For a number of years the old beach cafe at Portelet gradually crumbled through disuse, it’s decline seemingly linked to the closure of the holiday camp, which used to dominate the cliff top above and the associated drop in the number of visitors to the beach.
This year has seen the refurbishment of the building and its reopening as a pizza place and the Jersey Canoe Club decided to visit the Portelet Bay Cafe for lunch on the last day of August. A paddle from Ouaisne allowed us to visit some of the historical sites, which exist along this section of coast.
This was followed by a very pleasant break at Portelet Bay Cafe, the pizzas are highly recommended, and the paddle back assisting with their digestion. Considering it was a rather grey day with an increasing north westerly wind we think we made pretty good use of the time.
Leaving from Ouaisne is always fascinating as we pass close to La Cotte de St Brelade, which is one of the most important neanderthal sites in north west Europe. Within the ice age sediments there are thousands of stone tools in addition to the bones of their prey.
To the south lies the small stack of La Cotte Island, which has a number of short climbs on its west face.
The first major headland is Pt Le Fret. It is fully exposed to the Atlantic swell but today it was all calm and we able to thread our way through the gullies. Earlier this year the swell so large that we had to keep about 200 metres out, when rounding the point.
Noirmont Tower was completed in 1814 to help protect the southern coast of the island from potential invasion by the French. Today the lighthouse marks the western approach to St Helier.
Nicky passing in front of Batterie Lothringen, part of a World War 2 coastal battery. The first part was completed in 1941 but this tower was built April and October 1943.
On the beach at Portelet, after our pizza’s. Today was a particularly large spring tide, when we had landed less than 2 hours before, we left our kayaks at the waters edge.
Another Jersey round tower, it was completed 6 years earlier than the nearby one at Noirmont, in 1806. A sergeant and 12 soldiers manned the tower, it must have been rather crowded.