I will never forget the first time I saw Marsden Rock. I was eleven years old
and we had just moved to Grotto Road in South Shields. I was so excited to
be living by the beach and couldn’t wait to go exploring and climbing.
A gang of friends were going to Marsden Rock. We crossed the leas and the
railway line and reached the top of the cliffs. There is was – Marsden Rock! It
was big and covered with bird’s nests and it needed to be climbed.
I was a tomboy and preferred to play with the boys. I thought I was a boy! If
they could do it – I could do it, or die in the attempt.
We weren’t allowed to climb the rock, but we did anyway. We would race
each other and avoid the loose soil and rocks and nesting birds. When we
had climbed as high as possible, we would jump off into the sea. We would
dare each other to swim around the rock; it was very dangerous because of
the fierce undercurrents and waves crashing against the rock. Once we swam
through the rock – even more dangerous!
Once we were trapped by the tide and someone sent for the police and fire
brigade to rescue us, tough we would have waited for the tide to go out again
– we were not afraid of anything!
When we had worn ourselves out, we would build a fire and roast some
potatoes, tell dirty jokes and have a good laugh. Those were happy, happy,
Today the Marsden grotto is not the same – it is neglected, the beach is stony
and half the rock has fallen down. But my spirit of adventure is still as strong
as ever. I have travelled all over the world doing the wildest things! I’ve
travelled America on a motorbike, hitch hiked on the continent, skied the
Pyrenees, walked the Great Wall of China, seen the terracotta army, the Taj
Mahal and many more exciting places.
My next adventure is to swim the Arctic Ocean for my Seventieth Birthday!