Amongst birders throughout the land, seawatchers are probably amongst the hardiest of the tribe, often braving the very worst weather conditions which bring out the very best seabirds.
Here in the North East there is a host of good seawatching locations, Seaton Sluice, St Mary's Island, Whitburn and Hartlepool. They all have something in common that my chosen headland of Newbiggin doesn't, a decent hide.
Yes, surf gazers heading for any of the aforementioned locations might get a tad wet between car and the relative desert dryness of the hide but they aren't going to get a drenching during a twelve hour marathon; more importantly they will have something to sit on. Given the ambitious plans unveiled for the replacement of the Hartlepool hide one can only imagine that this will involve Barker & Stonehouse leather sofas and waiter served espresso on demand to keep them awake.
Meanwhile at Church Point, the lucky two who arrive first will at least have a roof over their heads, but that's where the luxury ends. It is this combined with the knowledge that once you reach a certain age, sea watching is hard on the haemorrhoids that led to my latest purchase.
Whilst browsing in the garden centre last week I found the ideal sea watching chair. The Gelert Kids Orbit Chair is small, waterproof, comes in it's own bag, folds up and is lightweight so not too difficult to add to the paraphenalia already lugged about.
I've tested it out for an hour and it performs brilliantly, steady I didn't tip once, offers a little back support, reduces cramp in the knees and hips, just the job and all for just under 12quid. You can pick them up online even cheaper, there's even a pink flowery one if you wish to make an ironic statement about big girls blouses.