I stumbled upon an article about open water swimming this week and thought I’d share it with you.
The Love My Beach website features an article about Wallasey resident Chris Shaw (I presume that’s him in the photo) who, along with his friends, swim in the Mersey and the Irish Sea throughout the year. While many of the weekly swims are along the coastline of New Brighton, Chris and his fellow swimmers have swam up to Hoylake and on to Hilbre Island, finishing at West Kirby. To mark his 50th birthday ChrisÂ swam 22.7 miles from New Brighton to Wales and back. Wales!
So, does anyone from Hoylake participate in local open water swimming? My dad used to tell me that years ago there was a lady who went for a swim of a morning in the sea off Hoylake. But I’ve never seen anyone walk out from the beach and dive in!
I was on a run a couple of years ago when I saw two chaps in the sea at Meols. They were “proper” swimmers to my eyes and for all I know could’ve been on their way to Hilbre!
If you are one these swimmers, please feel free to leave a comment and say what it’s like.
And if you’re interested in trying out sea swimming you can join the group at their Saturday morning training get together at New Brighton Lake. New swimmers will have to sign a Council disclaimer to swim in the lake apparently. The water might be cold!
For more information about northwest beaches don’t forget to visit the Love My Beach website.
Peter Wilson says
When I was a kid, our family used to jump off the bottom of Curzon Road where we lived and walk straight out to ‘the banks’ and swim. Occasionally a grey seal would pop up and give you a curious stare. It is another world out there. Such a wild and beautiful beach of glorious squishy sandbanks and on a widy day there are great waves for body surfing. Such fun! Rarely is anyone else there save for an angler or two. But i am guessing 99% of Hoylake residents have never been there.
Great to read about Chris’s epic swims. I have never done serious swimming in the Irish Sea but I have done a few iconic swims in my time including Paros to Naxos; Malta to Gozo; Europe to Asia across the Dardanelles.
For those of who you who have never been out to the banks: check your tidetables and get walking or running and take a dip whilst there (cossies optional!).
As children we swam off Meols slipway most days except the winter, rain or shine, but I remember the lady who swam every day of the year. I tried it again last year when it was really hot, it was nice but decided it was safer for me in a heated pool! My sister in law as a teenager used to go out to the banks skinny dipping at midnight – I was never allowed!
Mike Stanley says
In the 1950’s used to swim in the tide off Meols slipway .
But maybe I was just going through the motions..
(There was a sewerage outfall off Melos Prom..)
I *think* the outfall from the Meols pumping station is via a pipe that goes out a few kilometres now. And United Utilities do a lot of treatment work at the works down Park Lane… some interesting smells from that place depending on the wind direction!
Lyn Smith says
I remember my Nana teaching me to swim at Leasowe, in the 50s.
Sue Brierley says
I remember a hot summer – yes really! It was about 1978 and I had swum at the bottom of Roman road in the high tide at noon. At 11.30pm we woke our boys aged 12, 9 and 6 and walked to the end of Meols prom and swam at midnight -it was brilliant but we had to keep watching the current and correcting our course. There were quite a few other people there.
About 10 years ago I swam off Leasowe embankment (where there was a lifeguard) three days on the run. The downside was a nasty jellyfish sting!
I have always loved swimming in the sea as I learnt to swim in the old West Kirby baths. I still love it now but more often than not in North Wales. I give the North Sea in N0rthumberland a go sometimes which is a bit chilly. But the coldest swim I have had in in the Orkneys in May – brrrrrrr….
Bernard McElvogue says
The lady who used to go swimming in the sea was,I think,’ Pinky’ Stabback, Mrs Helenore Stabback lived in Queens Road and I’m sorry to say died a few months ago. Until quite recently Pinky could be seen riding her bike(a Claude Butler no less) fearlessly around Hoylake, Latterly she bought an electric buggy. Pinky was a founder member of the Hoylake Ladies Synchronised Swimming Team, she went swimming off Dove Point every summer until 2015 (she said it was’nt warm enough) Helen was a lovely person, well known in her younger days for a liking of pink gin, hence ‘Pinkie’. She did’nt quite make the century, going off the board at ninety nine and ten days. They do’nt make ’em like her any more, she is very sadly missed
Peter Wilson says
That is such sad news. Pinky was a real Hoylake lady!
chris shaw says
we still swim pretty much every day of the yr and have done some great sunset hoyle bank – hilbre swims as well as Talacre and back Runswims from west kirby.
chris shaw facebook if interested in joining us??
kieran gordon says
Are you planning any swims this year Chris. I enjoy open water and have swam many times at west Kirby marine lake
Oooohhh!!! interesting! Does anybody know anything more on the Saturday morning group at New Brighton lake? Time or phone number? I’m in!
Dianne Chadwick says
I have swum (what a horrible word ) in Liverpool docks for the past couple of years bur why should I?! I live in West Kirby, where do people swim here? Dianne
I swam with a friend last year from Meols slipway up to the tennis courts and back, about a mile. It has to be a 9.4 metre tide to be deep enough and we set out about half hour before peak tide. Be warned, the tide doesn’t turn and you have to swim back against a strong current. No real danger of being swept away and there are regular ladders to exit of needed. We were wearing full wet suits and carried a tow bouy. Getting the combination of tide, time and calm waters is the trickiest part
As a follow up, I know people swim off Hilbre something we’d love to try but I’m a bit weary as it’s open sea and a long swim back from the Isle of Man if you get it wrong! . Anybody had any experience with this and got any tips on whether to swim on in an incoming or outgoing tide? Do tide heights matter?
Michael Wilson says
During my youth, many years ago, Hilbre Sundays were spent in the sea off the Welsh side of the island,m any evenings in the Marine Lake, West Kirby, off the jetty by Trinity Road, behind the paddling pool at Hoyle Road, off the wall at Dovepoint or down the concrete steps in the sea wall at Burbo. It was, of course, de rigeur to be without a cossie during darkness.
Sue Brierley says
Regards swiming off Hilbre Island:
We used to swim off Hilbre in the 1950’s,60’s and the last one-off time about 1982. It is safest on a Hibre Sunday when there is a high tide about noon. You walk out from West Kirby (follow the route advised on the board by the Marine Lake) as the high tide is coming in (about 3 hrs before high tide). You can then swim on the incoming tide (NOT the outgoing as you could end up in Ireland)! The best place is the Welsh side of the lifebout station. There is a shelf with a drop of about 30 foot so on a high tide it is quite safe. We used to love diving and jumping in from there and swimming with grey seals I believe before my time that ther was a swimming club out there. Remember there is no lifeguard there as there used to be. You can leave the Island 2hrs after the tide turns.