South Gare (Teesmouth) to Middlesbrough (10 miles 16 km)
It has to be said that the first day of the Teesdale Way from the South Gare, at the mouth of the River Tees, to Middlesbrough is never going to be a pleasant one. Interesting, yes, but not pleasant. On this day you get close to heavy industry, industrial dereliction, noise, pollution and the occasional noxious smell.
Part of the problem of this section is that you have to start at the South Gare and to get there you've got to walk from Redcar. I made the mistake of walking in both directions along the road. Far better to walk along the beech as far as the South Gare Breakwater and then walk back along the road.
The maps show the walk marked in either red dots or red diamonds.
The South Gare Breakwater, with its lighthouse and Harbour Master's office is at the end of the road with the North Sea beyond.
The fishermen's huts with the Cleveland Hills and Teesside's industry.
The Tees estuary and fishing boat harbour. In the distance is one of the enormous ships that bring iron ore and coal to the Tees.
Time your visit for high tide and you are likely to see ships passing up or down the estuary.
The beach towards Redcar - a good way of reaching the South Gare.
A panorama of the Tees Estuary. Click on the photo for a larger image.
From now on there is little escape from industry. This is the Redcar blast furnace....
.......which is expected to come back into production in December 2011. Enormous is hardly an adequate description.
Probably the most boring two kilometres I've ever walked is along the preimeter fence of the steelworks,
The signposted Teesdale Way starts at Warrenby - see above on the map.
Warrenby is one of Teesside's re-cycling centres...
.....and it's here that the Teesdale Way starts properly by this substation.
It's not a promising start but...
.....at least for a little while there is greenery...
......as the path wraps itself around Coatham Marsh before...
.....crossing the railway at a footbridge.
The track meanders across scrubland to reach...
......one of Teesside's main roads, which the Teesdale Way follows for about a kilometere...
.....passing the main entrance to the steelworks.
The road climbs to a bridge over a railway line and the pipelines from the North Sea oilfoelds....
....and at a sign post drops down under a bridge..
.....to head between fences and more open areas before going under the bridge in the distance.
At this point the nature of the walk changes as the "Black Path" heads straight for more heavy industry.
The path is wedged between fences or walls for much of the rest of the day's walk.
On the right is the railway and the British Oxygen plant, which emits a continuous roar: We do need their products however so no complaints please!
On the right are the rolling mills of Lackenby steel works and pipelines carrying oxygen and heavy oil. Much of the path is actually green and not black.
Over to the north, as can be seen on the map is Teesport...
....with its container port.
The path heads on, sandwiched between Lackenby works and the railway.
Just as you think it can't get any worse there's this subway under the A66 docks road.
Beyond, the derelict remains of Grangetown station's subways show nineteenth century stonework.
Then it's on towards South Bank with the path confined between steel fences.
The path passes the coking ovens with flames visible through holes in the retorts.
There's a visible reminder of the previous owners of the steel works on Teesside - Dorman Long.
A feature of the Teesdale Way, in this area, are the sculptures at key points depicting scenes from local industry.
Beyond South Bank the really heavy industry is left behind ...
....as the path heads towards Midldesbrough.
By now you probably feel like hanging your hiking boots up but the worst is over.
More sculptures as the "Black Path"...
.....turns green again for a while..
I had to put in a photo of one of the freight trains that passed during the walk.
...before going under a bridge..
....and then by a drainage channel...
....to reach the streets of Midldesbrough.
The Teesdale Way passes Middlesbrough Football Club's stadium before...
......reaching this ramp. Don't worry the next bit is really good!!
Suddenly, the view opens up and there are things to look at that aren't grey or brown.
The new pedestrian swing bridge over the entrance to Middlesbrough Dock, with a strange circular structure beyond.
The lock gates are open - beyond the channel to the dock is the River Tees.
Middlesbrough Dock no longer has ships but is surrounded by college buildings and hotels.
There's another road-walking section leading towards Middlesbrough's main landmark.
The Transport Bridge towers above the river. It's the only working example of this sort of bridge in England.
Staff wait for more cars before the carriage trundles across the river supported by wires. There's even a small museum and visitor center