A couple of great days of adventure on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Coasteering and hiking, 2 great ways to explore this lovely island.
From jumping into and scrambling out of the sea, to walking along the cliff tops taking in some impressive views and nature.
But first, some adrenalin filled adventure, let’s do some coasteering. And what a great place to do it. And a unique place to do it too.
Guernsey has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world at 33 feet (10 metres) so the whole coast is transformed every six hours.
This also means that rocky cliffs can be clear and seen one hour then a few hours later they are under the swirling sea.
What Is Coasteering?
Coasteering, in short, is using the nature and rocks of the sea as an ecological obstacle course.
Scrambling up rocks. Climbing over rocks just under the water, drifting in coastal swells and the part that puts your heart in your mouth, jumping off cliffs down into the waves below.
You get to see the coast in a whole different way that is for sure. Instead of gently walking the clifftops, you end up looking up from below in the water, traversing the cliffs or literally jumping of them.
Time For Adventure
Ok, first things first. Coasteering is not one of those things you just go off and do on your own. It should be done with qualified guides and instructors.
For example, jumping off a cliff may seem safe if you are brave, but a local instructor will know every rock that lurks beneath, and remember those huge tidal ranges too here.
I was aided by Ant, a great guide from Outdoor Guernsey. What these guys don’t know about making sure everyone has safe fun on the seas here I do not know, they are great people and love their job helping people have adventurous fun of all kinds on Guernsey.
After the briefing we were off. Down to the sea level, into the water and scrambling over rocks.
The tidal waves were rushing in and out so the safety equipment and hemet really helps you concentrate more on the fun, and laughing as a wave takes you into the rocks at the bottom of a cliff.
Then the jumps off the cliffs too started getting bigger and bigger. Gulp. Listen to the guides, hold your arms correctly, and go! Jump!
What absolute fun. Refreshing to say the least. Certainly wakes you up.
Hiking The South Coast
The next day was to be a hiking day. More on the terra firma but just as exhilarating in its own way.
If you have never thought of hiking on the coast of Guernsey then let me tell you one thing, go do it. It is beautiful to walk here.
The south coast of guernsey is certainly the best place to hike if you don’t plan on taking the days to do the whole circular coast which is 39 miles.
For me, the plan was to walk the magnificent cliffs and catch the sunrise then sunset at either end.
My accommodation kindly gave me a lift to my start point, Jerbourg Point, where the southern cliffs begin. I was there in perfect time to watch the sunrise before walking westwards.
With the sun now up the landscapes and seascapes change from orange to a whole wonderful world of colours. The sky and sea of blue and the greens, blues and yellows etc of the grasses and flora around you. Beautiful.
It is not just all flora because the whole walk it felt like I was being followed by butterflies of all kinds.
The path is so well kept along the undulating walk. From clifftops and down to coves there are a few ups and downs but that keeps the unique views and experiences coming fresh all day.
The German Bunkers On Guernsey
As you walk along, every now and then you come across one of the infamous German WW2 bunkers. Remember, the Channel Islands were the only British Territory that Hitler ever gained in the war.
Peaceful now, but these bunkers in the 1940s helped to make the Channel Islands the most fortified place on earth.
The German’s Atlantic Wall on the continent had so many concrete fortresses but a whole 8% of that concrete was used here on bunkers and tunnels. In fact there were more guns pointing out from the Channel Islands than there were on the whole coast of Normandy which was over 600 miles along.
They stand as not just a museum but also they were made so strong and well it would be a huge and expensive feat to destroy them.
Reaching the West Coast
Carrying on the walk the amazing views and nature just keeps on giving. There were to many places in fact to keep looking around and admiring.
That is another thing about hiking the south coast rather than north. It is free of roads and any sign of traffic etc. The North, although with its own beauty and history, has more road walking.
In the North, if you want a superb walk then do the stretch from Rousse Tower to Pembroke Bay. White sands, dramatic landscapes and historic monuments. Together with turquoise seas.
Sunset and Chippy
When I got to the end of the cliffs I called my transport and needed to make my way further round the west coast of Guernsey, to Cobo Chippy at Cobo Bay.
You will see when you get there that this is a thing to do when on Guernsey. A take away of fish and chips, sitting on the sea wall, watching the beautiful sunset.
Golden Guernsey Goats
On your travels in Guernsey you may also come across the unique Golden Guernsey Goats. Cute things they are.
This rare dairy goat breed is actually endangered as there are only just over a thousand in existence. They are much smaller than regular British breeds of goat and more docile. Hence you see then lazing around a lot.
What I can tell you is that the cheese they produce is absolutely gorgeous.
Heading back and saying goodbye to the coast does not mean the end of beautiful views.
Throughout the middle of Guernsey, away from the few main roads you have the ‘Green Lanes’.
These lanes have a 15mph speed limit where horse riders, pedestrians and cyclists have priority.
Slowly slowly enjoy a drive along these tree lines narrow roads where you can discover hidden and magical hamlets along the way.
From Fast and furious adrenalin, to peace a quiet charm. Guernsey has it all.