Sep 03 2011

Jersey Coastal Walk – Day Four

Corbiére lighthouse and an old German sighting tower guard the South West corner of Jersey

route: St Ouen’s Bay to St Brelade’s Bay
Date: 3rd September 2011
distance: 5 miles
time: 2 hrs 30 mins
walkers: Dave & Leanne

The fourteen miles or so we managed to do yesterday put us in a good position to be able to finish off the full coastal path and with both of us feeling good, there was no reason we couldn’t complete it, even after a big breakfast. The short distance we had left to cover also meant we could start a little later and it was 10am when we pulled into the car park overlooking St Ouen’s Bay. It was quickly noted that on the day we had by far the least amount of distance to cover the weather was a little cooler with a breeze too, unlike the other days. These conditions would have been perfect for any of the previous three days but that was beyond our control so we didn’t spend much time dwelling on it. We sat on the promenade and put our boots watching the waves that were coming in colliding with those bouncing back off the sea wall causing large eruption of white water. A little further down the bay we could see plenty of people on surfboards enjoying the largest waves Jersey has to offer.

Ready for the final few miles

The surfers enjoying the waves at St Ouen’s Bay

Yesterday we walked along the vast beach due to the tide being out, today however it was in so we began by walking along the promenade for a short distance before we cut across the small sand dunes and joined the path that runs around the bay. This route wasn’t quite as scenic as we were next to the road but it did enable us to make good progress down the remaining mile or so of the large bay we started yesterday. Along the way our silence (apart from the cars passing and the planes taking off) was broken by a hire car coming towards us beeping its horn, a quick glance revealed the passengers were my dad, brother in law and two nephews who were going to play mini golf. They had obviously decided that the only way they were likely to win a round was to go without me, or should I say Leanne who had won a tournament a couple of days earlier. After little more than half an hour we had reached the bottom of St Ouen’s Bay and we were now on the home stretch. It is amazing how much difference a rest can make because had we done this yesterday I wouldn’t have enjoyed it, but today, now I was fresh it was the perfect start to a day.

Me in front of St Ouen’s Bay, that goes right off shot to the left.

Corbiére lighthouse would be our next port of call.

As the bay ended we rejoined another cliff path although it wasn’t as taxing as the north coast one, it did give that coastal feel once again as we followed the rugged coastline round towards Petit Port. Everything seemed much more laid back and relaxed today, almost like it was our lap of honour. That isn’t to say the previous three days of walking had been hurried in any way, but today had that feel of something I can’t quite put my finger on. I guess in a way it was success or completion which, although we intended to do before we arrived it would have been easy to use the “we are on our holiday” excuse and sack it off. Maybe it was personal pride because we had seen it through, whatever it was it felt good and all the blisters, sore feet , dehydration and swear words seemed in the distant past.

Petit Port

As we approached Petit Port there was the option of taking a path down to our right or going straight on. We could tell by reading a little further down the page that we would end up on the road we could see behind a large white building. The question was, do we take a little short cut or go with the book and it was the second option we chose as we didn’t see the point in not following the route now even if we knew where it was going. In truth all we did was descend into a wooded area then the path took us just above the beach before we rejoined the road. Not worth the detour in my eyes so why the book doesn’t suggest going the easier way I have no idea. Maybe the author got paid by the word! I actually contacted the publishers about a discrepancy in the distance between the stated distance and the distance on each of the daily maps and they have been really helpful, thanking me for pointing this out and promising to correct it for future editions, but I have to say on the whole I found the book to be easy to use. There were a few occasions where it wasn’t as clear as it could have been but that can sometimes come down to individual interpretation and also rights of way or paths do change slightly over time. All in all I would recommend the book to anyone wanting to walk the Channel Island Way (or you could borrow mine) as it is a lovely walk, but I digress. For the next fifteen minutes we walked on the road as it turned left and began to climb gradually. Upon reaching the top of this climb we had made the little car park that sits above Corbiére and the small selection of German fortifications. The causeway to the lighthouse was totally covered by the sea as the tide was in but when the tide goes out it reveals a tarmac road. Near the car park was a statue of two hands grasping each other which is there to remember a ship that sank off this coast in 1995, fortunately all 307 people on board survived.

Leanne at the statue to the French catamaran Saint Malo that sank in 1995

The sun was poking through a little more and the breeze that was so nice earlier was dying away so once again the day was heating up. In weather conditions such as this it would be rude not to buy an ice cream, especially as there was one 10ft away from us. We picked from around ten flavours and my toffee crunch was delightful although we both had to beware as the vendor told us to be careful with the seagulls around here as they wouldn‘t think twice about swooping in for a bite. We thanked him for the advice and continued on our way keeping one eye on where we were walking and the other on the sky for predators.

Me, my ice cream and a German sighting tower.

As we walked past yet another World War two bunker I finished my ice cream and after biting a little of the cone I threw it to the solitary seagull I could see. It munched away and probably spent all afternoon attacking other people for their cones after it got the taste for them but we were long gone by then and we could soon look back on the lighthouse as we began to head eastwards once again.

Looking back to Corbiére

The route eventually took us past a large building a little higher up the cliff face and next to it was a bird hovering as it looked for prey. I don’t really know what type of bird it may have been but it was definitely a bird of prey and it still had its eye on brunch as we climbed a few steps before reaching a chain link fence. Here we turned right and followed the fence as it led us to a little railway track that sloped off down to the sea. This was part of some old water works or something of that nature but it had been a while since it had been operational.

About to descend the tracks

We walked between the tracks until we reached the concrete walkway to our left and headed off before climbing some steps to a small level area. Almost immediately there was a second flight and we continued upwards until we reached the plateau and made our way towards a way mark in the distance. Around this point a large golf ball shaped building became visible and we headed over and around it the old radar station, now used to monitor the weather. As we reached the far side of this we walked into a small clearing and the book told us to take the left hand trail. Having read the directions literally it could have been one route but common sense suggested the other so we took time to have a drink as we tried to work out which one to take. The decision was critical in Leanne’s eyes as the next building of note in the book was HM Prison La Moye and she didn’t really want to get lost. We opted to use common sense and as we walked down the track we heard two loud voices causing Leanne to jump, fortunately it was two cyclists coming the other way and we passed the high outer walls of the prison back towards the sea. The path dropped down almost to sea level and ahead of us we could see another couple out on a leisurely stroll.

Taking the steps down towards Fiquet Bay

Rather than charge past them (being pro ramblers and all that!) we stopped for a quick drink and Leanne removed an unwanted stone from her boot as they slowly began to climb out of Fiquet Bay. We gave them another minute or two before we followed them up the steps and after a short while came to a junction of five paths. Just beyond this was a pillar engraved La Grosse Tête, and we thought that too good an opportunity to miss.

Big Head!

From here we could see Ouasiné Bay which is the bay that joins St Brelade’s Bay, separated by a small headland when the tide is in but the same large beach when the tide goes out. That meant we were almost in sight of our hotel and the finish line and at that moment I felt a big surge of happiness at the fact we were about to complete the full walk. The couple we had followed were looking out to sea as we tried to take a picture of each other before they offered to take one of us. As I thanked him he asked me where I was from as he thought the accent to be close to his own and upon hearing I am from Leeds he told me he used to live there but is from Doncaster. They took a picture of us and we thanked them before setting off on the final mile or so of a wonderful journey.

All smiles as Ouasiné Bay can be seen to the left of shot


A short distance along the path we were soon presented with a fabulous view of Beauport which looked like a lovely spot to spend a day sunbathing. Next we came to a car park and saw a handful of people walking down towards the beach complete with all the usual beach essentials. Walking through the car park a signpost pointed us in the right direction and after passing through some trees we got the view we were looking for…

The Golden Sands Hotel and St Brelade’s Bay was now firmly in sight

The hotel had now been spotted and we could visualise how far we had to go so we had a little extra spring in our step as we headed down some eroded steps under the trees and out onto a tiny road that would take us to the end of the bay. At the end of this road we reached the church all set up for a wedding and it looked perfect. Leanne told me that we could renew our vows here after 10 years which I thought was nice of her but I agreed to non the less.

The church in St Brelade’s would be a wonderful setting for a wedding

Immediately after the church we turned right at the road junction and after 100 yards or so we took a few steps down to the promenade. This was the very same promenade we started on 8 days earlier. We had walked for three of those days and spent the rest of the time relaxing and doing the usual holiday things. The final 200 yards along the promenade were taken at an extremely leisurely pace as we finally reached our hotel and gave each other a high five with both hands (is that a high ten?).

After 48 miles we had completed the full coast of Jersey

We entered the hotel bar to find the four who had been mini golfing had just returned and we were shortly joined by my mum and sister. We had shouted at my brother as he sunbathed on his balcony as we reached the hotel and he came down too. Drinks were ordered and we had a cheeky pint of shandy each as I find they are often more refreshing than lager. As the family ordered food Leanne nipped up for a quick shower to rinse off and when she came back down I went up and did the same. We ordered our food as the others ate theirs and by the time ours had arrived they were preparing for an afternoon on the beach. That just left Leanne and myself, our eyes met and with a knowing look we ordered another beer to wash down our steak baguettes. We had spent the morning completing an excellent walk, but this was only part of the Channel Island Way. There were paths around Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm too and they total 67 miles. We flicked through the guide book at the routes around the other islands and discussed the possibilities of us coming back next year to finish it off. With that thought in mind, we sat in the hotel bar and had a couple of cheeky ones whilst we watched the tide go out…

Sir Edmund

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