It’s the May Bank Holiday and I’ve just walked from coast to coast with a few of my friends. Not the Wainwright Classic walk but a rather shorter alternative across the Wirral from the Mersey to the Dee. Actually it was not even that as we did not really see the Mersey. We did pass underneath it on the train as we made our way from Liverpool to Hoylake. Letting the train take the strain was a sensible option as it kept us away from the busy Bank Holiday traffic on the roads.
We started the walk from Hoylake station and followed field paths to cross the Saughall Massie Road and eventually reach Royden Country Park. We now had to concentrate as my route directions. printed in 1998, we rather vague and the numbered walk discs were long gone.
We were heading for Thurstaston Common but had to pass through an unusual lift stile. Gordon showed us how to operate it. Soon we came to Thor’s Stone, a sandstone outcrop. Chris decided to demonstrate his rock climbing skills.
At the edge of the sandstone ridge we paused for lunch giving us chance to admire the view.
Below us were the sandbanks of the Dee estuary with the Clwydian Hills on the far side and Moel Fammau in the distance. To our right was Caldy Hill and West Kirby, our final destination. A steep descent through heather led us to the corner of the playing fields. The Rugby Club was holding a beer festival. Did we go there. No, we were on a mission. Were we tempted – Yes.
We followed paths alongside some paddocks before reaching Stapledon Wood. There were quite a few wild flowers, Lesser Periwinkle,Vinca minor, and Bluebells. I did not really have time to stop and take photos as the rest of the group went marching by.
Our path wound its way through the woods, passing the ends of some gardens before climbing up through gorse onto open heath. We were heading towards two transmitter masts but just before reaching them we turned left to reach a stone column with a toposcope. We were trying to orientate ourselves but David took charge and pointed out all the relevant features. The tide was out and the Hilbre Islands looked impressive. Visibility was good and we could even see Blackpool Tower on the distant horizon.
A steep flight of steps led us down to a road and on to a tall column that was erected in 1841 by the Liverpool Docks Authority to act as a beacon for mariners entering Liverpool Bay from the Irish Sea.
We now headed down into West Kirby and the marina. A regatta was taking place and we walked round the Marine Lake. Peter, our sea-faring expert was able to explain the rules of the racing and some of the finer tactical points. It was very competitive and made for some colourful images.
We now had a choice. Continue along the beach for another couple of miles round Red Rocks and back to Hoylake, or head for the cafe for a pot of tea. We had a vote – it was unanimous. We headed for the tea shop. ‘Lattetude’ We sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed tea and cake.
The tea and coffee we both good with excellent service. We gave them a score of 4. One point was lost because they only had ‘squirty cream’ with the scones.
It had been a good day and we had walked an easy 8 miles. We had seen lots of people walking over to the Hilbre Islands. An idea for a future walk.