Not as exotic as they sound, these low tidal islands are in the mouth of the Dee estuary. The closest, “Little Eye” (which, I suspect, translates appropriately as “little island”) is barely a kilometre distant from the ice-cream stall at West Kirby. That kilometre is a major obstacle when the tide’s in, but a couple of hours after high tide, the sands (and muds – we brought some home with us…) here are walkable, in waterproof footwear or bare feet. Once there, we’re in a very different world – more than ever, I’m conscious that the photographs may convey the appearance of this little archipelago, but not the feel of being there.
From Little Eye, we make our way to Little Hilbre, where there’s a good spot to sit for a few minutes and enjoy our lunch, before continuing to Hilbre Island itself. The rock formations are wonderful, and there’s a blaze of colour in the abundant thrift (“sea pink”, my companion calls it) and other plant life. At the north end of Hilbre is a deserted lifeboat station, and beyond that, open water. Seals peer up, waiting to reclaim their rocks when the visitors leave. That’s all that’s left for us to do – apart from the aforementioned ice creams, of course. What a great little expedition this has been!
View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=319560&Y=387436&A=Y&Z=120