Though I’ve walked the length of Roker Pier at the mouth of the Wear many times, in all my visits to South Shields I’d never walked the pier there. Until today.

I’ve set foot (and tyre) upon it many times as I emerged from the road behind the amusements, but always to turn left and continue my way upstream.

As I’ve been saying in training workshops all week, without change we stagnate, so it was time to embrace that new direction.

Part of the reason that I’ve never ventured to the east, is that the lighthouse seems insignificant from the shore, and there are several reasons for this.  The Groyne light at Shields is more accessible, and being bright red is far more photographed, and compared to the lighthouses at Roker and Souter this is smaller, and bar it’s jaunty red and white cap, less noticeable.

Roker has an advantage here.  It is taller, and at the end of a beautiful sweeping curve that leads the eye to the edifice that holds the light, but at 2800 feet in length the pier is shorter than its Tyneside neighbour which extends into the sea for over a mile.  The Shields light is bound to look smaller, it’s further away and at the end of a pier which lacks the grace of Roker.  For much of the walk along its length the light is hidden by the sea wall.

Yet there were other rewards in store. The entrance of a yacht briefly excited me as I anticipated shooting it against the backdrop of the Tynemouth Priory ruins.  As luck would have it the vessel approached the target, then performed a 360 loop whilst dropping its sails before reaching the spot.

Then there was the lady who told me about the seal that was bobbing about.  A seal that through a telephoto proved to be a small marker buoy.  I needn’t have worried though.  There was plenty to aim my lens at.

The greater length of the structure meant more anglers, increasing my chances of finding a striking portrait.  They don’t come more fisherman-like than Alan.



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