Summer Walk Report No 8, Saltwell Park & Angel of the North - Tuesday 22nd July 2014.

On Tuesday 22nd July 2014, the Camera Club Summer Walks and Visits continued in Gateshead as two new venues at
Saltwell Park and The Angel of the North were included in the programme for the first time.


Members met in the car park off Joicey Road and entered Saltwell Park from the south east entrance. This victorian park
was opened in 1876, is spread over an area of fifty five acres and is known locally as the peoples park. The park consists
of three sections, Saltwell Grove, the southern section has an area of grassed open space surrounded by large trees,
quiet corners to sit in ornamental shelters, a bandstand and an oriental friendship garden. From this area members spread
out to explore our new surroundings and find items of interest to photograph.
Moving into the central area, Saltwell Towers, the centrepiece of the park came into view. Completed in 1871, this strange
victorian mansion house, built in red and yellow brick with gothic turrets and mock battlements, was home to William Wailes
who sold his Saltwellside Estate to the council to turn the land into the park. This grade 2 listed building is now the visitor
centre, gallery and café. In the grounds surrounding Saltwell Towers there are three war memorials, a sculpture trail, a pets
corner, a maze, a dene with ponds and waterfalls, drinking fountains and a rose garden.
The Northern Fields section of the park is the largest with an extensive grassed area for sport and games, picnics & family
activities. This area was very busy as people enjoyed the evening sun which illuminated the gentle west facing grass banks
that run down to a large boating lake. The lake is also a haven for wildlife with geese, swans, ducks, coots & tufted ducks
amongst those photographed by some members. Three bowling greens, two pavilions, tennis courts, colourful flower beds
and two childrens playgrounds complete this area of the park.


Squirrels also inhabit the park and in quiet corners they could be seen running through the flower beds or rifling through the
park litter bins. With miles of well maintained footpaths you can see why Saltwell Park has remained such a popular, local
attraction with over two million visitors a year. It will be interesting to see the results of this visit and how members saw it
through the camera lens.


A short drive south of one mile saw members regroup at the Angel of the North for the second part of our Gateshead visit.
Erected in February 1998 it was hard to believe that it has been here over sixteen years as Antony Gormleys amazing steel
sculpture stood with its beautifully weathered brown and orange tones glowing in the evening light.
Sixty six feet tall with a wingspan of one hundred and seventy seven feet it cost £1 million pounds and was funded by the
national lottery. The angel was photographed from every angle by club members and there is something about it that draws
you in, evoking a need to explore its the strength and size.
Gormley described the concept of the angel as three-fold, first, to signify that beneath the site of its construction, miners
worked for two centuries, second, to grasp the transition of the area from an industrial to an information age and third, to
serve as a focus for our evolving hope and fears.
Whilst the club were present a constant stream of visitors from both home and abroad arrived and departed, confirming its
popularity as a North East Icon.
                                             Davy Bolam.