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.
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 →
For several years we would walk every Friday and during 2012 we wrote about these walks every week for the whole year. Then this year they stopped, mainly because Sarah’s working pattern changed. As well as being part of ‘a sense of place’ she’s also now an independent funeral celebrant and therefore often needs to work on Fridays. So we have gone on walks, but not so regularly, fitting them in round both of our work.
Well I’ve missed the regularity, the rhythm and the ritual of the Friday Walks. So I’m starting them again. I don’t know if they’ll be every week, and Sarah will come on them only when and if she can. But I need to walk, for me.
Today’s walk is out on the Marshlands in the Dee Estuary. I’ve not done this particular walk on my own before but I’m always happy to spend time on my own. So let’s go.
Beginning at the long disused open air swimming pool near Parkgate, facing the coast of Wales.
What with one thing and another, this was the first time we’d done this walk since March. It goes out onto the Marshlands in the Dee Estuary, between Parkgate and Heswall. And in the summer, as there’s no shade, it can get too hot out there to walk all day. So the walk works best when it’s cooler. And also when the marsh plants have died back a bit, making it easier to spot all the little creeks that flow into the bigger channels out there.
This is the first walk we’ve done since the clocks went forward here in Britain, so by the end of the walk it will be darkling. But we begin in brilliant sunshine.
Starting off from the former open air swimming pool, along from The Boathouse pub.
Come with us, dear readers, to a land where magnolia trees flower in colourful profusion, next to a vast, bleak marshland, which the sea abandoned centuries ago
Back to the Dee Estuary this week, and a new walk. Ronnie takes us on an adventure.
“Tolkein fans may have already spotted that we’ve purloined the subtitle of ‘The Hobbit’ for the name of this week’s walk. So be it, but that does not mean we’re hobbits. Only one of us has hairy feet, we rarely have two breakfasts, and neither of us has a ring that makes us invisible.
But we do like an adventure. And as we’ve ambled up and down the Dee coastline these past weeks we’ve kept wondering ‘How far upriver does this Marshland stretch? What lies beyond the fields we know?’
So this week we nosed our way down to the marsh front just by the Harp Inn, where we last went on my ‘official’ birthday in January, and strode off, upriver, into the misty marsh…
Leaving our trusty steed behind us. Not knowing when, if ever, we will return
Sarah stands on the wall of a former open air swimming baths at Parkgate, gazing out at The Marshlands, at the beginning of our walk
Ronnie takes the photos as we wade out into the marsh
This was a hard walk, though enjoyable as it always is to be out on the edge of things walking together. Over on the Dee Estuary again, but upstream from last week’s Shining Shore walk. Upstream where the centuries of silting up have taken serious effect and formed a magnificent marshland. But it’s still tidal, even this high up the Dee, and as we arrived it was just after a very high ten metre tide.
So wading out into an extremely wet marshland made it hard walking anyway. But also, Sarah was sad today. Today she had planned to be with her great friend Rachel and several other bloggers in New Jersey. Tickets were booked. Arrangements had all been excitedly made. And then, of course Rachel suddenly died, just over four weeks ago. So today I walked with a quiet Sarah.
And now spring is definitely here. Birds singing, leaves opening in the hedgerows, and the blossoms are arriving