A Conversation for Wonderful Rivers
the river tyne
braindead_geordie Started conversation May 21, 2003
well, of course i had to say this!
but seriously, the tyne is a beautiful river, with a lot of history. it starts in cumbria, on alston moor (alston is the highest market town in england), skirts hadrian's wall (which i presume needs no introduction?!), passes wylam (where george stephenson - he of the railways - was born), blaydon (immortalised in the geordie song 'the blaydon races' which non-geordies may know as the music to the 'butchers dog food' adverts), passes under the seven bridges (though i guess that's eight now, with the opening of the millennium footbridge - also known as the newcastle eye) of newcastle upon tyne (not to be confused with newcastle under lyme!) and gateshead (with the new baltic art gallery - the largest art gallery in england outside london, i believe - and the music centre, designed by norman foster, which is due to open next spring), past wallsend (named thus cos hadrian's wall ends there, amazingly enough) and jarrow (where st bede lived) to tynemouth (guess where that name came from!) and empties into the north sea (brrr).
it was a major route for the export of coal from the 13th century until the decline of the coalfields in the second half of the 20th century - giving rise to the saying "taking coals to newcastle" which proverbially describes a self-evidently pointless task.
the lower reaches of the river used to be one of the world's most important centres of shipbuilding but despite valiant efforts it's pretty much all gone now. to support the shipbuilding and export industries of tyneside, the lower reaches of the river were extensively remodelled during the 19th century, with islands removed and bends straightened. i remember when they were preparing the ground to build the copthorne hotel on the quayside (which was more than 10 yrs ago but i can't remember when exactly), they discovered the original river edge, which was a good 10 metres (if not more) back from where it is now. there's also an oxbow lake further up, at newburn haugh, leftover from when they straightened the river.
due to all the industrial work going on along its banks, the tyne used to be filthy - my mother said that in the 50s, if you fell in it, you had to have your stomach pumped. it was little more than an open sewer, but it's been cleaned up and is now one of the finest salmon rivers in england. i've even seen a seal in the river at wylam, which is about 30 miles inland (the tyne is tidal up to that point).
there's no river tour but you can get a foot passenger ferry, which goes between north shields and south shields - something the writer of 'the waters of tyne' could have done with! (http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/w/watersof.html)
the river tyne
the_jon_m - bluesman of the parish Posted May 21, 2003
However I assoicate the Tyne with a fat English footballer drunk on his own fame (and lots of alchol) to produce a poor novelty record.
the river tyne
Al Johnston Posted Jul 4, 2003
It is indeed.
Also, in my slightly biased opinion, one of the better rivers in the UK for rowing on: there aren't many in the UK where you have such an uninterrupted continuous reach. All the way from Tynemouth to Wylam is possible if you're so inclined, although between Scotswood and Wylam is most popular, with the Tyne and Newcastle University Clubs being based at Newburn. Tyne RC also host Durham and Northumbria University Boat Clubs, as well as Ponteland High School.
Aside from the odd jetskier and water-skier ( Bog off to the Bahamas, you're wasting a perfectly good wetsuit!) the Tyne is also remarkably free of powerboats and so can be rowed on at a civilised hour.
There are some tour boats these days, operating from the Quayside, although I doubt if anyone on board is looking at the scenery.
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