Dancing through Cefn-y-coed or is it just a mud dance?
Hilbre just coming into view.
Ed on the secateurs.
And that's the way we wanted to go, but no-one was willing to test the water!
The Millenium welsh dragon beacon at Bettisfield - a view that we hadn't seen before.
The stile is there somewhere.
Yes that is where the stile came out!
Our lunch spot adjacent to the Bettisfield Car Park.
Daffodils in flower at Bettisfield car park.
Abundant Gorse in flower.
This is it then, the tunnel! What tunnel?
Dee Quay and the flow of water gushing out of the tunnel.
Boats in Dee Quay.
Shelduck and Oystercatchers on the river bank.
Great cormorants and Oystercatchers on the river bank.
Looking East towards Bettisfield.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.8 miles. Climb: GPS wind assisted reading 1573'. Memory Map route estimate: 870' - a more realistic value for the level of climb done.
Time: 4 hours 53 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, David S and Ed.
The weather forecast suggested that it would be windy and cold, but there was good chance that we would escape any significant precipitation. In fact we had a few minutes when hail encouraged us to wrap up well before setting off and didn't get anything else. At times it felt quite warm, when the wind eased or we were in a sheltered spot.
As expected we did test our boots in terms of how they could cope with mud and soggy wet fields, but to my surprise the soles had no mud left when I came to wash them later on. A quick 10 minute wash and wipe were all they needed.
Our best views were after emerging from Cefn-y-coed, where we could clearly see across the Dee estuary towards Hilbre Island and the Wirral. At one point Liverpool's Anglican cathedral could be clearly seen on the horizon.
Soon after taking the path at Cefn Smallholdings, we encountered the first problem, but Ed deftly used a pair of secateurs to open up a way through.
Several paths had the potential of being flooded and causing us to rethink our options, but today it a minor road at Ffordd-y-Dre that was flooded.
We decide to head towards Pentre Bagillt to pick up another path that would lead us to a point where we could rejoin the original route or head for the coast.
It wasn't long before we encountered another stile totally overgrown with Holly and decide this needed more that secateurs and retraced our steps until we could enter the field at another spot.
By now most of us had decided that the walk planned for the afternoon, wasn't going to happen, so we headed for the coast at the Bettisfield Colliery site (now a car scrap yard). As it was after 12-00, we decided to have lunch, where we spotted some concrete blocks in a nearby wooded area that meant we had a dry place to sit and were sheltered from the wind. We could even train spot at the same time, if we were so inclined.
Just after lunch David spotted a sign for the Milwr Tunnel, and mentioned he had always wondered where it came out on the coast - it wasn't long before we were to find out.
After visiting "happy bushes", we ended up exploring the coastal flood plain North and west of Dee Quay, before rejoining the official Coastal Path to Greenfield Dock.
The last part of our walk took us through the Greenfield Heritage Park along the old railway track back to Holywell. As we headed down Halkyn Street, a local resident stopped us and explained that she was in dispute with a neighbour about Footpath 10 that had been going on for many years.
Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, House sparrow, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Black-billed magpie, Common redshank, Oystercatcher, Common coot, Black-headed gull, Goldfinch, Grey heron, Mallard, Lapwing, Great cormorant, Herring gull, Common starling and Wood nuthatch.
We arrived back at the car, having had a varied and at times with unexpected challenges. Although the walk was slightly shorter than planned, our legs still knew that they had been on a good walk - extra mileage wasn't necessary!
After walk drinks were enjoyed at home, for me after cleaning boots, a cup of tea with a dash of whiskey added.