A Trip to the Isle of Man

A couple of weeks ago we visited my sister and her family in the Isle of Man. It’s lovely visiting the Isle of Man because it feels like you go back in time. It’s very quiet and very relaxed. But not content to go back just a decade or so, the Isle of Man held a Wartime 1940s weekend… More “A Trip to the Isle of Man”


I have spent the last 11 weeks working in Jersey.

For our international readers, this is a small island (9 miles x 5 miles) closer to France than England. Jersey isn’t actually part of the UK, but it is a “possession of the Crown”. In other words, Jersey has its own tax and legislation, but tends to follow English law and should be defended by the UK.

Despite it’s size, it has an interesting history and is really quite an interesting place to visit.
People in the UK know Jersey for its (in no particular order):

Now I have spent 11 weeks in Jersey, I also know the island for its

  • Sunshine and heat
  • Wonderful people
  • Wind and rain
  • Excellent hostelries
  • Beautiful beaches and coast walks
  • Quiet country lanes
  • Fantastic cuisine
  • Very cheap Apple store
  • Oh, and of course, some not bad climbing

Here are a few highlights…

Beaches and Castles
Jersey has some beautiful beaches and amazing castles…

Mont Orgueil Castle, Gorey
An evening stroll on Gorey beach
Elizabeth Castle - named after Elizabeth I and the home to Sir Walter Raleigh while he was Governor of Jersey. You can walk to the castle at low tide.
Grosnez Castle, a ruined 14th century castle just above some classic sea cliff climbing

The Jersey War Tunnels
The Jersey War Tunnels is a museum all about Jersey under German occupation during the Second World War. It is quite interesting…

  • Half the population left before the Germans arrived
  • There were four Germans to every islander during the occupation
  • Strict curfew and German law was enforced. Riding two abreast, having more than one dog and all forms of fishing were eventually banned.
  • Thousands of Russian and Spanish slaves, and Polish, North African the Dutch forced labour were brought to Jersey to build sea walls, gun emplacements and underground works
  • Jersey became a fortress – the tunnels were originally created as a barracks and ammunition store and later converted to a hospital awaiting the expected casualties of war. The hospital was never used.
  • Residents not born in Jersey, Jews and other persona non grata were eventually deported to German prisoner of war camps or concentration camps
  • Jersey was bypassed during the French liberation and almost starved
Entrance to the War Tunnels
The Chanel Islands will NOT be defended.
German defences along the north west coast - also just above some classic climbing. Sark and Guernsey are on the horizon.

The Climbing
Most of the climbing is along the north west coast and the south west coast. We were a bit unfortunate with the tide times over the weekend, but we got a good look at most of what was on offer.

Pete checking the descent to Rabbit's Head, one of the sea cliffs
Studying the guidebook at The Dangle Dell with a German gun tower on the headland
Pete on Buster Corner Direct
Laetitia on Layoff
Guns Cliff - with German canons
Looking down the barrel of a gun
The Pinnacle with Neolithic site. The main climbing is on the other side, but I forgot to take pictures.
Sark and Guernsey on the horizon

And finally – eat, drink and be merry
As I’ve said, Jersey has very many fine restaurants and pubs and I managed to visit quite a few.

The Cock and Bottle, providing very tasty Liberation Ale
Delicious desert at the Oyster Box, St Brelade’s Bay

Jersey is a good place to visit and not so expensive to get to – you can fly from Blackpool for under £30, which is gonna be cheaper than driving to Cornwall. As a climbing venue – it’s not too bad. As with all granite sea cliffs, it takes a while to get used to the rock, so you might feel a bit disappointed with a weekend visit. There isn’t a huge amount of routes to choose from, but plenty to keep you occupied for a week or so, and you’ll never have to queue. We only saw two other climbers.

More on Rjukan

It is widely believed that the recent Rjukan trip was for climbing but there was a far more sinister plot afoot….

Here you see the snipers who shot Tish…

This next one shows Ian inspecting the Heavy water plant…

Here you see the B-team, relaxing at the Climb-inn…

Finally, here is a picture of Tish before she broke her tooth and was shot by the sniper to retrieve the radio transmitter concealed therein…

Mexican Climbing

After a hair raising drive through Monterrey, we arrived at Hidaglo, a sprawling Mexican town dominated by the cement factory. The thing that struck me immediately was the number of emaciated dogs around the place, some lying on the road, others chasing cars. We stopped on the roadside to study the final directions to the Podosa camp ground. A car backfired, or so we thought, but then we saw the smoking gun and the fleeing dog! He’d live to bark another day.

Climbing to die for. Many routes just seconds from the road and all lengths and grade, though centre of gravity towards higher end.

Here you see Terry on the long corner second pitch of “Will the Wolf Survive’, 5.9

Everett did a good job on the third pitch, harder, steep and sustained 5.9

Meanwhile, the girls rode the canyon on their horses
‘Which way’s the border’