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Return trip to Hilbre from Crosby, Sat 22/07/17 by Robin Emley

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GPS track:  Hilbre From Crosby

With calm conditions forecast and HW just before 11am, I launched from the Old Coastguard Station at 0840 for a scenic outing to Hilbre.  After crossing the shipping channel as “Kayak Robin”, I headed for Leasowe Lighthouse which is as far as I’d previously explored along the North Wirral Coast.  Wirral Lifeguards were patrolling the shore in a landrover type vehicle.  After hearing them sign on with Holyhead Coastguard, I called than up on Channel 16 to let them know of my presence.  They said they were already keeping an eye on me.

I soon reached Hoylake slipway which presented a tranquil scene with quaint old boats moored nearby.  Despite it being around HW, water then started to become in short supply.  For next half mile or so, I splodged along in ankle deep water with the kayak following along behind.  [DSCN0530.jpg]  I eventually found some deeper water with Red Rocks to my left and Hilbre straight ahead.  While making that final crossing there were seals everywhere, too many to count.

With the tide now ebbing, I didn’t want to risk the normal beach landing on Hilbre so continued around to the NW corner where there are some deep channels that are more suitable for latecomers.

After a welcome break, I first headed NW, then N and NE so as to skirt around the end of the Wirral Peninsular.  A little way out, I could see two prominent green buoys which I though might mark the Rock Channel back to Liverpool.  Designated HE3 and HE2, I’ve since found that they mark the “Hilbre Swash”.

With super calm conditions and the windfarm seemingly not far away, I decided to return to Crosby via a northerly route rather than staying close to the shore.  With the outgoing tide, I was drifting north towards the windfarm and soon found myself aiming for the SW corner of this mighty construction.  Various boats were working in the area but no-one took any obvious notice of me.

The original set of 25 turbines c.2007 are significantly smaller than those in the Burbo Extension which was only completed this year.  When close up to these original monsters, it’s hard to believe that they could be built any bigger [DSCN0553].

The rear line of the original set provides a convenient way to locate “Q1”, this being the outermost marker buoy for Liverpool Approach (inbound).  An outward route behind this line of turbines, and returning via the starboard markers of the Queens & Crosby Channels, would make an interesting day’s paddle from Perch Rock.  Any takers?  The original rear line of turbines had seven units.  An eighth one, of the new larger type, has since been added.  It looks rather out of place, like a cuckoo in the nest! 

From the windfarm, I set a transit for home and soon encountered one of the Burbo sandbanks.  Lunch part 2 was taken on my very own desert island in the sun 🙂 [DSCN0555]

After crossing the shipping channel, I found that the Crosby shoreline was adorned with a continuous row of nasty sharp rocks – just what I didn’t need with a new composite kayak.  This must be the training wall, only visible at very  low water, and best avoided.  [DSCN0557]

Having found a way through, I spotted the incoming Sea Cat and decided that this was too good an opportunity to miss.  So I launched again and paddled out to a safe distance from the training wall, then waited in anticipation for the Big Wave to appear … which it never did 🙁

When landing on a rising tide, it’s helpful to have a trolley to hand.  Mine was in the car, so a brisk dash up and down the beach was called for.  Thankfully, the tide had only just turned so the boat was still high and dry upon my return.  [DSCN0561]

View from the windfarm: []

(Sorry, I should have said Seaforth Dock, not Seacombe)