If you’ve been around here for a while you’ll recall the practical help offered by ‘The Wirral: A guide for Liverpool people.’ That provided useful instructions on how to get to a place where many Liverpool people have simply never been. And then some handy hints about what to do when you get there. View this as Part 2. More information about the delights of the Wirral. And further handy hints about what Liverpool people can get up to over there.
All of this guidance put together by us two Liverpool people in one day, yesterday. Sarah has a brief gap in her funeral work and I, as ever, am always keen on walking about rather than working.
But look out when you emerge at the other side.
£1.70 it costs for a car. Yes, 34 shillings in the money we used when it was built. And you’ll have to pay it again to get home! Don’t worry though, we still think it’s worth it.
We’ll be having a good look around. Starting off with one of our favourite Wirral walks – ‘The Shining Shore.’ It starts at the Wirral Way Visitor Centre in Thurstaston, close to the beach.
We begin, as you might have expected, by walking away from the beach.
Leaving the churchyard the lane uphill is bursting with spring life. Sarah quietly recites the names of the plants like an incantation:
Then up the hill, across a hedge we see it.
Then we reach the Shining Shore.
But though gloriously sunny, on this day there’s a cold wind whipping in off the Irish Sea.
Next we go a couple of miles north along the Dee coast, through Heswall to Parkgate. Where it’s still cold and windy, but not cold enough to stop us doing what we always do at Parkgate.
And no they’re not paying us to say that. They’ve been going for 75 years and it’s a well researched, by us, fact. It’s the best ice-cream there is.
Next it’s back in the car and up to the top of the Wirral Peninsula, its western coast.
That’s Waterloo you can see over there, the other side of Liverpool Bay. You’re really not that far from home, Liverpool people.
Next stop is just along the coast from Harrison Drive, around the corner of the coast to New Brighton.
It’s calm here, sheltered from the wind we’d had round the far coast. And we sit down on the warm beach in the late afternoon sun.
They really are so close. No wonder that for me they both feel part of the place I call home.
Then we are set upon by pirates.
This is an astonishing piece of community art. Put together and re-put together by artists Frank Lund, Major Mace and local people every time it gets washed away.
All the time we’re here the ship is jumping with delighted pirate children. The only tears we here are when one little girl is reluctantly dragged home for her tea.
‘It’s all right, we can come again tomorrow.’ ‘But it might not be here tomorrow!’
Last time it got washed away, much of it washed up on the opposite shore of Waterloo, tangled up in Anthony Gormley’s Iron Men. Who kindly sent it all back.
And yes, Liverpool people, that’s home you can see behind the ship there.
And while we sit here, the Belfast Ferry arrives.
And there’s still so much to tell and show you of the docks and Birkenhead and the rest of the Wirral. So close to home and so beautiful. But with evening rolling on it’s nearly time to go home.
We had chips before we left though!