OR WHAT WE DID BEFORE A LOVELY LUNCH
Another day, another limo trip; this time to the south western tip of Jersey, La Corbiere. Blessed with more glorious weather (and a slightly muzzy head from the Cultural Shenanigans of the previous night) we were on the headland staring out southwest into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean and la Belle France, just out of sight to the left – Brittany.
This is another fascinating stretch of coastline with oodles of history crammed into every hundred yards or so. As an engineer, I have to tell you that the lighthouse in the picture was the first constructed in the British Isles from reinforced concrete, back in 1873. You learn things if you stick around, see? All the others who ran out of the class room missed this fascinating fact…
Moving on! For the geologists amongst us – there is no need to be ashamed; be proud of your dirty little habit, it’s not everyone who feels the urge to grovel around on their hands & knees with a magnifying glass, getting all muddy and ruining their fingernails – we have caves and quarries to visit!
For the boys in the congregation, here is a gratuitous photograph of the fast ferry – a catamaran, I believe – whizzing its way to St Helier from Weymouth. It’s quite a sight and you feel it coming before you see it – the throb of its engines being quite physical.
The path, not on the C.I.Way, clambers over the lower granite beneath the cliffs – but be careful as this is tidal and you could get into a bit of bother here if the tide was to come in as it does it at quite a rate as it has a massive range of about 40 feet. But we were brave and carried on, completely oblivious to this fact until we realised that the cave was a dead end and we had to get back to where we started from…
It was worth all that peril though.
The clamber back up the staired cliff path is never too strenuous as I would guess that the top is never more than 150ft or so from the bottom. Even my Mum could do it. The stairs are all pretty good – with timber treads with protruding steel staples for extra grip. Handrails occasionally, too!
We then came across this strange construction; it’s the way the engineers get heavy parts down to the pump house at the bottom. It’s the inlet for the desalination plant higher up the cliff. Again, if you are of that mind-set; fascinating stuff.
I will never forget this view. (below) The construction on top of the cliff is a German Sighting Tower, now a place to stay on your holidays. Click on the picture for a better view.
Off again, this time to seek out one of nature’s wonders; a blow hole. When the Atlantic comes crashing in this is supposed to be a dramatic sight. It looked pretty impressive from where we were standing too. In the foreground you’ll notice that the gorse has been nibbled at – what on earth nibbles gorse like this? Whatever it is must have steel jaws as the gorse scratches like crazy through your trousers.
Geologists – feast your eyes on this quarry. The rock is just beautifully fine-grained and a splendid honey colour. Jersey granite is sought-after the world over. I’m quite surprised that there is so much of the island left as there are little quarries all over the place. Some make lovely suntraps and artists have sculptures dotted around to be enjoyed along the cliff paths and quarries. All delightfully civilized.
This next shot is just to show that where there are the occasional up and down bits, the walker is well served by nice staircases, handrails and delightful little paths.
This next picture really sums up for me Jersey's potential as a great walking destination. It’s Le Beauport. Just before lunch-time in August on a week day, there were just EIGHT people on this glorious beach, which is just a two minute walk from the car park at the top of the hill, and just a five minute walk from a busy little town with fantastic cafes and restaurants; St Brelade. Dead easy, even for families with young children too.
Before lunch, we just had time to visit the Fisherman’s Chapel at St Brelade Church with its fifteenth century wall paintings. I came over all ‘choirboy’ here. Very cool, serene and timeless: That’s the chapel, not me. I am the hot, flustered and aged looking wreck.