Wednesday, 15 February 2017

In Another Place

I have always felt very fortunate to live near the waterfront at Waterloo just north of Liverpool. The River Mersey passes by the bottom of the road before opening out into the Irish Sea. There is nothing quite like the sound of the sea and the wonderful sunsets that I have mentioned before.

All of this was taken to a different level in 2005 when 100 iron men appeared along the length of Crosby Beach. They are the work of renowned sculptor Anthony Gormley – creator of the Angel of the North in Gateshead. In fact, each of the Iron men is moulded from casts of the artist’s body. In effect they are 100 replica Gormleys. They all appear to be looking out to sea towards the same distant point – to another place.

The original plan was for them to pay a short visit before heading off to the USA. But they have stayed with us ever since and are now a permanent feature.

They have certainly led to an increase in visitor numbers. On any weekend, especially in the summer, tourists can be seen admiring them, photographing them or even dressing them up!

Their effect on the beach itself is stunning. They are spread out over 3 km between the beginning of the beach at Waterloo and the Coast Guard Station at Burbo Bank. You might want to focus on just one of them as he looks longingly into the distance. Or you might want to stand back and watch many - all with that same longing. Any photograph of the beach seems to come alive with their presence.

You can access them at any point along the promenade that follows the length of the beach. The most popular places get to them is from the bottom of South Road, 5 minutes from Waterloo Station, near Crosby Baths or from Burbo Bank itself. If you use the South Road route be sure to stop for a drink at the remarkable Waterloo Place Café and Gallery that has been created from the remains of what were once unused and rather nasty public toilets!

If you can mange to walk the length of the promenade then it is an experience not to be missed - although the walkway is regularly inaccessible to wheelchairs, buggies and wheelchairs if the sand has been blowing from the dunes and not been cleared away – something that happens all too often. But even with that warning, a visit to the now famous Iron Men is an essential part of any visit to Liverpool

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