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Hilbre Island

Thursday 6th September 2012

I’m a bit later than usual with this post.  Should have been meeting at St Ives for some twilight harbour shots but I was away visiting family on the Wirral.  Still managed to snap a few photos.  Thursday evening saw me on Hilbre Island, the main one of three tidal islands situated at the mouth of the Dee Estuary; an estuary designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  I was lucky to be there with the tide out and the sun setting.  You have to be very careful with the tides when attempting to walk out to the islands.  I was also lucky to meet another photographer on Middle Island who told me about an old disused sandstone boathouse at the tip of Hilbre Island which can look good when the sun sets.  I had 20 minutes to rush there. I just made it.

The Old Lifeboat House

The geology of the Wirral Penninsula and surrounding areas including part of Liverpool is predominantly sandstone and mudstone.  Dotted about the area are some  outastanding examples of sandstone as you can see in the above photo.The Lifeboat station was built in 1849 and closed in 1938.  The current lifeboat station for the area is nearby at Hoylake; one of the oldest in the UK being in operation since 1803.  The next photo was taken from Middle Island looking towards Hilbre Island.

Looking towards Hilbre Island from Middle Island

You can see a few buildings on Hilbre Island. some are privately owned and some are operated by the Hilbre Bird Observatory.   There has always been a permanent resident, a ranger employed by the council, on the island but I think recently there has been difficulties filling the position.  It does not help having no electricity or running water!

Below is a picture taken a day earlier from just by the marina at West kirby of the estuary.  The islands can just about be seen on the horizon; Little Eye to the left and Middle Island and Hilbre Island merging into the one island on the right.

Sunset at West Kirby

Earlier in the day of my visit to Hilbre Island I had visited Thurstaston Common.   It seems that  every bit of sandstone has been carved with someone’s name.

Thurstastan Common

Before breakfast that day I had visited Bidston Hill.  There are some nice outcrops of sandstone on the ridge of the hill with an observatory at one end and a windmill at the other end.  The observatory was built of local sandstone in 1866 and one of its functions was to work out the exact time; up to 18 July 1969, at exactly 1:00 p.m. each day, the ‘One O’Clock Gun’ overlooking the River Mersey near Morpeth Dock, Birkenhead, would be fired electrically from the Observatory.  I took a photo of the windmill choosing a position to show some heathers and not sandstone.

Windmill on Bidston Hill


3 responses

  1. Love these photos! What a fascinating area to shoot!

    September 16, 2012 at 2:19 am

    • Thank you. This was where I grew up. I hardly visited these places then. I obviously had other things on my mind..

      September 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      • But they are wonderful and it’s fitting to appreciate them now.

        September 24, 2012 at 1:42 am

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