Keilder Forest and winds in and out of the border, then passes through the village of Bellingham where you can take a walk to see the beautiful Hareshaw Linn waterfall.

Hareshaw Linn

The combined Tyne flows from the convergence point at Warden Rock, which is an area where barbel (some sort of fish thing) were introduced in the 80’s and are now thriving in the Tyne. It then flows on to Corbridge then out of Northumberland and into Tyne & Wear where it divides Gateshead and Newcastle for 13 miles, in the course of which it is spanned by 10 bridges.  On it goes eastwards dividing Hebburn and Jarrow on the South  bank, Wallsend and Walker on the North, finally flowing between Tynemouth and South Shields and into the North Sea.

Due to the surrounding coalfields in the North East  the Tyne was a major route for the export of coal from the 13th century until the decline of the coal mining industry in the second half of the 20th century. There is still evidence of that history, especially with the dramatic wooden staithes (a structure for loading coal onto ships) at Dunston, built in 1890, having been preserved.

Dunston Staiths

The Port of Tyne still imports coal, and other goods, as well as operating a daily service between the Port of Tyne International Passenger Terminal at North Shields and Ijmuiden, near Amsterdam since 1995. The lower reaches of the Tyne were, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, one of the world’s most important centres of shipbuilding, and there are still shipyards in South Shields and Hebburn to the south of the river.

At 73 miles long, there’s plenty to see and photograph, some of which you can see on a previous post HERE.

A couple of interesting facts about the Tyne,

The River Tyne started to cut its course about 30 million years ago. The land mass of Britain was rising from the sea, in which chalk rocks had been laid down during the previous Cretaceous period, providing the eastward-tilting ‘proto-landscape’ upon which the River Tyne began to carve its valley, entirely removing the softer cover of chalk rocks.

Nothing definite is known of the origin of the designation Tyne, nor is the river known by that name until the Saxon period: Tynemouth is recorded in Anglo-Saxon as Tinanmuðe.

So here is the convergence, to the left, the South Tyne, and to the right, The North.

Waters Meet

and that’s the end of that day out! Stay tooned for our next outing, to Raby Castle, and The Bowes Museum!

River Tyne Cruise~ July 2017 ~ part 3

Part 1

Part 2

Nearly back to our starting point now, and some old industrial buildings on the river bank,

and then the newer Hilton Hotel

The sage, some boats and some dolly birds 🙂

worth 2 views of the Sage, it is amazing!

The Baltic Flour Mill, now converted into a gallery for contemporary art, and some people on the Millennium bridge

That’s it for the river cruise, but we took a few of the quayside as well, so will do those next time.

Stay tooned! 🙂


River Tyne Cruise~ July 2017~part 2

Part 1 HERE

Travelling up the Tyne we saw plenty of birds, and I got lucky to catch a shot of a heron

Back in 2012, the BAE plant, previously Vickers-Armstrong, on the river was a closed down with the loss of 300 or so jobs. It’s now been taken over by the Reece group,had a £20 million revamp and it’s 500 workers manufacture equipment including tank parts, sub-sea products and pot-hole repair technology.

More bridges

We saw what looked like racehorses in a dubious looking stable building

there had to be a pub at some point

and these reminded me of a song, ‘little boxes, on the hill side, little boxes made of ticky tacky…’

Back down the other side of the river now..

The Blaydon Races are famous in our neck of the woods. They began in1811 but were discontinued and then resurrected in 1861 on a circular island – a mile in circumference – in the Tyne called Blaydon Island, and known locally as Dent’s Meadow, and moved by 1887 to Stella Haugh on the riverside. In the later decades of the 19th century and into the 20th, crowds flocked to the Blaydon Races. Even, in 1916, as World War I raged, permission was granted to hold the event as long as a large donation was given to the British Sportsmen’s Ambulance Fund.  On September 2nd 1916, more than 4,000 punters attended day one of the races, but come the following day – September 2 – all hell broke loose. There were suspicions races were being rigged and when the heavily-tipped nag, Anxious Moments, was disqualified after winning by six lengths a full-scale riot broke out. In the absence of many police, members of the crowd went on the rampage, smashing up the weighing house and throwing equipment into the Tyne.  And that, it turned out, was to be the end of the famous Blaydon Races…

EMR Scrap Metal

Dunston is particularly known for wooden coal staithes, first opened in 1893 as a structure for loading coal from the North Durham coalfield onto ships. Today, the staiths are reputed to be the largest wooden structure in Europe, and are protected as a Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Still more to see, so stay tooned!

Fraggle Report~River Tyne Cruise~July 2017

A couple of weeks ago, when it wasn’t rain, Sophie and I embarked on one of the river cruises which set off from the Quayside in Newcastle. There are 2 choices, you can go Quay to sea, a 3 hour trip to the piers at the river mouth, or Quay to countryside, a 2 hour trip going under 11 bridges, as far as Ryton Willows, which is the one we took.

Setting off under the Millennium bridge


the quayside buildings


churches and high rises

graffiti of course

I ❤ Tar?

hole in the wall

more to come so stay tooned!


Bridges over the River Tyne~ finale

Part 1 HERE. Part 2 HERE. Part 3 HERE & 4 HERE 

Some more pictures of the Market on the quayside by the Bridges

Flower stall

Hearts of gold

coming or going


Loved the mirrors this guy was making

lovely little details

Biker boys

View of 5 of the bridges taken on the millennium bridge

So that’s the lot, new report next time 🙂

stay tooned!

Bridges Over the River Tyne ~ Part 3

Part 1 HERE.   Part 2 HERE

After we got to the end of the High Level Bridge it was time to go to lunch, and we found a fab little cafe called Long Play Cafe, as well as serving great food and coffee, they have a record deck and loads of music on vinyl which you can play if your sitting next to the deck

After lunch we walked to the Swing Bridge and went across it and back again.

The hydraulic power still used to move the bridge is today derived from electrically driven pumps. These feed a hydraulic accumulator sunk into a 60 foot (18 m) shaft below the bridge; the water is then released under pressure which runs the machinery to turn the bridge. The mechanism used for this is still the same machinery originally installed by Armstrong. It has an 281 feet (85.6 m) cantilevered span with a central axis of rotation able to move through 360° to allow vessels to pass on either side of it.The previous bridge on the site was demolished in 1868 to enable larger ships to move upstream to William Armstrong’s works. The hydraulic Swing Bridge was designed and paid for by Armstrong, with work beginning in 1873. It was first used for road traffic on 15 June 1876 and opened for river traffic on 17 July 1876. At the time of construction it was the largest swing bridge ever built. The construction costs were £240,000.The Swing Bridge stands on the site of the Old Tyne Bridges of 1270 and 1781, and probably of the Roman Pons Aelius. It is a Grade II* listed structure.

On the way over

View from the Swing bridge, of the Tyne Bridge and Millennium Bridge

Looking the other way, the Queen Elizabeth 2nd bridge and King Edward V11 bridge beyond it.

On the way back

View of the Castle at the end of the bridge

After we left the bridge we had a wander around the quayside and saw the old Fish Market building

The Fish Market in Victorian times (post 1880 when it was built) on the Quayside near the Guildhall. As the commercial heart of Newcastle moved away from the Quayside so did the traders and the Fish Market moved, during the twentieth century until 1976 it was on Clayton Street, From 1876 the Fish Market moved to the Green Market, part of the new Eldon Square.

Today it is difficult to know where the fish market is.Neptune looks across the Tyne from the top of the old Fish Market, erected in 1880. Also note the larger than usual sea-horses supporting the city arms above the door. This building had been unused for over a decade, but it now rejoins the commercial activity of the area, this time as a high class ale house for the booze sodden partygoers that make the nightly pilgrimage to this centre of revelry.

The upper storey of this building used to house the Town Court, and the Mayor’s Chamber. It is decorated with heraldic devices and scenes from Newcastle’s history, topped by a hammer beam roof.

Then we went on to walk down to the millennium bridge, but as it was Sunday there was a market on and we got distracted by it 🙂 so that will be the next part of our visit to the bridges.

Stay tooned!

(info re Fish Market from http://www.seenewcastle.com)

Day 347~366

Phil’s on night shift this week, and the temperature is quite mild, so took a trip into South Shields and shot the Port of Tyne from our side of the river, lots of pretty lights and reflections. Better if you click on the picture to embiggen it I think.