Wednesday, July 23, 2008

23rd July 2008 Seaton Carew: Transporter Bridges, and a pier!

This time we headed south Through Hartlepool to stop first at Seaton Carew, a rather quiet seaside village and resort: the council were placing large boulders to reinforce the seafront, and we were taken with the flower beds which contained some lovely varieties we had not previously seen in public.
From her we went on the the famous "Transporter Bridge" which can best be considered a sort of ferry, for vehicles and passengers enter a hanging gondola that is winched smoothly across the tiver in mid air: a very pleasant and unique bit of 1911 technology!
The operator told us "You should come on Sunday as we have bungie jumping and abseiling and jet sliding from the top!
There was also a free mini museum next to the bridge depicting it's history: apparently there are only seven bridges of this type in the world, and this one is the biggest.
A leisurely drive over the moors took us to Castleton to our usual cafe for lunch, then north to the coast and a visit to Saltburn, a picturesque small resort with a very steep winding approach, and it's other claim to fame is one of the last surviving pleasure piers on the east coast.
The beach is covered in coal dust: normally it is pristine sand, but in times of turbulent seas as we have recently had a seam of sea coal is disturbed by the wave action, and amazing amounts of coal dust can come in on a single tide:
Fortunately it can go just as quickly if the weather conditions change.
The pier is accessed from the clifftop by two Victorian water operated balance rail lifts, where the tank in the upper car is filled with water to descend, and at the same time the water in the tank of the lower car is vented to make it lighter, a sophisticated and silent means of operation!

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