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Chips and me walked the East Durham Coastline from Seaton Carew to Seaham – eighteen miles of deep, wooded denes and long beaches littered with the remains of old industry, brownfield sites above the beaches, a huge pipe on iron stilts that was used to draw seawater to produce magnesium , great concrete slabs that were used to seat diggers or pumps or WW2 cannon. In the heart of a deep gully we saw a curved brick wall that had collapsed back into the undergrowth.

The Northumberland coastline is beautiful and windswept, but the East Durham coastline is more rugged. It’s a much more taxing place to walk, which is why I’m sitting in MaccyDs at half-four in the morning – my legs were just too sore to sleep – the paths are steep, the beaches are grubby with the slag from long-dismantled collieries, and there are few walkers.

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