Week 41: The Wirral Way and Norton Priory

If you've had a nosey at the blogs I follow (if you're on a laptop/pc, they're listed somewhere on the right, but they don't show on the mobile browser version) then you may already have found my friend Linda's blog, Somewhere Slowly... One of her hobbies is walking. Not to the shops, but long distances.

One of her favourite places to walk is along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Literally The Way to Santiago, this is a traditional pilgrimage to the town of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, which I first heard of when reading Sharpe's Rifles, by Bernard Cornwell. In the novel, Lieutenant Richard Sharpe and a small detatchment of Riflemen have been cut off from the rest of the British army and they find themselves joining forces with a Spanish cavalry major.

The major has a desperate plan to unfurl the gonfalon (penant) of Santiago (St James) over the holy (and occupied) city of Santiago de Compostela... I'll let you read the novel yourself to find out how they get on, but I've wanted to visit Santiago since I first read this book, and as you can no doubt tell by the slightly worn look of my copy, it's been many years since I first read this book.

I've asked Linda if she'd chum me when I have a go at walking one of the many Caminos to Santiago next year. Linda has agreed, and started planning almost immediately. I'd quite like to try walking the Camino Ingles, which takes around a week, but that's walking around 20km each day. 

I'm pretty new to walking, and 20km is a lot for me. It's a lot for a single day, although I have done it before, I'm usually a tired, aching, wreck the following day! This really does mean that I probably need to build up to it, and get some serious practice in, as we're hoping to go around May-ish in 2016...

So, on Saturday, Linda and I walked from Hooton Station (technically the end of the Wirral Way) to Parkgate (a slight detour away from the Wirral Way), and then back to Hooton station. It's around 18km, and it didn't take as long to walk as I'd expected, although we did take a few (fairly long) rest stops, we had brunch at Aston's in Willaston, lunch at the Ship in Parkgate, and drinks at Pollards in Willaston, before getting the train home.

The narrow, sloping path to the left of the photo? Yup, that's the Wirral Way...

Aston's in Willaston (or the Toastie Stop)

The Wirral Way runs along a disused railway line, and some parts are beautiful. This is one of my favourite sections, with the huge sandstone walls either side.

I forgot to take a photo of the Ship at Parkgate, but this was the view from the Ship.


On Sunday, I ached. My feet were slightly swollen, my calves ached, my ankles ached, my hips ached... I also had back ache, but I think that I overdid it a bit at ballet class on Thursday, so I can't blame the walking for that. However, I managed to walk to Norton Priory. Although the museum itself is closed, the Walled Garden is still open, and on Sunday, they celebrated Apple and Quince Day.

Firstly, it was only around 4km, but Beloved and I walked along the canal, had a wander around the garden to see the displays, bought a few goodies, and then managed to get a lift home from my Dad (he and Mum had met us there with LittleBit).
It was a lovely day, and we enjoyed the walk, although I walked slower than I would have liked. I also took longer to get going after I got up on Sunday morning, but I did it. I went for a walk the day after I walked 18km. As we now have a treadmill, I am going to try much harder to walk every day now.

The Norton Priory Estate from The Bridgewater Canal

A Swan on the Canal
I love the gates in the wall of the walled garden at Norton Priory;

Vale Royal Falconry had a display, including Dennis, the Eagle Owl, who we have met before, and who is 29 and retired from flying at displays now... 

Dennis the Eagle Owl

Tawny Owl

Peregrine Falcon

Barn Owl

Harris Hawk



Little Owl

Gyr Falcon

Peregrine Falcon
There were also traditional musicians, Fayreplay, whose music I really enjoyed;

Although the Apple and Quince Day was only on Sunday (11th October), there is currently a bunny trail at the garden, it's aimed at children, but it looks like it's fun for grown ups too... we didn't do the whole trail, we only took a photo of a few of them;
Day of the Dead Bunny

Harry Potter

Obi Wan Keno-buni
We'll go back with LittleBit and get her to show us where the rest are soon!


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