Come and see the seals in sunny West Kirby! by Guy Elston
Take the Merseyrail from Lime Street, (they call it the Miseryrail round here, the locals have a famous sense of humour) or Central, or any of the other Liverpool stations, and ride until the very last stop on the Wirral line. Turn right out of the station, past the Victorian hotel, now a Wetherspoon’s, past the Edwardian houses, now care homes, past the Morrisons, used to be a Safeway, and stroll down to the mile of proud black-railed promenade. You need to have checked the tide times already so that you can walk out to the tidal islands, Hilbre and its close partner Middle Eye; further down is Little Eye, just a little speck in the estuary. Stride out across the slick exposed seabed, look towards Wales and remark on how close it is. Mount the crumbling sandstone cliff of Hilbre and look towards the far left tip of the sandbank that stretches down the channel like a yellowing, thin tongue. Do you see those little black dots, clustered on the sand? Little dots like dead flies on the window sill, or rocks in the distance, or dirt on a lens? Those are seals! Atlantic Grey seals. They rest on the transitory sandbank each day. If you want to meet them up close you’ll have to stay on Hilbre for the night; when the tide is up and the public are gone they play there, apparently. They frolic and bark in the slick oily darkness, and make love. There, you’ve seen the seals. Quite something, aren’t they? Now you can go home and remember them, glinting distant and dark in the North-Western sunshine.
Guy Elston is an emerging poet from the Wirral, UK. His favorite activities are wild swimming and any sport you play in a pub
Photo by Karsten Madsen