One of the fifty things that Alan and I discussed having been so fortuitously thrown together for a few days was: who would enjoy the Channel Island Way? I think that we concluded that just about everybody would, but bird-watchers for one would be kept happy – particularly during spring and autumn when migrating birds use the Channel Isles as a stopping off point.
Anyone keen on beautiful coastlines or quiet beaches would be happy too. Our experience would suggest that if you wanted a coastal path without too much of the up and down which that can entail then the CIW is for you.
Walkers with an interest in history would be well served – at times it seemed that there was a historic building or site every few yards, although having a guide on hand definitely helped us to make the most of that fact. This is Archirondel Tower:
You can see the breakwater at St. Catherine’s in the background on the right, and the begins of a second breakwater, which would have completed a huge harbour, extending beyond the tower.
Here’s another virtually empty beach:
It’s midday on a gloriously sunny August day: where is everyone? When we put this question to some locals later they answered dismissively: “On the east coast? Locals beaches those, they’re always quiet.” As if the crowds were elsewhere, but none of the beaches we saw was busy.
Arthur, Sarah, Alan.
The way itself isn’t busy either – the paths are well maintained but we didn’t meet hordes of walkers. Sarah was the only person we met walking the route – which was her birthday present to herself. Alan had noticed that Sarah had the guidebook, which Arthur duly signed for her.
Shortly after this point we left the road to climb a small hill to…
…Victoria Tower, a Martello tower built in 1837, and named after the new queen….
From this vantage point, perhaps the most dramatic of Jersey’s many defensive towers came into view.
Seymour Tower. You can see it again here (just about) – it’s the small dot on the left beyond the end of the long sweep of bay beyond Gorey which would be our walk for the afternoon. (More about Seymour Tower in a post to follow.)
For a while we watched the first of several kestrels we would admire as they hunted the hillsides and cliffs facing the sea…
…and then descended towards Gorey with magnificent views…
..of Mont Orgueil Castle towering over Gorey and its harbour…
So…if you like history, natural history, great views, quiet beaches, castles and fortifications – then the CIW is for you. Anything else….?
Oh yes – the grub. For the epicurean walker Jersey might be the ideal location. Our lunch, taken on a terrace with a great view, was superb.
Alan photographed the puddings, whilst I…
…took a picture of my lager – I’m not sure what that says about our respective mentalities!
But in fact the real star of the show was the main course of bass with fennel, chorizo, green beans and Jersey royals. Yum.
I’ve made it to lunch on the first day. Hurrah! More to follow.