Andrew Chantrell, General Manager of The Old Government House Hotel, shares with us his love of exploring the cliffs of Guernsey.
With 30 miles of cliff paths to explore in Guernsey, taking to the cliffs is the perfect opportunity for me to get back to nature and clear the mind of the hustle and bustle of daily life. Along the coast you can take in some local history as you see remnants of fortifications from years gone by. Granite watch towers, which were once used to scan the seas from invading enemies from 18th century and lookouts and gun emplacements built into the rocks by occupying German forces during World War II. Every turn offers something new!
No two days are the same. Last year I took to the cliffs to train for the 3 Peaks Challenge and this year the team are keeping it closer to home to tackle the Itex walk – one complete lap of Guernsey (38.5 miles) in a day! In preparation for both I have taken advantage of the cliffs and found that each day brings a different view and sound, as the weather and tides alter the landscape around the island. All you can hear is the sound of birds singing, waves crashing against the foot of the cliffs and, on nice calm days, the gentle rolling of the sea as it washes over glorious sandy bays.
On the beautiful South Coast bays, secluded coves and pretty harbours break up the cliffs, whilst heading closer to Pleinmont, the paths become much more rugged and the scenes more dramatic. This the part of the island that Victor Hugo wrote about in his book “Toilers of the Sea” whilst living in exile in Guernsey in the 19th Century. From the most south westerly point at Pleinmont, views across the churning sea to the Hanois Lighthouse are definitely the best and even better in winter when the sea is as dramatic as it can possibly be!
It’s hard to choose a favourite spot from the Bluebell Wood to spiralling steps, rocky climbs to gentle rolling paths, but for me, it would be the stretch from Petit Port to Saints Harbour taking in Moulin Huet – I won’t tell you why though – you will have to explore it yourself!