Greve de Lecq: always enjoyable

By default I found myself arranging the Jersey Canoe Club Sunday morning session. Considering tide and weather I chose Greve de Lecq, a delightful beach on the north west corner of the Island. In actual fact it would have been possible to go almost anywhere but I hadn’t been from Greve for some time, a fact which helped to influence my decision.
You are spoilt for choice at Greve de Lecq, heading east and west there are sections of cliff, interspersed with numerous caves whilst to the north are the Paternoster’s, one of the reefs which are located around Jersey.  Today there were some large clouds around with the possibility of thunderstorms so we selected the coastal option, heading east.

Greve de Lecq
On the beach at Greve de Lecq. Substantial clouds.offering the prospect of lightning are visible to the north.  We were deciding whether to head east or west.

The great thing about this section of coast is that almost immediately there are numerous caves waiting to be explored and today the lack of any significant swell meant that we could wander almost anywhere.

Greve de Lecq
This is one of the longest caves that I am aware of anywhere on the Island. At this point I was probably only a third of the way in.

Besides the caves there are numerous narrow channels waiting to be explored.  Just over a mile to the east of Greve de Lecq is Ile Agois, one of the most dramatic physical features on the Island.  Separated from the headland by a narrow channel the surrounding cliffs produce an almost totally isolated stack.  Excavations in the 1950’s and 70’s of the summit area uncovered a significant amount of iron age pottery, plus the remnants of some small huts.  It might also have provided sanctuary for a small community of monks.  It is likely at that time the stack was joined to the headland, otherwise it would have been a very challenging place to survive.

Greve de Lecq
Looking north from inside Ile Agois. The remains of the small settlement are to the right of the highest point.
Derek Hutchinson
The back cover of “The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking” by Derek Hutchinson. Published in 1994, although the photograph was taken in 1989. It shows Derek on the outside of the obvious arch, which cuts through Ile Agois.

I have fond memories of paddling in this area in the 1980’s with Derek Hutchinson, who at the time was probably the best known sea kayaker in the world with his televised expeditions as well as his crossing of the North Sea by kayak in 1976, when on a 31 hour paddle they were out of sight of land for 30 hours.
To the east of Ile Agois is another significant coastal feature, Devil’s Hole.  The scene of a shipwreck in 1851, when the French cutter, Josephine, ran aground.  One of the crew was drowned whilst the other 4 were rescued by Nicolas Arthur, the owner of The Priory Inn at the top of cliffs, plus a friend.  The figurehead from the ship was washed into the bottom of Devil’s Hole, from where it was rescued, before being carved into the shape of the Devil, before being put on display, hence its name.

Greve de Lecq
Not the view of Devil’s Hole that most visitors get.

Before returning to Greve de Lecq we explored the narrow channels towards Sorel, coming across the rather strange breathing rock.  A couple of hours on a Sunday morning is a great time to explore the Islands coastline with the Jersey Canoe Club and today didn’t disappoint.


North West Gozo

Having paddled quite regularly in Gozo over the last few years there was still one section of coast which had eluded me, the north west corner of the island.  A visit in June provided the opportunity to explore this section of coast and we weren’t disappointed.

 We left from Obajjar Bay on the north coast with the aim of paddling to Xlendi on the south coast.  For me this was closing the circle.  This was the only section of the Gozo coastline that I hadn’t paddled before.  To the right of the paddlers the low lying rocks are the salt pans.  The are about 350 years old.
 Entering Wied il-Ghasri, a narrow inlet on the north coast.  It is the last place with easy access to the cliff top until you reach the Inland Sea on the west coast.
 Turning west from Wied il-Ghasri, the vertical and uninterrupted cliffs stretch to the west.  The start of some really memorable kayaking.
 Wied Il-Mielah is a stunning arch, part of the way along the northcoast.  We returned the following day, abseiled down the side of the arch before climbing back out.  a pleasant addition to a kayaking trip.
 There were numerous caves to be explored, some of them going some considerable way into the cliffs.
 Approaching the north coast cliffs, the top of the lighthouse is just visible.
 Looking down from the cliff top later in the day.
 Approaching San Dimitri Point, the north west corner of Gozo.  Amazingly from this point there is no land before Barcelona.  You don’t always imagine areas in the Mediterranean having such a large fetch.
 One of the great thing about paddling in Gozo there is always something to do over lunch.  Laurie swimming off the slip.
If people can hold their breath long enough it is always good fun to build a human tower.  4 people standing on each others shoulders was our best result that day.