Alderney Island, day 2


postWednesday 4/15:

A perfect, clear day.  I picked up a bap (a sandwich made by slicing a soft round roll) at PJ’s Deli in Saint Anne.  Within a few blocks I was on the edge of the town.

I walked on thru cow pastures to the southern coast.  The view from the cliffs was spectacular; green fields striped with bands of bright yellow gorse bushes dropped away to a nearly waveless sea.  A powerful current seethed thru the offshore rocks (a local told me that the currents here reach speeds of 5 to 7 knots).  A bench had thoughtfully been installed at the perfect viewpoint.  My zipper-pull thermometer said 77 F.  I ate my bap here; and then I just sat here for a long time, unable to stop looking.

millI crossed the island to the north coast.  I followed a rough trail to an old water mill that a volunteer group is restoring.  I learned a Scrabble word; “leat,” a channel built for conveying water to a mill.  The original builders had replaced the waterwheel with a larger one; but had then discovered that the stream wasn’t powerful enough to turn it.  So, they had built leats up the valley’s sides to gather more water.  The grinding wheel was constructed of multiple blocks of French sandstone held together with steel bands.

Fort Tourgis.

Fort Tourgis.

The hills slope gently down to the north beaches here; so this side is where most of the fortifications were built.  Roman, Victorian and German engineers selected many of the same strategic locations, and sometimes modified or added to the earlier structures.  The ruins of Fort Tourgis are a strange hybrid of 19th and 20th century construction.  Victorian; beautiful arches, fine stone masonry, and lots of chimneys.  German; blunt concrete, and careful attention to protection from air attack.  The beach below is coarse pink sand; or perhaps “fine gravel” would be more accurate. (Alderney used to export its pink granite.)  (More pictures)

tourgis2I have two maps of Alderney; one is easy to see, but it has no road names.  The other has so much detail that I can’t see it very well.  I realized that there is an advantage to the English habit of building random roads and non-rectilinear blocks; I can tell where I am by the shapes of the roads.  Which is just as well, because hardly any of them have signs.  While I was standing by a road looking at my map, an elderly couple stopped and gave me directions.  They shook their heads over my map; “This is a terrible map!”  They told me they’d been to Vancouver BC, near Seattle.  That’s pretty amazing!

For dinner at the hotel, I selected vegetarian lasagna (Pat’s is better).  I noticed that the vegetarian lasagna costs 1.45 pounds more than the beef lasagna.  The staff explained that the vegetables are grown on the island, but they have to import the beef.  That explanation made sense at first.


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