Like this morning, last Saturday we woke up on Alderney to blue skies, a drop in wind and a rise in temperature. Going out and climbing to the top of the veranda at the back of the Harbour Lights was one of those, ‘Wow, it’s good to be alive!’ moments.
We had the day to ourselves and had booked a meal back at the Harbour Lights that evening and so we set off towards our favourite end of the island, to Saye and Corblets at the north eastern end. The first sight, which I never tire of, is looking back over Braye Beach towards the harbour and breakwater. The row of eighteenth century buildings look stunning when the sun shines. John Wesley stayed in one of them on one of his journeys to convert the locals.
We took the railway line to reach the end of the island, walking of course. You couldn’t do this in the summer months because of the schedule of a few trains which run from Braye Road, but at this time of year it’s quite safe.
Within twenty minutes we had reached the campsite, (also not open in April) and headed for the sand dunes. Finding a path between the tufts of grasses we reached Saye Bay, (pronounced (Soy) for that magical moment when you might as well have been on a Mediterranean island, but without the people. White sand stretched before us with the sea sheltered between rock crops on either side:
Here we paused a while, spreading out our rug in a sheltered spot and just soaked up the view, all out senses heightened. Not long after we had settled a lad appeared with a rather complicated looking kite. We were entertained watching him trying to launch it but, unfortunately, he had to give up when two little white dogs thought it was something fun to play with. I do apologise to the lad, but we couldn’t help but laugh at the sight. I hope he will forgive us because we were the only other people on the beach. (the owner of the dog of course too.)
Taking the path up and over to Arch Bay and Corblets we paused there for a while on a bench at the end of the bays before venturing
towards Longis Common to look for the wildlife reserve. Passing the end of the railway track we followed two unobtrusive white painted stones. (no big posts with colourful signs here ~ everything is as understated and as natural as possible.) Within minutes we were following a path through pools of water and undergrowth, where we found one of two bird hides on the islands. This was all the more special to us because it was put up in memory of friends’ parents and we missed it last time we looked for it. (even better because we found it by chance ~ if anything in life is by chance!) So here you are Vic and Heidi:
Walking up a few steps and we were out on Longis Common, close to the Odeon, which I will write about on another post and we headed towards The Old Barn, an unexpected pleasure for a new visitor to this end of the island but a popular restaurant for the locals, (always a good sign) where we enjoyed home-made soup. It was here we met a couple who had been on the same flight as us. It was such a relief that the weather was good for them because I didn’t want them to be put off by the inclement last couple of days. In fact, they are people like us who just wrapped up well and went out to enjoy the stunning scenery anyway. They’d really enjoyed themselves and I was so pleased, but of course the fine weather did make a huge difference.
That afternoon we walked along Longis Bay, which stretched out towards the causeway to Raz Island, where many folk were enjoying the
afternoon sunshine. In fact we fell asleep and both of us caught the sun leaning against the long concrete defences!
Back at The Harbour Lights we enjoyed a lovely meal. They have a fantastic French chef there and all the food is excellent, not to mention extremely friendly and helpful staff. In fact, it is a bit like home from home for us. When is our next trip? I hope it won’t be too long. I miss it already!
It’s not surprising that the island of Alderney inspired me to write my first novel ‘Riduna’ allegedly the Roman name for the island.