Over the last 7 or 8 years we have visited Lihou, off the west coast of Guernsey on a regular basis, normally at least twice a year. Amazingly every time I appear to have visited this delightful corner of the Baliwick of Guernsey the wind has being blowing particularly hard. It has not been uncommon to have force 6-8 with a big swell.
It was somewhat surprising then when looking at the forecast about 7 days in advance, there appeared to be a weather window developing over the western English Channel. As high pressure settled in the swell and wind died off and it looked like we were in for a perfect weekend.
My plan of paddling around Guernsey from Lihou seemed to be working and the tidal flows were such that lunch on Herm also seemed like a distinct possibility. Plans were hatched, departure times agreed and expectations raised.
In the morning we launched from Lihou and headed south towards Pleinmont headland and then the south coast of Guernsey. It had been a few years since I had paddled the south coast in its entirety and what a great stretch of coast it is. Beautiful cliffs, intriguing passages through the rocks, limited landings and very little other boat traffic. It was also possible to paddle across to Herm, one of the most peaceful of the Channel Islands, for lunch and liquid refreshment at the Mermaid Tavern before returning to Guernsey to complete the circumnavigation of the island.
A memorable day out.
As elsewhere in the Channel Islands there is plenty of evidence of the German Occupation during the Second World War. L’Angle Tower is an iconic feature overlooking the south coast was built as a direction-finding tower.
Further shots of the south coast.
The Pea Stacks
are always an interesting place to explore. The last time I was here we were swimming in slightly rougher conditions. Renoir visited Guernsey and painted these rocks.
St Martin’s Point, the most south easterly point of Guernsey. It marked the start of the 4 mile crossing to Jethou.
Approaching Jethou, with Herm behind. We could almost smell the food at the Mermaid Tavern. Crossing between the two islands there were 20 plus puffins bobbing around on the water.
On a day as sunny as this it was inevitable that the harbour at Herm would be a hive of activity. Numerous ferries and private boats completing the short crossing between here and Guernsey.
Fed and watered we started the crossing to Guernsey. It was only a neap tide but the current was flowing north, reaching 4 knots in places. Sea kayaking in the Little Russel is always entertaining.
Ice cream stop on the north coast of Guernsey.
Heading down the west coast of Guernsey. A flag is hoisted on this rock, off Cobo, every year and left in place until the following May
We arrived back at Lihou, 25 nautical miles completed, satisfied with one of the more memorable paddles for a few years. It was Pimm’s on the terrace followed by a stunning sunset.