Les Landes

Whenever there is a period of north easterly winds my mind immediately starts to think about sea kayaking along the cliffs of the north west corner of Jersey, particularly those around Les Landes.  Direct exposure to the North Atlantic swell means that at certain times of the year the paddling opportunities in this area are somewhat restricted, but when the swell drops, head to the north west for some of the best kayaking in Jersey.

Although Sunday morning is the usual paddling time for the Jersey Canoe Club, it seemed like too good an oppportunity to miss so we put on an extra session on Saturday morning.  We had anticipated being sheltered from the easterly wind but in reality it appeared to be following the contours of the land, resulting in almost no respite.  I suppose these things are sent to try us.

Our morning paddle actually proved to be quite entertaining.  A slight wind blown chop kept us on our toes but the lack of swell meant we were able to paddle wherever we liked.  Caves I probably hadn’t paddled into for 5 or 6 years revealed their secrets whilst we were surrounded by history.

The most recent is the evidence of 20th century German occupation, with guns at the base of the cliffs and bunkers above.  Grosnez Castle, a ruined 14th century castle, which was occupied by the French in 1373 and 1381 was visible above our most northerly point.  Whilst the oldest features were at the base of Le Pinacle, early Neolithic finds dating back to 4800BC as well as Roman from 200AD.

What is there not like about a Saturday morning with some great paddling set against a varied historical backdrop, followed by a lovely lunch at Jersey Pearl.  I can’t wait for the next lull in the North Atlantic swell.

Stinky Bay
Getting ready to leave Stinky Bay.

Les Lands

Underneath Grosnez there is this delightful circular inlet, which is normally a boiling cauldron. Today we were able to relax and enjoy the rock architecture.

La Nethe Falaise
A huge expanse of rock close to Grosnez. La Nethe Falaise, is the aptly named Black Cliff in Jersey French.
Les Landes
After the days of blue skies earlier in the week it was slightly disappointing that we had grey skies but the scenery more than made up for it.
Looking back towards the cliffs at Les Landes. The tide was dropping quickly so it was important to return before the carry became impossible.


Grosnez Coasteering

The cliffs of Grosnez mark the north west corner of Jersey, and it is an area rarely considered as a coasteering destination. Fully exposed to the westerly swell and with virtually no escape routes, this is not an area for the inexperienced. Today’s light winds and decaying swell drew us north in search of some watery entertainment.
We decided to travel west from Plemont to Grosnez, it meant that when we climbed up the cliffs we arrived at the cars, as opposed to having a 20 minute walk along the cliff path whilst wet.
This is a great section of the Jersey coastline for sea kayaking but today our progress was much slower but probably much more intimate as we scrambled along this remote section of the Islands coast.

Just to the west of Plemont there is some entertaining scrambling. Coasteering is not all about big jumps and long swims.
There were a number of sections where scrambling along semi submerged reefs allowed us to make relatively fast progress.
Inside La Cotte a La Chevre, one of the the most important Neanderthal sites on the island.
Descending from La Cotte a la Chevre, in preparation for our next swim.
Scrambling along the rocks to the west of Le Vyi. We were beginning to feel the impact of the westerly swell hitting the cliffs when we were in the water.
The further west we moved the more the jumps appeared. This was apleasant, small jump into one of the small gullies to the easy of Grosnez.
Underneath Grosnez lighthouse. I would imagine that there are very few days in a year when peiople stand here. It is not an easy location to reach.
The exit point just to the south of Grosnez. There are some really big cliffs around here.


Jersey North West Corner

The north west corner of Jersey offers some of the finest sea kayaking on the Island.  Tonight it was particularly beautiful, with the stunning light and calm seas.  A great Thursday night paddle with the Jersey Canoe Club.
 Heading north from Stinky Bay
 Le Pinacle viewed from the south.  A cave system cuts through this headland.
 Pete with the stunning north west face of Le Pinacle.
 Heading towards the Gun Cliffs.  The impact of the German occupation is clearly visible. 
 Alex heading into the bay to the north of Le Pinacle.
 Typical north west coast scenery.  The nearest land to our left is Newfoundland, this evening the North Atlantic is particularly quiet.
 Underneath La Nethe Falaise.  Even late on a May evening most of the cliff remains in shadow.  This is “The Black Cliff” in Jersey French.  It will have extra meaning for those readers who have an interest in the history of Welsh rock climbing.
 Just to the east of Grosnez, some superb rock climbing routes.
 Approaching Plemont Bay, a real gem.
 Time to head back to L’Etacq.
The moon passing close to the summit of Le Pinacle.  It is clear why there are Spring Tides at certain times of the month.