Remember those fantastic imaginary land and sea scapes Roger Dean would paint for the classic Yes albums? Well today we’re going to see some of them for real and very close to home.
It’s a bright blue very cold day as Sarah and I set out on our walk. This is the first time she’s been walking with me in a few weeks as her independent funeral work has kept her so busy. The last time we came out together was also to Wirral, the day we did our very handy (and popular, thanks) guide to Wirral for our fellow Liverpool people.
So we won’t tell you how we got here today. We also won’t talk about the history of where we’re going, I’ve covered that before.
We won’t have any ice cream either, it’s much too cold.
We’re going over there. To Little Eye, Middle Eye and Hilbre. Close to the Edge of the visible world.
For half of every day we’d have to walk across the sea to do this, out where the Dee and the Mersey merge into the Irish Sea.
Today we walk through a mysterious watery edge land.
Close to Little Eye we start imagining what we are seeing at a different scale.
Rivers, lakes and mountains laid out before us.
Like places Roger Dean imagined and painted for Yes.
Sarah walking to Middle Eye.
Looking for shells, like always.
Middle Eye in yellow sandstone, the red sandstone of Hilbre behind it.
Mysterious lands, thickly forested in black seaweed.
Like Topographic Oceans.
We reach the far side of Middle Eye.
If you’re familiar with the walk to Hilbre you may not be familiar with what you’re seeing here. On the way to Middle Eye we’ve turned to the right of the usual route. On the far side of the rocks that mean we won’t be able to get across the slippy seaweed to the main islands today. Which is fine, we’ve been to them many times before. Today we’re looking at places we don’t see so often.
In the shelter of Middle Eye the wind drops and we stop for lunch.
Sitting here looking across at North Wales.
The rocks are full of sponge.
On the far side of Hilbre now. The island is busy with visitors today.
Down here at the edge of the sea it’s us and the lapwings. This is as far as we go, the tide is turning but we know we’ve got plenty of time for the slow walk back.
We turn round and see the whole Dee Estuary, the whole shining shore before us.
And pass more fantastical miniature lands, on our left now.
All the way back, nature as imaginative as any artist.
Back in West Kirby the art of this beautiful place continues.
In the town we buy fruit, vegetables and some second hand LPs before travelling back through the tunnel. A wonderful day. And as Jon Anderson of Yes would, and indeed did say ‘Nous Sommes du Soleil.’
(I don’t know who did the above painting, it’s on a gable end in West Kirby. If you know then tell me and I’ll do a credit and a link.)
Finally, regular reader Stan Cotter has since sent these pictures from doing this same walk in 1960.
Stan in 1960, on the far side.
Where there were jellyfish as big as his shoes.