Category Archives: Natural world

Into Lancashire: Walking to Leeds, Section 3

After a month’s gap due to bad weather, colds and sea Kayaking (not me) our walking along the Leeds Liverpool Canal continues on a beautifully sunny and warm spring day, the Saturday before the clocks go forward.

We’ve both missed this time together and are glad to be back where we left off.

Here at Downholland Cross, by the Scarisbrick Arms.

Both fortified by some hand made Welsh fudge from our friend Jayne.

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Sarah goes sea kayaking: The Marshlands, by boat

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In which brave Sarah goes out into the more than choppy waters of the Dee Estuary and the boundaries of her comfort zone are well and truly pushed.

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December 2016. The Shining Shore, Dee sailing club slipway visible in the distance.

One of my favourite places in the whole world is ‘The Shining Shore’ – the shining waters and mudflats of the Dee Estuary. Me and Ronnie have walked all along this shore, from Parkgate to West Kirby, and have a default walk which starts at Thurstaston, goes inland  through lanes and woodland, and emerges on the beach and the cliffs at Thurstaston for the last stretch. We’ve done it so many times in the last six years I feel I could probably do it blindfold. We also walk further up the shore, further inland where the marsh is gradually encroaching, and we call that part ‘The Marshlands’. And yet each time we walk here there is always something to see – wildflowers, the change in the light, the birds in the estuary…. Here’s a selection of photographs of this part of the world from the last five years.

Over the years we’ve observed the cliffs erode, the marsh becoming larger. And the tidal flow in and out of the cut through the marsh. During our years of walking I didn’t imagine that I would enter the marsh through this cut. But this weekend I did. Continue reading

Out of Liverpool: Walking to Leeds Section 2

leeds-liverpool-2-65On the bus from the centre of town then, back to where we left off at Wally’s Steps for the second section of our walk from here to there along the whole of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. 127 miles to Leeds with 119 to go. Today we’ll cover the 8 miles from Aintree to Downholland Cross.leeds-liverpool-2-1 leeds-liverpool-2-2 leeds-liverpool-2-3Quality graffiti here. So today will we be Riders on the Storm who will Break on Through to the Other Side? Well.

Sarah has a new jacket.

Sarah has a new jacket.

It’s a ‘paramo’ thing and apparently ‘jacket’ is hardly the word for something that will prove to keep her warm, keep her dry, keep her cool, keep her ventilated and be her best friend when other humans, me, aren’t quite up to the mark. It’s a miracle. And you can keep canal maps in the front. Continue reading

Snowdrops by the Cathedral

dsc08139The dark days of December and January end and February comes in, at least for today, warm and sunny. On my way into work, at Coming Home in Hope Street, I get off the bus a couple of stops early. There’s something special I want to see.

I walk along Huskisson Street behind the Magical Mystery Tour bus.

I walk along Huskisson Street behind the Magical Mystery Tour bus.

Past Percy Street. St Bride's there in the sunshine.

Past Percy Street. St Bride’s there in the sunshine.

Closer to the Cathedral.

Closer to the Cathedral.

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Sarah’s Significant Adventure: Out to sea in her own kayak

 

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Over this past year I’ve learned a great deal about sea kayaking. Without of course putting myself to the trouble of going out on the open water, or any water. No, my strenuous tasks have been to listen to Sarah talking about her developing enthusiasm (she even does the tide plans for these trips now) and to write these introductions to her beautiful collection of blog posts about her sea kayaking adventure. This time she’s got her very own boat. That was always going to happen wasn’t it?

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It’s the first weekend of 2017, and I’m off to North Wales for my first sea trip of the year. It’s been a very windy first week to the year, too windy to be out in the sea on a kayak, but the weather forecast for the weekend is good, calmer, with windy weather arriving the following week. So we are in a lull between fronts. Lucky.

And this is a very significant trip for me, as it’s the first sea trip I’ll be making, in my own kayak.

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Here is ‘my’ kayak which arrived at our home last October, and has now safely got it’s own storage place near to the docks – I am very grateful to Dan who has helped me with that.

Owning a 15 foot long boat poses some complications – like where to keep it (although it did neatly fit in our hall from front door to kitchen for a while), and how to carry it. Continue reading

The Winter Trees and The Flock of Curlews

dsc07926Two days after Christmas it is cold but still and a good day for walking. So Sarah and I drive over to the far side of the Wirral and do our favourite walk, our favourite meditation. It’s The Shining Shore walk and I’ve written about it many times on here before. So today I won’t write about the walk so much as a few observations on the way round. And some more pictures of those curlews.

Setting off late morning more or less in silence.

Setting off late morning more or less in silence in our familiar place.

We gather some company along the way.

We gather some company along the way.

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Perfect Days on The Gower: With Sarah, Gemma & Sammy the Dog

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In which Sarah returns to western Britain. This time to the Gower Peninsula – without a kayak but with two friends. Sort of like “The Famous Three in the South Wales Adventure.” 

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I’m very drawn to peninsulas. The magical combination of sky, sea and land. The ‘big sky’ effect of peninsula. The Gower is easily reached by train from Liverpool, change once at Crewe, arrive Swansea and local buses to Oxwich. I arrive in Swansea as the day is drawing to a close and take a taxi the rest of the way so I can enjoy the last light at my destination.

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Oxwich Bay. It is a stunning beach, eerie in the half light.

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I have arrived just as high tide has turned.

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