NZ4064 : Marsden Bay at South Shields

taken 4 years ago, 3 km from Harton, South Tyneside, Great Britain

Marsden Bay at South Shields
Marsden Bay at South Shields
In the centre of the shot is Marsden Rock.
Marsden Rock

Marsden Rock is an imposing 100-foot sea-stack of Magnesian Limestone lying 100 yards off the mainland of South Shields. Marsden Bay, the cliff-top Leas, and nearby Souter Lighthouse are owned by The National Trust.
In 1830, Peter Allan, landlord of The Marsden Grotto located on the beach opposite the rock, along with two assistants, constructed a flight of steps up the side of the rock. The steps took two weeks to erect, and eventually visitors could climb to the top and purchase refreshments from a tent.
In 1903 several choirs climbed onto the rock to perform a choral service.
In 1911 a large section of the rock collapsed into the sea, leaving a magnificent natural arch that featured in postcards and visitors' photographs over many years NZ4064 : Marsden Rock Bird Sanctuary, NZ4064 : Marsden Rock (1974)
This arch collapsed during the severe winter of 1995-96, splitting the rock into two separate stacks. In 1997 the smaller stack was declared unsafe and was demolished in the interests of public safety LinkExternal link
The rock can be reached on foot during low tide, but is completely surrounded by water at high tide. It is being actively eroded by the action of the sea and its base contains several caves and small arches NZ4064 : Arch in Marsden Rock
The rock is home to large numbers of nesting cormorants, kittiwakes and fulmars and remains one of the most important sea bird colonies in England NZ4064 : Seabirds on Marsden Rock.
LinkExternal link LinkExternal link

Marsden Bay :: NZ3965

There is an amazing and typically-uncompromising poem called 'At Marsden Bay' by Peter Reading (Diplopic 1983)that combines Permian Geology, wildlife and the destructive force of youth. It is said to be based on an event which actually happened at the bay and sadly these things still occur LinkExternal link

The first stanza is reproduced below:

Arid hot desert stretched here in the early
Permian Period - sand dune fossils
are pressed to a brownish bottom stratum.
A tropical saline ocean next silted
calcium and magnesium carbonates
over this bed, forming rough Magnesian
Limestone cliffs on the ledges of which
Rissa tridactyla colonizes -
an estimated four thousand pairs
that shuttle like close-packed tracer bullets
against dark sky between nests and North Sea.
The call is a shrill “kit-e-wayke, kit-e-wayke”,
also a low “uk-uk-uk” and a plaintive
“ee-e-e-eeh, ee-e-e-eeh”

A review can be found here LinkExternal link
Here's another image that illustrates the poem NZ3965 : Gulls nesting on the cliff in Marsden Bay

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NZ4064, 226 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 27 August, 2017   (more nearby)
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
Geographical Context
Coastal  Rocks, Scree, Cliffs 
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 402 647 [100m precision]
WGS84: 54:58.5394N 1:22.4002W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 403 646
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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Other Tags
Bay  Cliffs 

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Image Type (about): geograph 
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