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Entries about cliffs

Sunny Sussex

East Sussex

sunny 32 °C
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Having had a short weekend trip to Jersey in July, we were tempted to have another weekend away in August. But by leaving it too late we ran out of time to go anywhere, and instead decided to just enjoy a day trip.

Thankfully as the day we'd planned for our day out neared, the weather got good and it was going to be a lovely and warm! We had decided to head down to Sussex, and visit a few different locations we'd not been to before.

We headed down the western side of the M25, and made our way to Seaford for views of Seven Sisters, the beautiful chalk cliffs along the English Channel. These cliffs are 'cleaner' than the White Cliffs of Dover as these ones are allowed to erode and therefore prevent the build up of vegetation.

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

The best place to see them is from the Coastguard Cottages on the edge of Seaford, where the headland allows a beautiful side shot of the cliffs. After parking at the car park at Seaford Head, we took a short walk down the hill through the nature reserve towards the cottages. There were a lot of people here already, heading down to the beach for a swim or relax, but we headed back to the car as we had other places to go.

A short drive around the corner, and we made it to Beachy Head, the highest sea cliff in Britain. Consequently, it is the third most common suicide spot in the world, and as soon as we had parked we could see the signs reminding people to speak to the Samaritans instead.

Beachy Head

Beachy Head

There were however beautiful views over the nearby area and we took a short walk along the coast towards Seven Sisters.

On our return we stopped at the small museum before heading back into the car and driving through Eastbourne. We then headed inland to the village of Battle, where the eponymous Battle of Hastings that changed England forever took place.

Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey

We had booked our tickets in advance, and after parking up walked to the gatehouse, which is now the entrance and gift shop. We then wandered into the estate, and started our tour with a look inside the Exhibition Building, where some background history to the battle was explained, before we wandered around the corner to the battlefield.

The Battlefield

The Battlefield

As it was hot, we didn't walk around the field, instead looking from the hilltop. We then walked through the remains of the Abbey, which had been built by William the Conqueror on the spot of Harold's death spot.

Having done a loop of the complex, I then took a walk through the gatehouse itself, including visiting the roof for views down the High Street, which we then took a walk down.

Battle High Street

Battle High Street

By now it was already mid afternoon, and so we headed back towards home - but not before stopping by the Bluewater Shopping Centre outside Dartford, for dinner at a restaurant.

It had been a lovely day, seeing some new things in the glorious weather.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:16 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged sea cliffs history summer Comments (0)

Back To The Past

Channel Islands - Sark & Rural Jersey

sunny 28 °C
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The Channel Islands are a collection of islands located off the coast of France, and made up of two distinct British Territories - the Bailiwick of Jersey, which contains Jersey and some other off shore islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, which contain all the other major islands. Although they are often collectively grouped together, they haven't been united since the 13th century.

We would today aim to get to Sark, the fourth largest of the Channel Islands, and located within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, just a short ferry ride away from Jersey. However not having full confidence things would run smoothly, after yesterday's visit to the Port, we made sure we were there nice and early.

It was relatively quiet when we arrived. We headed to the check-in desk and advised that we had bought through Condor Ferries rather than direct from them. "Oh" the sole lady on the desk said. It wasn't on her system, and so she ran over to speak to someone from Condor. We then spent the next half hour bouncing back and forward between the desks, where Condor stated that they had got us on their system, and had passed this over to Manche Îles; whilst Manche Îles claimed they hadn't received the information from Condor. This wasn't an automated process, and someone somewhere hadn't processed the email with this information. Thankfully we weren't the only ones with the issue, and multiple people were put aside at check in as they also weren't on the system.

As time went on, many of the people at Condor who were helping us left as it was the end of their shift, and we got more and more anxious about whether we would actually make it to Sark. Although the tickets weren't super cheap, as we were here I didn't mind buying new tickets and trying to sort out a refund later - it would be more expensive to come back to Jersey at a later date to visit Sark then. But then, just 20 minutes before the ferry was leaving, the printer started sending out loads of tickets - the processing had finally been done. We received our tickets and were finally able to make our way into the departure lounge, where everyone else was sat waiting!

It had been a long day already and we weren't even on the ferry yet! The small foot passenger ferry would only take an hour to get to Sark, and spent half the time travelling along the beautiful south and west coasts of Jersey, past lighthouses and other defensive infrastructure.

German WWII Defensive Tower

German WWII Defensive Tower

Sark is an interesting island. It was a fiefdom until 2008, and is entirely car free. The island has relatively steep sides, and from the port there are two options to get into the town - either walk up the hill or take the tractor bus for £1.50. Along with most others, we waited for the tractor.

The Tractor

The Tractor

When arriving at the top of the hill it was instantly reminiscent of traditional villages from historical dramas. We walked down the main street past the post office, cafés and shops, enjoying the ambience.

Sark Village

Sark Village

Being a small island it was only half an hour before we arrived at the beautiful La Coupée, the isthmus linking the peninsular of Little Sark with the mainland.

La Coupée

La Coupée

The path sits above a huge ridge with stunning views over the local area, and as far as the island of Guernsey. After spending time here, we headed back towards the town, past many fields as well as the Methodist Church and Cricket pitch.

Views from La Coupée

Views from La Coupée

The weather was hotting up. Although the middle of July is always nice (part of the reason why we had come here this weekend to begin with), there was a massive heatwave coming, with Monday due to be the hottest day in UK history. Even with the sea breeze, Sark was boiling, and any time out of the shade was hard going! After a surprisingly strenuous walk back to the centre of the village, we went to one of the Cafés for a cool drink and a bit of food, before making our way back to the Port.

We took a detour, and headed via Sark Henge, a modern Henge located on the south coast, before heading down the hill to the Harbour.

Sark Henge

Sark Henge

After exploring the older, Creux Harbour, we waited for our ferry return back to Jersey.

Creux Harbour

Creux Harbour

We arrived back with beautiful views of the island, and once again wandered through the town, past the Jersey Cows monument - where they even real?

The elusive Jersey Cows

The elusive Jersey Cows

The next day was our last on Jersey. However as the flight wasn't until the evening, we had lots of time to still explore. Leaving our room and checking out of the hotel, we headed back to the bus station, bought some day tickets and then headed north. We got off the bus a few stops before the end in the middle of nowhere and walked down a track. We then arrived at the northern coastal path and made our way westwards.

Coastal Path

Coastal Path

There were some beautiful views along this rugged coast, but we didn't walk too far. It was already getting very hot, and with some very hilly sections and our luggage in tow it was already getting exhausting. At the next access point we headed back into the interior, and walked the short distance here to the Zoo.

Getting exhausted

Getting exhausted

Andrew met us inside the zoo and whilst on his break gave us a tour of the various enclosures including the Orangutans, Lemurs and Bats.

A shading Orangutan

A shading Orangutan

By now it was already mid afternoon, and so we headed on the next bus towards Mont Orgueil Castle that sits imposingly over the village of Gorey. As it was hot, we decided not to explore the castle in too much detail, and instead took a connecting bus along the beautiful south coast towards St. Helier.

Mont Orgueil

Mont Orgueil

After grabbing a bite to eat, we then jumped on our last bus this holiday, taking us back to the airport. The airport was lovely and cool compared to the warm outside air, and once through security we sat upstairs in the viewing gallery where we could watch the other planes coming in.

The flight home was again short, and as it was a glorious day there were beautiful views over the other islands, the Cotentin Peninsula and Southern England.

It had been an interesting visit to the Channel Islands - lot of unique things to see and do, and we had been fortunate with the lovely weather. A shame we didn't have more time to visit Guernsey, Alderney, or even some of the nearby French ports like St. Malo, but it was a lovely place to visit for a long weekend.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 10:21 Archived in Guernsey Tagged cliffs airport zoo island castle ferry channelislands Comments (0)

The North West Coast

Caithness, Sutherland & Wester Ross - Highlands

semi-overcast 18 °C
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Although it was now our third day up in Caithness, we had yet to really explore the area. And so after checking out of our hotel in Wick, we drove back up to John O'Groats to start exploring the nearby area.

We began by heading east to Duncansby Head, the most north-easterly point of Great Britain, and from where there were beautiful views of the Duncansby Stacks. The short walk between the two, through the field of sheep, took us past beautiful coves, and cliffs full of birds including puffins.

Duncansby Stacks

Duncansby Stacks

Having already seen John O'Groats the previous day, we drove through the small settlement and made our way to the Castle of Mey, which was bought and restored by the Queen Mother.

Castle of Mey

Castle of Mey

Sadly, the Castle was closed, but we gained a vantage point of it from a nearby road before we continued our drive further west towards Dunnet Head - the northernmost point of Great Britain.

The top and bottom ends of the country are uniquely similar despite having no reason to be so alike.
Land's End is neither the most southern or western point of Great Britain, the former being Lizard Point not far away, whilst the eastern point is actually on the west coast of Scotland. And to top it off, there are parts of England further beyond (the Isles of Scilly).
Meanwhile John O'Groats also has islands further off the coast (Orkney, and Shetland), and it's also neither the most northern or eastern point of Great Britain, the latter being in Norfolk, England, and the former being Dunnet Head, again not a far distance away, where we were driving to.

Dunnet Head is a clifftop peninsular jutting into the North Sea and marking the western end of the Pentland Firth, where it's cliffs are, like Duncansby Head, home to many different species of bird.

Dunnet Head

Dunnet Head

Having now seen all the sights in Caithness we began our two hour drive along the northern coast. Passing the beautiful Dunnet Beach that could easily have been Cornwall in this sunshine, we drove through the only significant town on this coast Thurso.

Being home to just 7,500 people it wasn't long before we were again on the rural coastal road, entering Sutherland and passing by more beautiful beaches before the hills arrived. It was also not long before we reached the first stretch of single track road that would be a regular staple of the next few day's driving.

Some of the beaches en route

Some of the beaches en route

After a quick comfort break, we continued our drive past miles of Gorse before making it to the beautiful, but inconvenient Loch Eriboll. After a half hour detour around this beautiful loch, we were soon at the Smoo Cave.

Smoo Cave

Smoo Cave

The cave was formed both by the tidal gorge just north of the cave, as well as the stream that feeds the internal waterfall. Sadly the stream was pretty dry due to the lovely weather that the area had recently had, and so the waterfall was not flowing. However it still looked pretty inside.

After a strenuous (or was it just post-Covid laziness?) walk back up to the road, we continued our drive along the coast heading south.

Once again, the landscape was beautiful, but pretty barren with just a few scattered small settlements, including the beautiful Scourie, where we (and everyone else taking this beautiful coastal drive) was alerted to the fact it was Donna's 50th birthday. Hope she had a nice day 🙃

Wildlife en route

Wildlife en route

We were blessed with great weather, which enhanced the beautiful scenery. We stopped at a viewpoint at the top of the hills looking over the lakes of lochs of Assynt, before crossing over the Kylesku Bridge en route to our final pit stop of the day, Ardvreck Castle on the edges of Loch Assynt.

Scenery overlooking Assynt

Scenery overlooking Assynt

From here it was just half an hour to our stop for tonight, in the largest town for miles around - Ullapool, which has a population of just 1,500!

Even in June the town gets a rain day half the time, and so we were blessed with beautiful sunshine that made the views down Loch Broom some of the most beautiful we'd seen in a long time.

Ullapool

Ullapool

Being such a small town there weren't a lot of choices for accommodation or food - we grabbed a fish and chips by the harbour before settling in to our room for the night.

The following morning after trying some haggis for breakfast, we set off on our journey further south. After around 20 minutes we arrived at our first sight for the day - the Corrieshalloch Gorge.

Corrieshalloch Gorge

Corrieshalloch Gorge

This already deep gorge contains the Falls of Measach, a 46m waterfall, which can be seen from the slightly wobbly bridge that crosses to the other side. From here a small footpath leads down to a viewing platform, where the real scale of the waterfall and gorge can be seen.

Our next destination was a 90 minute drive further south to the Eilean Donan Castle, which sits at an imposing postion on a tidal island at the junction of three lochs. Sadly due to Covid, entry was only permitted by prebooking in advance, which we hadn't done as we didn't know when we would actually get here.

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

Nevertheless the views we got on this comfort break were still impressive, and after buying some souvenirs we continued our journey on to our next destination of the trip - The Isle of Skye, which will be covered in the next blog post.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 18:06 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged waterfalls castles cliffs wildlife cave port highlands&islands Comments (0)

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