There’s something about being cooped up over Christmas which makes me and the boys want to bundle up and get some fresh air. We’ve taken to having an annual day trip somewhere between Christmas and New Year, last year it was Attingham Park in Shropshire, this year I was itching to go and have a look at the Antony Gormley figures on Crosby beach, so with wellies on and a bucket and spade in our boot, we headed to the coast for a winter wander.
It was a beautiful day, perfectly clear and crisp, the air was fresh and the sky was that beautiful blue you only really get in the winter. The boy was in love with the almost white sand dunes and the tide was slowly rolling in.
What I love about Crosby beach is that if you look to the left you can see a hive of industry, Liverpool docks covered in cranes and containers, with huge ships coming in and out every few minutes. But turn your back on that and you’d never know. It’s a good walking beach, you can amble for miles and we did. It’s busy with families and dog walkers, not to mention people like me who had come to see the statues.
It’s easy to forget that this is a beach next to a busy port, so whilst the sand dunes are beautiful, the beach itself is a bit littered, I collected a bag of the more dangerous bits of litter I spotted, and I did see some used sanitary towels and such like, so maybe wash your hands after you’ve been on the beach. Don’t let that put you off though. It’s still well worth a visit.
There are 100 of these “Iron Men” on Crosby beach. These cast iron sculptures of Antony Gormley are spaced out across a 2 mile stretch of the beach, each facing out to sea, it is called “Another Place” and the figures are beautiful and eerie at the same time. They’ve been looking out across the Irish Sea since 2007 and they are decaying beautifully over time.
Looking at the figures, these eerie silhouettes littering the shore remind me of the Stevie Smith poem, Not Waving But Drowning. You can see why people mistook them for people in need of rescue.
Some of the figures set back from the sea are decorated by visitors, some wearing hats, some festive wreaths and one even dressed up as Father Christmas. He was popular, people were queueing up to pose with Santa (he’s the tall one with the beard)!
We had a very good walk, we blew away some cobwebs, the boy dug a few holes and I managed to do a bit of beach-combing, I think this would be a great beach to explore regularly if you like beach-combing. I suspect it has great sea-glass potential too.
Once we’d walked our wellies off we went to a nearby cafe and art gallery – Waterloo Place, where we warmed up with hot soup and excellent doorstop sandwiches.
I can see us coming back to Crosby Beach time and time again. It’s beautiful, restful and charming, and the Antony Gormley figures are fabulous. A great little day out.