It has been a while since I have posted some aerial photos taken from commercial flights so here are a few from the last few years. They show some potentially great kayaking destinations from above. With views like these it is hard to understand why anybody would book an aisle seat!
It was another day cycling various routes around the Island, mainly on routes 1 and 3, with a few other lanes thrown in as well. Often when we are out and about we focus on the big picture, looking at the dramatic seascapes or photographing towering cumulus clouds whilst missing out on some of the small features. Bikes are the perfect vehicles to allow us to view these smaller features, which are often missed whilst driving.
We headed into St Helier and whilst cycling around the harbour my eye was caught by a riot of colour at the base of a wall. It was a plaque to commemorate those Islanders who served in Burma from 1941 to 1945, and had been unveiled the day before. Amazingly as we stood and considered the information that it contained we were joined by two other people, one of whom was the son of the first named person on the plaque.
After a stop in Gorey for coffee and cake we decided to head back west on the Cycle Route 3. This is one of a number of cycle routes, which cross the the Island, further information about the routes is available from Visit Jersey. Cycle Route 3 is one of the hardest options as it goes straight across the Island, up and down numerous valleys. Just over 14 miles in length with nearly 2,000 feet of ascent.
As you follow the route you come across some features, which are almost unique to Jersey. Many of these would be missed if driving or they are in places where it would be difficult to stop and examine them in greater detail. We came upon this Parish Boundary Stone at a road junction.
This toad made me stop and look in Waterworks Valley. It has been developed by Michelle Caine and Alcindo Pinto, working with the National Trust for Jersey. I had been away from the Island when the project was launched therefore it came as a complete surprise, and I thought I knew may way around the Island pretty well.
The final surprise was a rather old everyday object. A Victorian Post Box! Post Box No. 45 was made between 1861 and 1871 and still has a collection at 09.00 Monday to Friday, although I do wonder how many letters are posted here each day.
These are just a sample of the interesting features that can be encountered when cycling around Jersey. We are already planning a different route for next week.
It has been a couple of weeks since I had been out on the bike and I was keen to get a few miles in the legs. A quick circuit of some of the western parishes, with lunch thrown in for good measure seemed like a good idea. It is interesting just how many good cycling routes on Jersey, particularly if you know where to look. We started along the Railway Walk, surprised how many people were out walking. It appears that the Island is managing to attract a reasonable number of active visitors during the autumn months . The Railway Walk is such a great resource for visitors and locals alike.
The cycle route turns north at Les Quennevais and skirts around the Airport, where there was still some activity after yesterday’s Battle of Britain Air Display. From there we cycled through St Peter’s and down the narrow lanes into St Peter’s Valley so that we could ride on the recently opened cycle track.
The track has come in for some criticism from some people in the media but it is a valuable addition to the islands network of cycle routes. Hopefully there will be many more developments to come.
One of the great things about cycling in Jersey are the number of narrow, virtually traffic free roads, which are available to be explored including the Green Lanes. Around the Island there are about 50 miles of roads where the maximum speed limit is 15 mph and priority is given to cyclists and walkers. They were designated from 1994 onwards, and are perfect for cycling along.
Once we had cycled up La Dimerie we had regained the higher land of St Mary and passed through the village with its lovely parish church.
Our destination was a little know feature alongside one of the roads in the parish of St Ouen. There aren’t that many places on the island where it is possible to see whale bones.
After the excitement of whale ribs we were in need of some food and chose the delights of Plemont Cafe, with its extensive views of the other Channel Islands. Features were particularly clear as we were under the influence of Polar Maritime air.
From here it was a particularly easy run along the west coast of the Island, passing the St Ouen Millenium Stone on the way. 25 miles of varied cycling, mostly on designated cycle routes or virtually traffic free lanes.
The John Muir Award is a fantastic resource not just for schools but for anybody who has an interest in their environment. The Jersey Canoe Club project is to collect rubbish off the more remote beaches and caves along the north coast of the Island. It is something, which we might have done anyway but this provides a framework and means of celebrating everybodies commitment and effort. So really consider getting involved, you don’t know how far it will take you.
On another occasion I recall paddling off the south coast of Skye. There were numerous seals hauled out on the rocks and although we paddled out from the rocks there was some disturbance with a number of the seas entering the water. One of the small boats which operated out of Elgol passed reasonably close to us before approaching the rocks so that the passengers could get a better view of the seals. Surprisingly although the boat was closer than us the seals weren’t at all concerned.
Thinking of other meaningful interactions with wildlife of various shapes and sizes many of the closest encounters have been whilst have been sitting still in my kayak. Puffins swimming close by, seals approaching the bow my my kayak, whales surfacing nearby, the list could go on.
So why didn’t these larger boats with engines disturb the wildlife? One theory is that we are not a fixed shape, our paddles are rotating and at times the sunlight catches the blades. We are a moving image and perhaps the wildlife concerned becomes confused whereas a boat is a fixed shape and so the animals become accustomed to the shape and less agitated.
Of course this might be complete rubbish but I think that it is worth considering the impact we have on wildlife, our environmental credentials may not be as robust as we think they are. With the winter approaching be particularly thoughtful about those small wading birds who have traveled thousands of miles to find a regular food supply along our shoreline and then we paddle along, passing close to where they are roosting, causing them to take flight and wasting some of their hard earned energy resources.
Seeing wildlife in all its forms is one of the most memorable aspects of sea kayaking but lets slow down, give a bit more space and reduce the anxiety to those animals which call our seas and shoreline home.
I can never understand people who actually select a non window seat when flying because, without doubt, the best onboard entertainment is found from looking out of the window. Frequently the flights pass over some of the more classic paddling destinations, so the advice would be to always keep your camera at the ready. You are unlikely to be disappointed. These are a few aerial photos that I have taken in the last few years.