One of the nice things about just running instead of training, which implies training objectives, is that you can potter about being inquisitive, or plain nosey. So, after talking about the Palace Hotel in a recent blog I set off today to rediscover the footpath that leads up to Palace Close through the fields from Bagot Manor Avenue, just off the Longueville Road. Ignoring the private property sign I headed up along a clearly defined but little used path up through uncultivated fields. A sharp climb affords some nice south coast views, but I emerged by JCG, a little way away from Palace Close. So I need to try that again.
Then off to find the Troglodyte Caves! These were a tourist attraction 100 years ago and consisted of a series of man-made caves which you viewed from little boats and which held all sorts of wonders. I’d pinpointed where they had been located, around Croix de Bois at Five Oaks. But despite wandering down dead-end streets and gullies at the back of houses I found nary a sign of a cave or a Trog, just dense 1930s housing.
With no route in mind I wandered through the lanes of St Saviour into St Martin and Grouville. As long as you live you’ll always come across Jersey lanes that you’ve never been in, or at least ones that you’ve mainly forgotten. It’s a wonderful place to run is Jersey. I found myself down by Queen’s Valley, in a lane that I used to walk along with my young son years ago, the attraction being a colony of somewhat bedraggled peacocks. But, like the caves, the peacocks are no more.
Further on I continued my quest to track the path of the old Jersey Eastern Railway through modern Jersey. I have pretty much done this now from town as far as Pontac Station. However I’m damned if I can find any trace beyond there, bar the station buildings themselves at Grouville and Gorey Village. The track left the coast road at Le Bourg but, peer as I might, I can’t see any sign of where it cut through the countryside where there were at least two road crossings before Fauvic Station. Next step then is to sit down again with the old OS maps and a modern map. There must be something to find. The line itself finished operations in 1929 but the Germans re-laid it in the 40s after which it was taken up again.
A mini disaster as I paused my Garmin somewhere and forgot to restart it so I had to guess at my time and mileage, about 12 miles again I think.
One more thing I learnt today. In the same recent ‘hotels’ blog I mentioned that I live on the site of the old Victor Hugo Hotel. Now I find that this establishment was the German troops’ official knocking shop during the Occupation! One can only guess at the reaction of the good residents of eastern St Helier as they looked at the queues on a Sunday afternoon.