2019 sees some particularly large Spring Tides, offering the opportunity for some rather exciting kayaking. The February tides coincided with a large swell, which presented its own challenges. The swell certainly created some interest during the course of the day but at least the decision to leave from Archirondel meant that we had a relatively quite start and finish to our paddle of north coast speed.
We paddled past the distinctive red and white tower, built in 1792 before hitting the main flow of the ebbing tide. We were on our way.
Our target for lunch was a small beach just to the east of Ronez, we knew that we would be able to land there almost regardless of the size of the swell. In fact we had eaten there a few weeks previously on another day with a large swell. We arrived off Ronez in less than 2 hours. So the options were a 3 hour lunch break, whilst we waited for the tide to turn, or head a bit further along the coast. We chose the second option and carried on towards Plemont, the next place we knew for certain we could land.
As we left Tour de Rozel, the influence of a large spring tide, was having a distinct impact. The figures on the GPS, were gradually creeping upwards. As we approached La Coupe, the north east corner of the Island we touched just over 10 knots, fairly surprising as we weren’t putting too much effort into our forward paddling.
The tide swept us onto St Catherine’s and into Archirondel. We have covered 24 nautical miles during the day but I can’t remember a time when a paddle of that distance had felt so easy.
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.
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.