Seaweed Men and the Elusive Red Squirrels

On Sunday Sir Pubert Gladstone (see Who is She? blog post) took me on a secret mystery tour. He was slightly disappointed when my first response to his question of “Where have you been near Southport?” was exactly where he was planning on taking me. Not to matter – the sun was shining, the rapeseed fields were out in full yellow bloom, and we were off to the beach. Our destination – Formby beach with an additional side trip to see Antony Gormley’s installation, Another Place, at Crosby. I had done this day trip with my cousin Caroline and her son, Meryan, but we had spent most of our day climbing up and down sand dunes and I was very keen to go back to Crosby to see the sculptures up close and personal.

Our first stop was Formby where we entered the National Trust forest reserve that is one of the few places in the UK where you can find red squirrels. The supposedly evil grey squirrels have taken over and spotting a native red is a rare occurrence. After a picnic in the sunshine on beach and a very disappointing game of frisbee (turns out I throw like a girl), we headed into the forest to look for the squirrels. We had been told it was highly unlikely we would spot any and after wandering around staring at tree tops for 20 minutes we gave up. No squirrels here. As we headed back to the car, I took the opportunity to visit the loo and there, near the toilet blocks, most likely having just stolen some food from one of the bins, was a red squirrel. Tick.

Crosby beach

Crosby beach

Our next stop was Crosby where the tide had gone out far enough for us to be able to walk across the seabed and visit some of the statues. I have such amazing memories of seeing Antony Gormley’s installation at Lake Ballard and had been wanting to see the statues at Crosby and compare the works. These statues are cast from Antony’s body and are spread across along the coast spaced 500 metres apart. As the tide comes in, they are submerged in water and are covered in seaweed, salt and other crusty textures.

Antony Gormley statue

Antony Gormley statue

I found the experience at Lake Ballard more spectacular but the isolation of the salt lake is hard to beat. At Crosby it was interesting to see the different textures that have built up on the various statues depending on their position in the seabed. Some had almost completely transformed into salty sea creatures while others remained relatively clean. They all looked quite content to be standing in the sunshine staring out to sea.

Crusty.

Crusty.

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4 Responses to “Seaweed Men and the Elusive Red Squirrels”

  1. James says:

    Whaaa, I wanted red squirrel photos!

  2. Jess says:

    He was too quick. Or I was too slow. I took photos with my mind – if you can get in there you can see them.

  3. paul says:

    there is an upside down piglet, legs in the air, in your pic of Crosby beach – good work !

  4. Jess says:

    Excellent spot! He may even beat my elephant…

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