I’m a bit of a workaholic and, as my job is also my hobby, I do have a tendency to work 7 days a week including evenings although, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this time at my desk isn’t always spent productively. I’ve pretty much perfected the art of procrastination!
Anyway, in an effort to break the constantly working thing, we’re trying to have one day each weekend where we go out as a family. A week ago we had a lovely visit to Sandsend and Whitby and on Sunday we decided to venture a little further up the coast to Saltburn.
Saltburn – or to give it its full name Saltburn-by-the-sea – is fifty miles from Scarborough but we’re talking slow coastal roads to get there so over an hour’s drive. It’s still in North Yorkshire but within the borough of Redcar and Cleveland and it’s very close to where I was raised. I was born in Middlesbrough but lived in the market town of Guisborough from when I was was three until I officially left home for my first job after graduating university. None of my family live in Guisborough anymore so it’s not an area we usually visit.
Guisborough is only five miles from Saltburn so we’d sometimes visit the beach there when I was younger and, when I was at college, I occasionally frequented a club there called Philmores which was the place to go if you wanted to get in under-age! It closed in the 1990s and is now a hotel.
As we neared Saltburn, I mentioned that I was curious to visit Redcar which is another six miles or so further up the coast. A similar distance from Guisborough as Saltburn, Redcar was where I went to college. I didn’t fancy doing A levels at the local sixth form, choosing instead to study a BTEC in Business & Finance at Redcar’s technical college (Cleveland Tech). I left college in 1990 and visited a few times in the years that followed as I had a couple of friends who lived there but it has to be at least twenty-five years since I last went and quite possibly more.
It was a particularly cold and grey morning when we arrived in Redcar and we parked at the far end in Coatham where the natural beauty of the beach and sand dunes sit alongside the man-made – Teesside Wind Farm with container ships passing by, and British Steel. The munchkin was not impressed with the industrial setting but hubby and I find the views quite fascinating, especially when the sun made an appearance on our return walk.
While we differed in opinion on whether the view was horrendous or interesting, we were all in agreement that one addition since I last visited Redcar wasn’t the prettiest. My photos really don’t do it justice because they’re too dark but if you click on the Redcar link earlier, you can see the ‘Redcar Beacon’ in glorious purple and golden-yellow colour.
At seven floors and 80ft high, this attraction was built in 2013 and provides panoramic views of Redcar. It looks like a helter-skelter wrapped round an old tower block. To me, it was reminiscent of a mini version of the 1960s built round tower block I lived in at Loughborough University! I wasn’t aware of its existence until Sunday but hubby seemed to think it had come under tremendous criticism.
I’ve just had a quick look on TripAdvisor and didn’t need to scroll through the reviews as the low-rating conveyed the strong opinion, as did this 1-star rating: “This structure is an abomination, a giant carbuncle on a seafront that has enough already. Whoever approved it’s construction was either insane or the recipient of a bung”. Hmm! I’m sure the views are fabulous.
When I was at college in Redcar, there were four of us who’d hang around together. At dinner time, we wandered into town and ate our packed lunches in some old wooden shelters on the seafront, regardless of the weather. Brr! Sometimes we’d grab a drink or snack in Woolworths or M&S as we cut through them to get to the front. Woolworths has long gone and M&S is also no more. It was weird seeing the back of the buildings as one of the buildings hadn’t changed at all since my college days of 1986-88, but I couldn’t decide if it had been Woolworths or M&S. I can barely remember what I did from day to day so thinking back thirty-four years is a stretch too far!
The seafront has changed with fresh paving, new shelters and some artwork. I didn’t think to take any photos although I don’t have any from my college days to compare them to as those were the days before mobile phones so we didn’t tend to take snaps.
Redcar town centre was pretty much unrecognisable. Like most town centres these days, there were lots of empty shops, but there were quite a few people around. I nipped into The Works. My brother had posted a photo a couple of weeks earlier of the shelves in the Redcar branch after my nieces rearranged them but there was only one copy of New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow left which was lovely to see.
We walked back along the beach and took a drive via Markse-by-the-sea and onto our original destination of Saltburn. The sun which had made a brief appearance in Redcar had gone so I’m afraid the photos are a bit dull and grey. It was late afternoon so it was only a brief visit and wander along the cliff top.
Whenever I think of Saltburn from childhood, I think of the extremely windy road to get down to the beach and the pier. I love piers. Opened in 1869, it’s 450m long and is the most northerly pier still in Britain today, which I hadn’t realised.
The funicular wasn’t in operation, being out of season, so we didn’t get a chance to ride on that. We decided not to wander down to the pier as we needed to get something for tea before the shops closed, but hopefully we’ll go back another day to have more of a wander.
I tried to get a selfie of me with the funicular and pier behind me but I still haven’t perfected the art of the selfie. My head just doesn’t work with the angle and I always look cross-eyed but here you go…
The munchkin is brilliant at doing selfies but I think that’s a generational thing. It’s like they were born instinctively knowing how to do it!
Hope you enjoyed my pics from a little further up the coast. It was good to visit Redcar again after all these years but strange to see how much had changed/how little I recognised. Hopefully we’ll have another trip out this coming weekend – destination as yet undecided – so watch this space!
Hope the last week in January treats you well.