Another Slog

Day 37 – Redcar to South Shields – 26th June – 26.8 nm

We couldn't find a campsite last night so we headed to a motel, hoping for a good night of sleep and a little more space. It was not a good choice, after a poor night of sleep we both agreed the van was the better option in future, lesson learnt.

In the morning light Redcar looks a little shinier and there is a definite F-word-free buzz about the place. Conditions are calm again with a forecast for a strengthening offshore wind later, it is not a dramatic forecast and later I realise that I'm a bit too complacent with it.

Once again it is a late launch, and once again under grey skies. Soon the tide is going to dictate that we have to go onto ‘split shifts’ I guess – today is a 14:30 start. Team Manager later remarks that as she starts her day, driving out of Redcar the kids are heading home from school, at the end of theirs.

In 2012 crossing the Tees was a slightly nervous affair, a choppy day with ships moored all-around, pilot boats zipping all over and various traffic movements in and out. Today I decide to route through the wind-farm to give me a little ‘cover’, but it is unnecessary. There are only a few boats anchored further out, I have the rest of the lonely grey bay to myself. Some sort of industrial indicator I wonder?

Hartlepool is the first landmark after an hour and a half or so, I've not yet visited the place, it doesn't look like I will today either. 
Rounding the headland I drift off-shore now as I straightline it towards Sunderland. The sun makes an appearance and the wind does indeed strengthen, it is strong enough that I am drifting further offshore than I would like. I have to ‘re-assess’ my GPS heading a few times, I can’t maintain the original track because of the offshore wind and have to paddle with a ferry angle on. I wish I’d stayed close to the shelter of the shore, but I made my choice and now I'm 3 miles out, just have to get on with the job. When I stop for a break eye-brows raise when I see how quickly I am drifting even further off track.

I'm heading for a small cargo ship anchored in the distance, it seems to take forever to reach it, but eventually it slips by. Sunderland soon follows, and then I reach the headland at Whitburn, along with a welcome chance to skulk out of the wind.

As I close on South Shields I look at the watch, it shows just over 6 hrs. I'm pretty disappointed, I was hoping for more out of the day. The conditions promised a long day but I got greedy going straightline and paid for it with the wind. I'm knackered now and the sandy beach at South Shields looks too easy an option – time to be a wuss, I'm in.

After all the days so far scratching along the coast to avoid the wind, you would have thought I would have learnt the lesson by now – but apparently not.

We trolley the boat across the soft sand. The beach is pleasant but it has a slightly sunny Friday night hectic nature. There are a surprising number of dogs around. As we head up the beach we are accompanied by in-vain shouts of attempted control while Fido attempts to murder Bozo. Again and then again – an unusual, after landing first impression I reflect.

As we load up, the elderly gentleman in the car next door, puts his flask away and winds his window down to have a pleasant chat. Beneath a blanket in the next seat I can see his wife, I can't help but wonder if she is asleep or has passed away while he admired the view - I think I hear a gentle snore -good.

Another example of the trip forecasting the future I wonder?