2012: Friday Walks, The Marshlands

What with one thing and another, this was the first time we’d done this walk since March. It goes out onto the Marshlands in the Dee Estuary, between Parkgate and Heswall. And in the summer, as there’s no shade, it can get too hot out there to walk all day. So the walk works best when it’s cooler. And also when the marsh plants have died back a bit, making it easier to spot all the little creeks that flow into the bigger channels out there.

This is the first walk we’ve done since the clocks went forward here in Britain, so by the end of the walk it will be darkling. But we begin in brilliant sunshine.

Starting off from the former open air swimming pool, along from The Boathouse pub.

Sarah thinks these are some sort of crab apple.

Up onto the old sea wall.

Regular readers will notice the first appearance since last winter of the coat of many colours. It’s a cold, windy day.

Along the wall the Dee used to lap against.

Past this ancient boat slip.

Then we find a new memorial bench has arrived since we were last along here.

To the memory of Derek Foster.

The wind brushing through the browning marsh grasses.

And as soon as we can we’re out onto The Marshlands.

Where Sarah collects some seed heads from these Michaelmas Daisies. Good as part of their fire starting kit on Plot 44.

And runs her fingers through the marsh grasses.

There is still springy green growth as well as dying back happening.

And we soon reach what we now know to be one of the many Viking settlements along here, ‘Geittun’ (meaning ‘Geit’s farmstead in old Norse) or Gayton as it’s spelled nowadays.

Though we’re sure it wasn’t the Vikings tried to turn Gayton into a seaside resort.

No doubt the horse drawn Georgian and Victorian bathing machines would trundle up and down here.

Today we stop in this lovely place for our lunch.

Contemplating the winter trees above us. Seems too soon but here they are, all leaves gone.

Must be the witchcraft.

There are strange creatures around here.

Soon we’re back out onto The Marshland.

Balancing on driftwood tree trunks.

It’s very wet out here today. Sarah says “If this walk had a soundtrack it would be ‘Squelch!”

And we notice the main channel has been widened since we were last here. No doubt to get more water further upstream to the new lakes we’ve seen formed up at Parkgate and Ness.

Just after high tide…

The channel still pretty full.

The Wreck, there no more.

In widening the channel though, something’s gone missing. An old wreck of a boat that Sarah liked to sit in. Now sadly gone.

Part of the works carried out, this new little bridge…

But the fact is we could have done with a couple more of these new bridges over some of the creeks. Because at one, where we have to jump across, Sarah falls over into the squelchy Marsh mud. Even gets it on her witches hat!

I am immediately blamed. The ‘helping hand’ I’ve offered her over the creek has in fact ‘pulled her to the ground.’ This of course is a vile calumny. But is nonetheless repeated for the rest of the walk.

The damage. Mud right up to Sarah’s waist.

At Lower Heswall we leave The Marsh. Normally on this walk we only leave for a short while before returning to it. But today it has been heavy going (and of course there’s been the falling over incident), so we decide to go most of the way back to Parkgate along the sheltered dis-used railway line that is the Wirral Way.

Under bridges…

Warm and sheltered from the marsh winds down here…

Allowing growth to continue…

Likely escapees from nearby gardens.

The afternoon grows late…

And we drop down to the path along the edge of the marsh.

At this point Sarah’s energy is flagging (And there has of course been the falling over incident).

But all is put right by the promise of ice cream to come, when we reach Parkgate.

When we get there it’s darkling and cold and we’re the only ones sat on the wall opposite Nicholls Ice Cream Shop (‘Serving since 1937’)…

But it’s obligatory isn’t it?

Sarah has mint choc chip and vanilla. And her dining companion rum & raisin and panacotta. Both with flakes. Delicious

And evening falls, very early, but we’ll get used to that over these next few northern months.

A good day, good fun. And the falling over definitely wasn’t my fault.

Thanks to Gerry at ‘That’s How The Light Gets In’ for his thoroughly researched post on Viking settlements on the Wirral and elsewhere in the north west. Highly recommended reading for all who love these same places we do.

20 thoughts on “2012: Friday Walks, The Marshlands

  1. Gerry

    Thanks for the kind comment, Ronnie. Another enjoyable Friday walk; pity about the falling over incident, but those ice creams must have definitely compensated.

  2. The Accidental Amazon

    Next time, Sarah, I’d suggest perhaps a running leap instead of a helping hand. Just a thought…

    Also glad to see that we New Englanders aren’t the only people who eat ice cream when it’s cold out.

    1. Sarah Horton

      Haha… Kathi, I was doing ‘my’ version of a running leap (but it is very very slippy and muddy) and of course, being related to Hobbits, I have the short human legs, unlike your gazelle physique and Ronnie’s long legs… so this was sort of bound to happen one day. Although falling was not pleasant, the multiple mud channels that have to be ‘hopped’ over do add a sense of adrenalin to the walk!

      1. The Accidental Amazon

        Okay, so ballet lessons would be a no. So, maybe hip boots aka waders?? Just remember that it’s a Hobbit who is the hero of the story. Ronnie & I, being of the Elvish persuasion, are only the roadies.

      2. The Accidental Amazon

        Absolutely, Ronnie. I don’t think white spandex with rhinestones is quite your look anyway.

  3. Nancy's Point (@NancysPoint)

    Good to see the coat of many colors again! Sounds like it was a great walk, well except for the falling incident. I can’t help but notice the lack of “joiners” on this walk. And by the way, there is no wrong time to eat ice cream. There just isn’t.

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Hi Nancy, there are never joiners as such. Just sometimes others seem to be doing much the same walk at the same time. But on this one, once we go out onto the marsh itself we very rarely see other humans. I think many people think it’s dangerous. As Sarah kind of proved!

  4. cheethamlibMandy

    Fascinating reading about the Norse link in that beautiful place.I like the term darkling and must remember to use it when evening falls. Maybe there was trickery afoot when the rainbow witch had her unfortunate fall. By the way I loved the walk along the deserted railway.

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      I could never remember where the word darkling came from, and half suspected I’d made it up. Sadly not. Searching on it now reveals it to be possibly Middle English. And its first known use in literature is by Shakespeare in King Lear. So not my contribution to the language after all! But it’s always lovely to bring the word out and use it, especially at this time here in the northern hemisphere. When the days grow dark so soon and lights are sparkling in the colder air.

  5. lindsay53

    Hi Ronnie! Of course the falling over incident was your fault! You should, by now & after so many walks together be able to anticipate & respond appropriately to Sarah’s flying leaps. Do better next time! Gorgeous photos & love the ice cream in the sunset!x

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Just when it was all calming down you’ve gone and inflamed the situation again! Even now as she’s stomping around the kitchen juicing oranges for after our run, she’s triumphantly shouting back ‘Yes! You should have anticipated!’

      We always think of you when we’re out on this walk as we get a good view over to the part of Wales where you used to live. ‘Lindsayville’ we call it. x


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