A Valentine's Day Walk ❤️


This is my Wednesday walk post, all pictures taken yesterday, and in fact it should more accurately be called a Tuesday walk, or a Valentine’s Day walk.

It is the first time I’ve had a girlfriend the whole time I’ve been on Steem Hive… yes, it has been that long 😂

I honestly thought I would remain a perpetual bachelor, skulking around my apartment, binge-watching the latest shows and writing/working on my novel. Well, not much of that has changed, but now I have someone to share it all with and life seems so much fuller.

Valentine’s has always seemed something of a pre-fab holiday to me; an excuse for greeting card companies, flower merchants and chocolate salesmen to make a killing $$$... but the truth is that this is just the cynic in me.

The 8th-century Gelasian Sacramentary recorded the celebration of the Feast of Saint Valentine on February 14. The day became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the "lovebirds" of early spring.
Source: Wikipedia

There is nothing I would rather share with my loved one than a walk in a wild place, and it doesn’t get much wilder than the walk to Hilbre Island which lies situated in the middle of the Dee Estuary. As the tide goes out the sand flats are laid bare, revealing the bounty of the sea for the intrepid forager and the many oystercatchers that hop and flit among the mossy rocks.

I have written about this walk before on Hive, and if you’d like to read more about the full history of the island, its use in the defence of the North West of England during the second world war, and the rare breeding birds that live protected on the island, check out this post: Travel at Home - The Nature of Liverpool, Hilbre Island.

But this post is all about a shared walk, showing my beloved somewhere she’d never visited before. To reach Hilbre Island safely you must be able to read tide tables, which I can do due to my extensive scuba diving knowledge and love of wild swimming.

A safe walk means setting out at least 3 hours after high tide (4:10 am on Tuesdays) and returning 3 hours before the next high tide (4:41 pm) so we had a massive window of opportunity, and ended up setting off from Liverpool around 9 am to avoid rush hour traffic and starting our walk at 9.30 am about an hour before full low tide.

The walk to Hilbre Island is a beautiful one - a cavalcade of contrasting colours, scattered broken shells, black seaweed and luminous sea moss that paint vivid natural pastel motifs.

There are also very cold sea breezes blowing from the North sea at this time of year.

It is definitely a walk that requires a pair of Wellingtons or waterproof boots or you will end up with wet feet.

The opportunities for photography of the wonders of nature on this walk are amazing.

One of the many seabird colonies that can be observed on Hilbre Island

And as a romantic walk, it isn’t bad either, although I have to admit that it was very chilly (on a February morning), a problem easily solved with a flask of homemade carrot & coriander soup with a hunk of bread for lunch.

The sun improved things around 1 pm... but this was around the time we had started to set off back to the West Kirby where I had parked the car 🤣

The walk is roughly two miles each way, making the meander out to Hilbre a respectable but far from a challenging walk. It is also mainly flat and a mecca for local dog walkers as there is so much space for our furry friends to run around.

Expect a few friendly pups covered in muck and sand to come to visit for a stroke and a doggy hello.

For me, Hilbre Island is something of a pilgrimage, as can be seen in my poem Sacred Symphony.

It is a place where I escape the city, the nearest environment to Liverpool that you could call truly wild. Apart from the birdlife, grey seals can be spotted from Hilbre island, and I got a glimpse of a few bobbing heads through a pair of binoculars that a pair of friendly fellow walkers lent me.

After studying the tidal movement around the west side of the island where the seals hang out, I have plans to bring my mask, snorkel and fins to free dive with these doe-eyed canines of the sea in the summer of 2023.

But yesterday’s walk out to Hilbre was made even more special by sharing the experience with my lovely girlfriend.

Some memories are better shared I think, she had been to West Kirby (the town on the coast opposite Hilbre Island) but had never made the trip over the sand flats to visit this seabird’s paradise.

I felt privileged to be the one to introduce her to Hilbre Island and to make so many new memories with her and our various animal companions for the day.

We ended the day with a game of scrabble, some good Chinese food I cooked, a few glasses of Prosecco (bucks fizz for me because I’m a lightweight) and a romantic night in.

Thanks for reading 🌿

All photos and media design used in this post are my own.
Camera: Samsung S7 Smart Phone.

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