Wirral Walkings: Close to the Edge

DSC01429Remember 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.Close to the Edge01

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 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.

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 will walk through a mysterious watery edge land.

Today we walk through a mysterious watery edge land.

Close to Little Eye we start imagining what we are seeing at a different scale.

Close to Little Eye we start imagining what we are seeing at a different scale.

Rivers, lakes and mountains laid out before us.

Rivers, lakes and mountains laid out before us.

Like places Roger Dean imagined and painted for Yes.

Like places Roger Dean imagined and painted for Yes.

Sarah walking to Middle Eye.

Sarah walking to Middle Eye.

Looking for shells, like always.

Looking for shells, like always.

Middle Eye in yellow sandstone, the red sandstone of Hilbre behind it.

Middle Eye in yellow sandstone, the red sandstone of Hilbre behind it.

Mysterious lands, thickly forested in black seaweed.

Mysterious lands, thickly forested in black seaweed.

Close to the Edge11Close to the Edge13

Like Topographic Oceans.

Like Topographic Oceans.

We reach the far side of Middle Eye.

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.

In the shelter of Middle Eye the wind drops and we stop for lunch.

Sitting here looking across at North Wales.

Sitting here looking across at North Wales.

Close to the Edge17 Close to the Edge18Close to the Edge19 Close to the Edge20We continue.

The rocks are full of sponge.

The rocks are full of sponge.

Close to the Edge23

On the far side of Hilbre now. The island is busy with visitors today.

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.

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 before us.

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.

And pass more fantastical miniature lands, on our left now.

Close to the Edge28 Close to the Edge29 Close to the Edge30

All the way back, nature as imaginative as any artist.

All the way back, nature as imaginative as any artist.

Back in town the art continues.

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.

Stan in 1960, on the far side.

Where there were jellyfish as big as his shoes.

Where there were jellyfish as big as his shoes.

6 thoughts on “Wirral Walkings: Close to the Edge

  1. karenlawrencephotography

    Ronnie, i love to read the lovely things you write about West Kirby, see the places you have visited. It refreshes my eyes and i feel so proud that there are people from all walks of life and countries too, looking at the place i call home. Thank you for being so positive in your comments. Maybe if you and Sarah plan on coming across in the future you will send me a message and we can meet for coffee.

    Reply
  2. lindsay53

    This is so brilliant and yes, those small rock formations look like gigantic landscapes. Perfect film set stuff. Love the links to Roger Dean’s gorgeous creations.

    Reply
  3. Stephen John Roberts

    I know you explored the less well known side of the Hilbre Isles, but all the views are very familiar to me having spent many hours exploring all those spots. You have captured the mystery and awe of the place and made me feel homesick again. However, I have just got back from Crosby and photographing Another Place. That was awe-inspiring as well. I am just posting it into my blog.

    Reply

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