Out of the station at Hoylake we walk down towards the sea and follow the edge of the very marshy beach towards West Kirby. Out of all the birds described in the information board below I think I could recognise the sanderling (because of its scuttling gait), the oystercatcher (due to its red beak) and the curlew (again long curved beak and mottled feathers). I may be getting better at it but there is a long way to go.
Soon we are faced with a choice of walking along the beach or the road – we take the “beach”, winding our way around and through large patches of soft sand and water. It doesn’t take long.
And pretty soon we are in West Kirby……………..
Not many ice-creams being sold today but people are out enjoying the sunshine……but hang on a minute……………… is this nondescript seaside town on the Wirral the site of unreported miracles? Are they walking on water?
Well no – it turns out there is a concrete path circling what is in effect a marine lake – we give it a go. It is not quite a Biblical experience but definitely peculiar and curiously liberating.
The windsurfers get very close ………….
After this bit of excitement the path leads us down onto a long straight forest track through Wirral Country Park. Not much happens apart from trying to dodge families of cyclists out for the day and I fall into that meditative plodding motion which helps me through uneventful stretches of walking. The sun is warm on my back and it’s lovely to hear birdsong – I’m happy.
However, after about 4 miles of this, both of us are gasping for a cup of tea so we hail a group of people to ask about cafes in the vicinity. The directions are a little vague (or were they too complex for us to remember?) and it takes another mile of residential streets before we get to the turn off for Parkland where pubs and cafes have been promised.
The town is very busy on this Sunday afternoon and we walk up and down the street for a while trying to find a cafe with space for us – in desperation I plump for an ice- cream.
And just as I am taking my first slurp we are lucky enough to grab a table from a couple who are just leaving the cafe next door. From here it’s all downhill – we miss two busses (standing in the wrong place, my fault, and unreliable rail replacement busses). The rainbow over Neston station is the only uplifting moment of an hour waiting in the cold.
I am very glad to get back to Liverpool.
Distance: 11 miles