A village, a boatyard and a marina #3

I’d heard that there was a boatyard in Heswall where it was possible to go in and get some good photographs. Nothing quite prepared me for what I found. Let me begin by saying a word or two about the location.

The town of Heswall, on the Eastern coast of the River Dee estuary on the Wirral peninsula, dates back further than the Doomsday Book, where I’m told it is referred to as ‘Eswelle’. By the 1800s, Heswall was still a small hamlet centred around its Church. Cottages, and heathland were dotted around the area. Heswall expanded following Liverpool’s growth and wealthy merchants set up lavish holiday homes in the town, taking advantage of spectacular views across the Dee and towards North Wales.

From the A540 main road between Chester and Birkenhead, a narrow winding roads bring you to the boatyard and a nearby car park on unsurfaced ground. The car park is quite large and lots of cars and vans had arrived before me: that was my first surprise – though I later realised that many were there to walk along the estuary boundary rather than to look at boats. From the car park a muddy track takes you past the boatyard proper – as is shown in the photograph above. The track continues to a sign that warns you of deep mud in the estuary. The sign was correct – the mud is deep, but many walkers in wellington boots ignored the warning.

Directly across from the boatyard gates, the image above is of a sloping, muddy channel that leads a short distance down towards a junction with a shallow muddy channel that runs parallel with the estuary. Note the sailboat standing in the mud. We’ll be returning to that boat when the tide comes in.

The next photo, above, shows the shallow channel I mentioned that runs alongside the estuary. You can also see the coast of North Wales in the background on the far side of the estuary. I’ll be showing you a better picture of the estuary itself in a later post about the marina at West Kirby.

Although there are seaworthy vessels stored behind the boatyard gates, the silted up, boggy grass holds more derelict boats than any that will ever sail again. This is despite a sign near the entrance instructing boat-owners not to abandon their boats there.

The wreck shown above is one of the larger corpses in this boating graveyard.

As I explored, I got talking to some of the people who were inspecting the apparently abandoned boats. One man explained to me that people have been known to take on the task of refurbishing a ‘find’. I can’t help thinking that no one is ever going to give the wreck above a ‘kiss of life’.

I include some further photographs below that are self-explanatory and show the range of boats standing or lying on the grass, some of which may merely be parked awaiting the owner’s return to re-launch them.

So, the above vessels, and many more, provided photo-opportunities, but, in tomorrow’s post, I’ll show you some sequences of boats that rise to glory once a high tide arrives from the estuary.

My Featured Photo today shows a group of the boats lying in various stages of distress.

EXIF Data were: I used my Fujifilm X-T4, 26 MP, cropped-sensor, mirrorless camera paired with a Fujinon XF 16-55 mm f/2.8 lens. Shutter speed was 1/125 secs @ f/11 and 16.5 mm. ISO was 400.

Author: writingandphotography0531

I am a retired local government officer. At that time, I was an IT manager and had associated responsibilities for training. I have previously been involved, in various organisations, with aspects of industrial training and management development. My hobby is photography and, until recently, hillwalking in Snowdonia. I have just written my first novel, Persephone and the Photographer, published as a Kindle eBook.

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