Pilot Project: Hoylake


On an unusual hot day 30 degrees celsius, something quite rare in England, I decide to test my cycling resistance pedaling about 150 kilometers (the maximum I’ve ever cycled in my life is about 40), from just outside Birmingham to the small town of Hoylake, on the Wirral Peninsula, on the other side of the Mersey River that runs alongside Liverpool. Arrived exhausted after about 8 hours, with a sore knee, having traveled the last stretch on the Wirral Way, a beautiful bike path that from Chester arrives at the peninsula, and unrolls before the eyes wide and desolate coastal landscapes because of the tides.

The Wirral Way

If like me you are a huge fan of the Beatles then you will surely find reasons to love these places, where everyone can provide anecdotes and connections with the Beatles. One day coming by train and wearing a Beatles t-shirt, I give my sit to an elderly couple, when at the end of the journey they get up and thank me again the man tells me “curious you wear that t-shirt … I was a school with John…only I’m still alive! “… with the same t-shirt, walking around Liverpool a guy stops me and tells me” the Beatles are dying in the wrong order! “

The Red Rocks, on Hoylake Beach

I come to Hoylake to find my friend the singer-songwriter Rachel Nicholas. She also involuntarily has fab-four connections: she’s from Hoylake as Cynthia Lennon, John’s first wife.

Rachel is musically characterized by a strong sense of belonging to these areas. Its Mersey Sounds composition contains field recordings recorded around the peninsula and it was performed at the Wirral Festival of Firsts, an annual event that welcomes local artists, musicians, poets, theater artists and visual artists. Rachel provided the text and arrangements for my fragment dedicated to Hoylake.



Fragment 1: Coming out of a tunnel along the canal in the National Cycle Route 81 I was welcomed by birdsongs (and the Sat Nav!)


Fragment 2: Hoylake Song sketch




Fragment 3: Hoylake Song arranged and with lyrics by Rachel Nicholas


Hoylake Song
(by Rachel Nicholas)

The water surrounds
I listen to sounds
Of birds twirling the air

I walk on the sand
Surveying the land
Breeze swirling my hair

The water surrounds
I listen to sounds
Of birds twirling the air

A place where the sea
And the river meet
I’ll see you there