Since my visit to Alderney a year ago several five foot diameter earth stones have appeared around Alderney’s coast. On our first stroll along to Fort Clonque I was not really on the look out for these new features and so was surprised when I spied my first stone hidden in one of the buildings below Fort Tourgis:
After admiring Fort Clonque and walking up the Zig – Zag, with its views out to Les Casquets Lighthouse, we walked back to the little town of St Anne, taking the less trodden cobbled streets behind the Marais Hall and into the centre of St Anne. Here we made a point of popping into the Information Centre where there is a wealth of material about the island’s wildlife, sea life and flora, including guided walks, bus tours or boat trips throughout the summer months.
Here I picked up a leaflet about Andy Goldsworthy’s Alderney Stones project, the work of The Artist in Residence Programme at Guernsey College. It described the creation of the stones:
‘It is of Alderney, in Alderney, keen to celebrate that sense of place.’
The stones are expected to disappear in time, sliding back into the landscape from which they were formed and in fact the one positioned near the Breakwater has already done just that.
On the Saturday, when we experienced a beautiful clear blue day, we left out hotel, map in hand and headed towards Fort Albert. The stone here is quite majestic, like an oversized cannot ball guarding the fortress:
Mind you my husband’s comment was that it looked like someone had used it for shooting practice!
This next one sits at the rocky end of Saye Bay, a long sandy stretch with rocky outcrops on either side; the black rock is excellent for fishing, so I’m told.
Further along the coastal path from Mannez Lighthouse to Longis you couldn’t miss the next stone, in fact a lady was standing by it and I should have asked her if she wouldn’t mind being in the photo to give you a perspective of scale. They are certainly very tactile and I can imagine the stones being a fascination to children and an insentive to encourage a reluctant young walker!
Once round at Longis my husband exclaimed:
‘It’s like ‘The Prisoner!’
and for those who can’t remember the 1960’s series filmed in the coastal folly, the village of Portmeirion North Wales, this ball seemed to follow Patrick Mc Goohan, Number 6, around the village as he tried his best to escape.
Whether this was in the minds of the creator of the Alderney Stones I have no idea, and the islanders I spoke to certainly seemed to form two camps, of those who like the stones and those who don’t. Personally, I quite like the idea that they are formed of nature to which they will return, some mare hastily than others depending on the protection from the elements. They certainly make an interesting topic of conversation for an afternoon amble.