Monday, 5 March 2007

JERSEY - Cycling in the Channel Islands

With Condor ferries again, but this time to Jersey and with bicycles. I had devised a circuit following designated cycle routes and paths, around the western half of the island, approximately 30 miles in length. The route involved cycling the sea front a St Helier, around St Aubin’s Bay passing the off-shore Elizabeth Castle and a steady but gentle climb along a track to Corbiere point at the south-west corner. It was a lovely sunny day and we hoped that the weather would hold. The Corbiere point light house, out of a rocky promontory swept by wind and wave was an attractive stopping place. We followed the track around the head land into St Ouen’s Bay stopping for a beer at a beach front pub. At the northern end of the bay, we were both off the bikes and walking up the steep climbs around Gros Nez in the north-east corner. We stopped for lunch at a pub at Greve au Lanchon. After this, the route was mainly of tiny green lanes, four or five feet wide where cycles have priority over cars, if they are permitted at all. We steadily climbed as we headed east and the day was drawing on. Turning south after the Devil’s Hole (something that we never saw despite actually being there), the road was a steady meander down hill to the Jersey War Tunnels museum, also known as HO8. Over one thousand metres of tunnels were carved from the rock, deep into the hills during the German occupation between 1940 and 1945. Forced labour was used and the chill present in the complex of passages reminds the visitor of the many that died in the construction. It was intended as an ammunition depot, but was later adapted to be a military hospital, although it was never actually used in either form.
Emerging back into the sunshine, we stayed for a coffee before finishing the descent to the sea front. We cycled back to St Helier, in search of a bar. We settled at one near the port, while we waited for the ferry.

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