Monday 26 October 2015

Guernsey - The Last of our Coastal Tour

It was the penultimate full day of our holiday and we really wanted to finish off our tour around the coast of the North East tip of the island which we hadn't yet seen, before heading out back to the west coast to take in a sunset and to grab some fish and chips.

We started out at Fort Pembroke and the most beautiful beach we've ever seen.  We wandered past our first Martello tower of the day and up to the fort, where it was quite breezy, to say the least, but just beautiful all the same.
This was followed by lunch with one hell of a view.  L'Ancresse Bay just stretches as far as you can see in both directions.  
After lunch we walked up to the nearest Martello tower and the views looking back over the bay were amazing.  The whole bay is is just surrounded on the coast side with a ring of Martello towers.  You can see them for as far as the eye can see.
It was then further around the North East tip to Fort Doyle, ending up at Beaucette Marina, to end off our pretty much full island coastal tour.
It was back to Rose Cottage for a quick pitstop, before heading back out to Fort Grey for our sunset. And what a sunset it was, we took loads of photos and I've tried to just pick out the best to share with you. We were very surprised to see two groups of people taking an evening dip .... it was pretty chilly.
We followed off the sunset with fish and chips from the chippy, ate sat in the car, watching the sea ... lovely.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Guernsey - Continuing our Tour around the Coast

For the next leg of our Guernsey coastal tour we started out from Fort Hommet, where we finished off last time.

Grand Rocque Fort was our first stop, which was a real treat.

The weather was bright, sunny and warm, and we pretty much had the place to ourself.  It was another quiet and beautiful spot, with amazing views in all directions.  On a day like today you could be anywhere, warm sunshine, blue skies and sea, who needs the med??

Again, it was really strange, seeing where the WW2 fortifications had been intertwined with the ancient.

We are just loving mooching around all of these old historic places.

Later in the week we continued our tour around the coast of the island, from Grand Rocque.

This time it started out quite cloudy, though it picked up for full sunshine by lunchtime.  It was not quite so picturesque as the last couple of days but we still managed to pick up a couple of Martello towers, an unexpected bird hide and a picnic lunch along the way.

The first of the Martello towers was at Rousse, where, compared to the rest of the week, it was a little gloomy.
Before continuing around the bay we had a Geocache in our sights.  This one was a bit of a scramble to a very overgrown WW2 lookout post overlooking the bay.  We were quite proud that we actually made it to this one.
You can see it's starting to brighten up a bit and that's the Rousse Martello tower you can see in the background.

On our way around the bay we stopped at a very unexpected bird hide, just on the side of the road, to pick up a Geocache.  The views from the hide were a real treat.  Without caching, we would never have know this little spot was there, it literally looked just like a bus shelter.
We continued around the bay and the gloomy weather soon lifted.  By the time we were on the other side of the bay, looking back at the Rousse Martello tower, the bright warm sunshine was back out in full force, allowing for a picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the bay.  It was just beautiful.
We then also managed to pull in another Martello tower, the local dump, landfill area, oil quarry, gun club and a spot used for flying model aeroplanes. We were definitely on our way to the industrial side of the island.

We had almost finished our coastal tour of the island, there is just one more installment of this journey to come.

Monday 19 October 2015

Guernsey - The West Coast

One of the things we really wanted to do during the course of our holiday was to fully explore the whole of the island's coast.

We starting out with a full day spent driving up, and exploring, the West coast, starting our at Fort Grey, the shipwreck museum, and ending up at Fort Hommet,

There was a spot of Geocaching along with way, but the majority of our time was spent exploring old fortifications and sites, from all manner of ages, along the way.

We started out at Fort Grey and, whilst we didn't actually visit the ship wreck museum, we did have a wander over and took plenty of photos.  It was an absolutely beautiful spot and we photographed it from pretty much every angle.

Our next stop was at Le Creux es Faies, one of a number of ancient burial sites which can be found on the island.

This one you could walk right into, which was pretty impressive.

It was very strange to see the WW2 German Observation Tower in the background, but you end up getting used to that on Guernsey.

A little further along the coast and another ancient burial site, this time close by to some fortifications which were most definitely pre WW2.  There really is something interesting to see every mile or so along this beautiful coastline.
Fort Hommet was our last point of call for this leg of our drive around the coast and we started out with a sneaky lunch at one of the many outdoor beach kiosks that we kept stumbling across along the coast.
Before wandering out to the fort we had a scout around for a fully restored gun that Martin had read about.  Whilst it was open for visiting today we were able to have a good look from the beach before walking out to the fort itself.

Like lots of other historical buildings along this coast, You can clearly see the distinction between ancient monument and German concrete bunker. It is a bit surreal at times, but gives a poignant reminder of what happend here during WW2. 

We decided to call it a day on travels for today and were really looking forward to exploring more of the coast later in our holiday, but for now, it was back to Rose Cottage for a well earned chill out.

Monday 12 October 2015

Guernsey - St Peter Port

St Peter Port is the main town on Guernsey and is where we docked on our arrival.

Throughout the course of our stay we made a number of different visits to St Peter Port and had chance to do plenty of exploring.

On our first visit we spent a lovely couple of hours at Castle Cornet on the harbour.

The castle is well worth a visit, with 5 separate museums and a real mix of eras of build, starting with medieval and ending with the alterations made by the Germans in WW2.

The views from the castle, both out over the sea and back across St Peter Port are amazing.
There is a ceremonial firing of the big gun at noon every day and this gives one heck of a bang, that gets you right down inside, when it goes off.
The harbour is also lovely for a wander around, with three different piers to explore.  On one visit we were able to get a real feel for the size of The Liberation, which we hadn't really seen on our way over, as it was dark.
There is also a really quaint and pretty shopping street, though I have to confess, it was a bit steep!
We spent another afternoon back in St Peter Port later on in our holiday. This time we explored the south side, which gave some great views of the castle and the outdoor bathing pools. We certainly weren't brave enough to even consider taking a dip though.
We had another wander out past Castle Cornet to have a close up view of the lighthouse where we discovered, that although the sun was out in full force, it was blowing a bit of a hooley.
The cafe by the bathing pools ended up being a bit of a favourite, they did the best chips on the island, and we snacked here a couple of times.  The views were just amazing and the bathing pools looked so different when the tide was in.

We also managed to fit in a trip to the German Underground museum, which was definitely worth a visit.  It is located in some underground tunnels that were originally built to store fuel tanks for German U-boats, though it was never actually used for this purpose.

We really liked St Peter Port and would definitely recommend at least a day's visit if you are staying on the island.

Monday 5 October 2015

Guernsey - Settling in ...

Despite our best laid plans, our latest holiday to Guernsey didn't get off to the best start.  We ended up getting caught up in chaotic scenes at Poole harbour, as a result of problems with Condor's ferry, The Liberation.

We were supposed to sail at 09.30am Sunday morning.  Having stayed the night in a Premier Inn in Poole, we arrived bright and early, only to find that we had been bumped back to a later boat at 03.00am on the Monday morning.

An unexpected bonus of this delay was the chance to explore the seafront at Poole on a glorious, and very busy, Sunday afternoon. 

We had a lovely wander in the warm sunshine, watching the boats and admiring the eclectic mix of architecture to be found along the roadside. 

Eventually, 17 hours late and very tired, we arrived at Les Piques Holiday Cottages, where Rose Cottage was to be our home for the next 10 nights. 

Our first day pretty much consisted of a few hours sleep and a trip to Waitrose to do the holiday shop. 

Now normally if we shop in Waitrose on holiday it is a real treat. However, having got used to Aldi prices, whilst economising since leaving work, we were both quite shocked to see the prices of even everyday essentials. Nonetheless we loaded up the trolley with provisions, including plenty of treats to get us started. 

On Tuesday, caught up with sleep and beginning to relax, we eased into the first real day of our holiday. We picked up our parking permit and were off out into the sunshine on our first exploration.

We didn't go far and spent the day exploring a number of WW2 installations along the coast, which we both found absolutley fascinating. 
By far our favourite of the day was the Batterie Dollmann Gun Pit, which is a really authentic reconstruction of how this site would have been when the island was occupied by the Germans in WW2. 

You can actually enter the site via tunnels that have been dug into the cliffside and walk past the ammunition store to the gun itself.
It was a really impressive sight against the backdrop of a beautiful blue sea and clear blue skies.
We finished off the first real day of our holiday with a pitstop at one of the many outdoor kiosks that grace the island's coast with unfailing regularity.