For today’s walk we start out from Hall Road railway station, a 22 minute ride out of Liverpool Central. From here it’s a short walk down to Crosby beach, where I’m hoping we’ll find lots of silent men to keep us company.
Come amble with me!
Here’s our first friend, but he seems to be otherwise occupied.
I think perhaps I’ve mistimed the walk and the tides! Next time, I’ll use this helpful tide and weather chart.
Never mind, let’s concentrate on our walk. And the view. Our preoccupied man is staring out to the Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm, in Liverpool Bay
Gazing complete, we’ll turn left along the beach, heading back towards Liverpool and effectively walking parallel to the train line. The tides here come pretty high and the sand is wet and soft. Even when the tide is far out, you are warned not to walk out to the distant men as you are likely to sink. So be warned. And if you are planning to take photos, you may want to set your shutter speed a bit faster than normal as you may well sink a little mid-shot.
As we wander further along the quicksand, the men get closer to us, though they still ignore our presence.
You’ve probably worked it out by now: these are Anthony Gormley’s Another Place men. There are 100 of these cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along three kilometres of the foreshore, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea. Each one weighs 650 kilos and each one stares determinedly out to sea. No twitch of the eyebrow, no peek over the shoulder as we wander past.
And we’re certainly not the only people out enjoying the beach and the well-known statues.
These solid and robust men made a few appearances before settling down in Crosby in 2005. There had been talk of them moving on to New York, but it seems that the Crosby setting won over Gormley and the beach is now their permanent home.
The width of the beach and the depth of tide allowed a good positioning of the characters here at Crosby. Plus, he liked its proximity to the urban and industrial setting of Birkenhead and Liverpool. The view for the men was also important. They stand there considering life, with a particular focus on emigration, and the cruise liner history of Liverpool filled that need.
As we move along the beach, there are more men within easy reach, giving us a chance to stare them in the eye.
Now time for a quick break – I spy an ice cream van in front of the Crosby Leisure Centre (that UFO-shaped building that you can see behind the beach). We can cool down with an icy treat and enjoy the view.
From here, we’ll walk along the path behind the beach. It gives us sneak peeks at the Gormley men every now and then.
The pleasant path also makes for faster walking than our battling with the wet sand.
From here, we’ll follow the signpost to the left that takes us past Crosby Marine Lake and out to Waterloo Station. From there it’s an even quicker train journey back into Liverpool city centre than our journey out.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 27 August 2019
Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walks