The weather on Boxing Day was fantastic so it made the choice of going for a walk an easy one.
Mum and Lauren made rare walking appearances and so we chose not to travel too far and not to attempt anything too strenuous. Therefore the obvious choice was to climb up Moel Famau in North Wales. This is the nearest decent hill accessible to Merseysiders – and this was enforced by the fact that every walker we heard in this North Wales location had a Scouse accent.
Although the sun was out and the sky blue, it was very cold and the ground was frozen and very icy. This made walking difficult and progress was slow and just a little dicey!
However the views were great and the colours striking.
Duration 2:16 hours
Distance 3.9 miles
Path (Google Earth)
Lauren and I found ourselves on the Wirral for Christmas a day earlier than usual, so on Christmas Eve we decided to walk the old railway line from Hooton to West Kirby. We got a lift to Hooton and started our walk mid-morning, one night after the Wirral had seen a decent snowfall. Lauren had a new of new boots and I had a new jacket to “break-in”.
The first stopping point was Hadlow Road where Lauren applied a plaster to her heel. Her new boots were not being very nice to her. Hadlow Road is maintained as a museum station and looked extremely picturesque in the snow. Lauren’s second stop was 5 mins later to apply a plaster to the other heel. My jacket was behaving and I didn’t need any plasters.
The old railway line was just a single track and in some places it cut quite an impressive narrow route through the sandstone.
We made a couple of pub stops. First in the Old Quay in Parkgate, and then later on at the Black Horse in Lower Heswall. The pub stops were necessary to prevent us from going slightly crazy while walking down the straightest paths I have ever walked on. The low cloud cover, and lack of other walkers gave quite a sense of being alone.
About an hour before it got dark we walked out at the end of the path in West Kirby. Not a difficult walk in any respect, but we felt we deserved our final pub stop at the White Lion a few yards from the finish.
During the walk I had plenty of time to consider the old railway line’s existence. Even today there are not enough people in the line’s vicinity to make such a route profitable, so why somebody thought that building such a line 150 years ago through a few small villages was a good idea, nobody knows. Lord Beeching gets quite a bit of stick for the closure of many railway lines in the 1960s, but this railway line actually closed before his infamous report.
Regardless, however inefficient the route may have been, it surely would have been great to take the train from West Kirby all the way to London Euston without having to change your seat, as was once possible.
The route can be seen on the map starting in the south east of the Wirral and then heading back up to the peninsula’s north west corner.
Duration 5:04 hours
Distance 13.6 miles
Path (Google Earth)