Once adjacent to the green hill, climb the stairs on your left to reach the large piece of sandstone enclosed by timber walling. This is Prophecy Monolith and contains the words, “Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree and instead of briars the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord`s renown for an everlasting sign which will not be destroyed“. These words from Isaiah, which were carved by Alec Peever, refer to the care required to maintain the environment.
Cross over the lock gates, at either end of the harbour island between the two water inlets, examine at close hand the white feathers and the clay pipes set within the two capstans and, on the ground, look out for the bronze brogues and the ladies stilettos.
These pieces make up Sea Dreamer`s Rest, a work by local artist Gilly Rogers which reflects the romance of returning seamen as they reach for home or dream of open water. The white feathers symbolise the floating dreams of the people who pass through, their aspirations for the present and the creation of a confident future. The clay pipes reflect the passage of time, the encapsulation of dreams and the quiet contemplation of all who have gone before. The natural viewpoints have been recognised by the shoes; the brogues marking the seaward end and the ladies stilettos marking the marina end, suggesting the changing lifestyles during the long history of the harbour island and the community which thrives around it.
This path is part of two major lung-bursting cross-country cycling trails, the Coast to Coast (C2C) and the Reivers Cycling Route. Turn right where the fence ends and cross over the lock gates which serve the adjoining picturesque marina.
Lightning Clock by Sheffield born Andy Plant. The sculpture, commissioned to form the centrepiece of this popular retail complex, is as much performance as visual art, combining mechanics and engineering, a sense of place and a sense of humour. The clock is 30 feet high, consisting of two beaten copper spheres fixed to a stainless steel column resting on a cast iron base, with a fibre glass weatherman figure. As the hour approaches, all comes to life. The weatherman pulls a lever. The sound of thunder is heard. The face of the North Wind rotates, eyes rolling, and blows out smoke to knock the weatherman off his feet. Gradually, the storm dies down, all is quiet again….until the next hour strikes. The shopping centre is an ideal place to take a break and to have some refreshments.
Continue left off the hill, along the footpath curving to the right, until you reach the cut-steel entrance way, designed by children from the local St. Bernadette`s Primary School, which leads you out of the dene to a large roundabout. Cross straight over the road and pass through the large vehicular entrance to the International Ferry Terminal from where there are regular sailings to Norway, Sweden and Holland. Cross over to the pavement on the right hand side of the access road and walk forwards for 100 metres. On reaching the green mound on your left you will see, just beyond the trees, the art installation entitled Dudes by Permindar Kaur.
Thirteen brightly coloured figures march towards the passenger terminal building. With their shiny helmets and boots, are they warriors retreating or attacking ? Or are they more playful, like toys searching for new playmates from another country or continent? Friend or foe? Where have they come from….why are they here….where are they going? Powdered in bright blue and red, the figures represent what a port is about – moving, travelling. Seeking out the new.
If you happen to be sailing from here you will be able to see that a further two Dudes, nearer to achieving their goal, have made it to the terminal building and are heading for the departure gates.
At the top of a small but prominent green hill with a set of six tall timbers on top is ‘Rugged Landscape” . Just beyond the hill, on your left, take the footpath with the long, shallow steps to the top of the hill. Laid out on the ground is a pebble mosaic depicting the British Isles and Europe and, together with the stainless steel directional markers to five European countries, this makes a very fine vantage point.
Follow a footpath past the large vertical timbers which signify that you are now entering Redburn Dene, once one of the main rail routes from the Northumberland coalfields to the staithes on the River Tyne. The redundant wooden staithes were reclaimed and used, along with a substantial number of large boulders, throughout the dene to form the environmental work, Rugged Landscape
It took three years to construct in the artist`s New York studio before being dismantled and shipped to England. Sandblasting, priming and painting preceded final transportation by road to the Royal Quays. The three day installation of the work was carried out over the last weekend in July 1999. Of the work, the artist said, “The North East is rich in history and the legacy of heavy industry is visible everywhere you look. I wanted to add to this feeling of the past impacting on the present and Tyne Anew will be a constant reminder of the industrial foundations the North East is built on”.
Once across the lock-gates, beside the marina buildings, turn left to the corner where the floating restaurant, the Earl of Zetland, is moored. To your left, at the river`s edge, stands the 71 feet high orange steel structure entitled, Tyne Anew (6) by the renowned American sculptor, Mark di Suvero. The work, the artist`s first UK commission, is a monument to artistic engineering and balancing skill, with the three huge tripod style legs supporting a top piece that gently twists and dips in the wind.