The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!

The Dungeon and Heswall Dales

I bought a book of circular walks in the Wirral. The idea was that we would walk some of the routes as a family and then I would go back and run them (hopefully without having to take the map and, perhaps even more hopefully, without getting lost).

Before this weekend, we had, as a family, managed 1/4 of one of the 17 walks. This wasn’t very useful in my pursuit of finding good off-road routes to run. My knees are feeling a little sore and I think that some off-road running will be good for both the knees and the soul.

Well, on Sunday, it didn’t look like it was going to rain so, after church, I hurried everybody into the car and set out for Heswall, a half hour drive away on the other side of the Wirral to do Walk 7 “Heswall Dales and The Dungeon”.

There was a bit that went along the beach but, due to the likely rather soggy and muddy underfoot conditions, we decided to head off in the direction of the Wirral Way, away from the River Dee, for the first part.


We’d decided to take Daniel (4 years) in the buggy because he walks really, really slowly and is the main reason why we’ve only done 1/4 of a walk so far. We figured that we could fold the thing up if necessary and Peter could carry Daniel while I carried the pushchair.


The Wirral way is a pretty flat track which used to be the railway line between Old Hooton and West Kirby. I’ve run a big section of it but not quite got all the way to Old Hooton yet. Naomi, on the other hand, has run about 50m of it – and that was just to catch up with me.


I wondered if I should point out to Naomi that her arm action is not what it might be!  She’s never going to make a decent runner if she doesn’t bend her arms. Plus that foot position is all wrong. However, there were more important things to do, like look at the view over to Wales.


We were aiming for the turning that I missed the other week when I ran from the opposite direction. The path takes you up through The Dungeon. This is not nearly as exciting as it sounds. It appears to simply be the name of the woods. Perhaps it the low lying branches of the trees that form a kind of tunnel that give rise to the name. However, with no leaves on the trees, it was hardly imposing.


It was at this point that life became a little more difficult with the pushchair. It didn’t help that Daniel had actually fallen asleep – why does he always do that at the most inconvenient time?!


Actually, the path didn’t seem as muddy as it did when I ran on it last week – or was it just that I was wearing a decent pair of walking boots rather than my racing flats? The main problem was that the path was not a buggy-width wide in places and the wheels kept getting stuck.


There were a few places where we actually had to pick the buggy (with Daniel still asleep in it) up but these were thankfully not too frequent.

There was a cave near the top of the ascent that I hadn’t spotted when I was running (actually I was more concerned about not going the wrong way last time). We had a bit of a look around while Peter struggled up the wooden steps with the buggy.


Things got a bit easier once we got to the top except for the kissing gate (too narrow to get a buggy through but luckily by then Daniel had woken up so we kicked him out of the buggy and picked it up to get it over the gate – it is very light).


The path made it’s way past Oldfield farm and then down through Heswall Dales. The path was pretty good underfoot and would be fine for running on. The gorse on the Dales made for a great view down towards the River Dee. Apparently it used to be heather – which would also have been nice but I also like the yellow of the gorse.


We arrived at the bottom amongst some bungalows but from there it was a short walk back to where we started. I think that the whole route was probably around 4 miles – so long enough for just running one loop but also OK to do 2 loops (or 3!) Weather provided (I am not going up through The Dungeon in the pouring rain) I will give it a go in my new trail shoes during the week.

Due to the fact that I was trapped in the house with 3 children on Sunday morning (well not actually trapped in the house but I couldn’t exactly pop out for a run) I decided to run on the treadmill in our garage. All the kids were asleep when I started on my 10 mile run. Unfortunately, after about 20 min, a little face appeared around the door. It was the face of a small, hungry, boy so I had to stop for about 15 min to get him breakfast before I could finish my run. I bet proper athletes don’t have this type of problem.


Anyway, it took me about an hour and a half in the end to run 10 miles as I was taking it nice and easy. I think I will try to increase the distance a little week on week to build up these long runs but I think that I will have to start earlier in order to avoid interruption from hungry children.

I was also busy making a birthday cake for my oldest son. Actually, this was his second birthday cake (he had a party on Friday) so I didn’t make such a great effort to do some kind of themed cake (last year I did a Pikachu cake). I tried to write Dominic’s name on it but, by the time I got to the ‘M’ I realised that I should have started right on the lefthand edge, so it ended up saying ‘Dom 12’ – not quite what I had planned. When I came back from work today there was less than a quarter of it left and I hadn’t even had a piece! That must be a success (good old Nigella Lawson – recipe from Feast, Birthday Custard Cake).


Anyway, that’s about it for the time being. Most of the photos on this blog post were part of the Facebook “JSP 2016 Photo Challenge – Ten on the 10th” where we take 10 photos on the 10th of each month. I was pretty pleased with my collection this month although I’m not sure what will happen next month when the 10th falls in the middle of the week. Might be 10 rather boring photos of my workplace rather than the lovely scenery of The Wirral!

2 comments on “The Dungeon and Heswall Dales

  1. notmuchofarunner
    April 12, 2016

    At the risk of sounding a bit of a hippy… “Aren’t trees brilliant!”
    What a lovely walk(/run)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Sub 20 parkrun | runmaggiecooper

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