If you set foot on the cliff paths of Jersey’s north coast you should know that you’ll be in for a tough walk/jog/run. The path sweeps from low to high and some of the climbs are fierce, even with the great work done down the years to provide steps in the steepest places.
However the weather was magnificent as I set off from White Rock with the French coast as clear as a bell; also the Ecrehous, the group of islets inhabited in the summer by a few fisherfolk. The best-known resident was of course Alphonse Le Gastelois who lived in self-imposed exile there from 1961 to 1975.
The trot from White Rock to Bouley Bay is the easiest bit, though that’s not saying much. Dropping down to the bay the sign of the Black Dog reminds me that I ought to be worried. Visitors to these parts are liable to be encountered by a huge, slavering black dog with saucer eyes. He leaves his victims unharmed but terrified and they stumble away never to return. Some say that smugglers perpetuate the story to dissuade ramblers from enquiring too closely as to what is happening in the bay area.
Whatever I set out on the section of path leading to Bonne Nuit Bay. En route at the foot of a wooded glade just above sea level one comes across a memorial. It is to one Captain Ayton who died there in 1943 whilst leading a commando raid during the Occupation. Approaching Bonne Nuit I got a clear view of Sark, and the rocks that lie between the two islands. Legend has it that a boatload of settlers were sailing out of Bonne Nuit with a view to colonising Sark when a great storm blew up and dashed them against the rocks where they all drowned. On a stormy night you can still hear the frantic prayers of the men, women and children coming over from those rocks, the Paternosters.
I’m not in a fit state to run up the Charrières non-stop but I eventually reach high ground at Les Platons – in fact the highest point on the Island, and I’m pleased I’d tucked a fiver into my shorts so as to buy a cold bottle of water. Towards the Le Vesconte Memorial I take a little diversion down Les Vieilles Charrières. In a way it’s daft as I should know the consequences of a road so-named and, sure enough, I’m soon travelling steeply downwards towards Bouley again. But it’s actually a beautiful, quiet lane with great views of the Trinity hinterland which gives the lie to all those commentators that trot out the ‘Jersey’s becoming a concrete jungle’ line. Dragging myself up eventually to the memorial I learn that one Philippe Le Vesconte was elected as Connétable of Trinity on 10 occasions.
Back to White Rock for just over 10 miles in a time of…never mind, irrelevant. A good week’s running including my first intervals session, a 10 x 300m, for many months.
Miles on the week – 28.1
Miles ytd – 1,085.5