At the far out edge of Greater Liverpool are the islands. Mere hints of land you can walk to when the tide’s out far enough. Today, for the first time, I decide to get there by bus.
The 437 from Cook Street to West Kirby.
It’s a beautiful cool, crisp, clear blue morning.
And once again I’m at the front, upstairs.
As we enter the Mersey Tunnel.
Emerging in Birkenhead, passing Hamilton Square.
The John Laird Centre.
Passing a 437 going the other way. A bus every 10 minutes for most of the day.
With its handsome bakery.
Climbing Bidston Hill.
The view from the top.
Down the hill to Greasby.
On towards Frankby.
Turning west into West Kirby.
In through the back door.
Here we are.
There’s the Estuary at the end of the road.
Time to get off.
And leave the 473 behind.
All the way along, with its electric hybrid power, I’ve been able to feel the bus cutting its engine every time we stopped. A peaceful way to travel.
Here at ‘Toast’ – in the railway station building, I wait for my friend Greg, who’s walking to the islands with me today. Fortifying ourselves with the inevitable toast we talk about the joy of quiet cafés like this, and find we’ve both enjoyed the lovely Crosby Tea Rooms in the past few days. We talk of founding the ‘Quiet Café’ movement.
Then we walk out into the Estuary, in companionable peace.
To the first island, Little Eye.
Looking back at West Kirby.
The second island, Middle Eye.
Looking across at Redrocks, Hoylake and Waterloo and Crosby beyond, across Liverpool Bay.
Up and across Middle Eye.
To the main island, Hilbre.
The far end. Gazing out at infinity.
We sit for an hour or so, talking about life, and sometimes not talking at all.
This is a wonderful place, on a beautiful day.
Miles from anywhere. And close to home.
We are watched over by a small hawk.
Clouds gather as we walk back.
And we watch the rain falling on the North Wales coast.
Only a few drops fall on us, but we are rewarded with a rainbow anyway.
Then, after a late lunch in another quiet café, The Aubergine.
It’s time to go home.
Down the hill into Claughton, with Liverpool Cathedral there across the river.
A quietly beautiful day.
See all of the ‘Great bus journeys of the world’ here.