I’ve started doing my long runs on a Saturday morning so as to leave Sundays free for coaching and stuff. This is a change for me – Sunday’s always been my main running day. However, with the Jersey fine weather persisting it’s a pleasure to be out on the road anytime.
Today I headed east along the coast road. I can’t recall ever having run along the coast road in this direction beyond Ponterson Lane and it’s strange the different face that’s shown when looking at things from another angle. What’s left of Le Hocq Common – the postage stamp-sized area between the road and the sea, is a lovely spot in fine weather. Past Witches’ Rock where there used to be lots of spooky stuff going on temps passé. Today’s curiosity seekers need to scale the walls of Rocqueberg if they want to find the print of the Devil’s cloven hoof in the rock.
So on towards Grouville, not feeling particularly great this morning. I want to make a little diversion up Rue de la Forge, just before Grouville Common. In the years before WW2 there used to be a holiday camp up here, Oxenden’s. It was just unheated, wooden chalets. At the outbreak of war the British army took control of it to house alien citizens, those that might represent a threat to security. The called it a ‘Concentration Camp’ and put up a sign to this effect. Thus it was the British that coined the phrase that still sends shivers down the spine. (EDIT – thankfully this is incorrect and the phrase was apparently first coined in Germany several years earlier.) When the Germans occupied Jersey a year later they used it first for holding the remaining British troops in the Island, then for their forced labour. Today however there is, of course, no sign of the camp and it’s been turned to housing like so many places in the island. Go right down to the end though and you pop neatly out onto the golf course.
Backtracking and turning right down La Rue du Marais a la Cocque I finally hit upon clear signs of the old railway. Between this lane and the busier Rue de Fauvic there is a little path which, upon investigation, is clearly a railway embankment. To the south the imaginary line runs up the approach to the property ‘Elstead’ and alongside it. To the north there is an entry into a field that has seemingly become a lorry graveyard, and the traces disappear beneath ploughed fields.
This discovery, rather to the east of where I’d been looking, is a great triumph. Yes I know that some local historians could show me every inch but it’s much more fun discovering things oneself.
Pleased with myself I head back to Grouville Church and my hill work for the day is up Blood Hill to Grouville Arsenal. Down La Rue Soulas and along La Blinerie back home for a lazy, pleasant 9.7 miles in 1:38.
Miles on the week – 26.5
Miles ytd – 893.7 putting me back momentarily in 23rd place in the Boards.ie 1,000 mile challenge