Alderney "Once in a Lifetime" Island Getaway!
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Join OutdoorLads for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as we fly off across the Channel to spend four days on the magical island of Alderney. Lying only a few miles off the Normandy shore, Alderney is part of the Baliwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
We will be staying in the beautifully restored Fort Clonque - a Landmark Trust property - which has rather comfortable space for thirteen of us to stay. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the Fort is linked to the rest of the island by a tidal causeway.
Warm, cosy wood lined rooms, open fires and offering breathtaking views the mostly twin rooms, with private bathrooms and living quarters, are spread across several small buildings around the central courtyard. Take a look at the location, for my meagure description could never do this amazing place justice!
As this event is on a island some forty minutes from mainland Britain, YOU WILL HAVE TO BOOK PASSAGE TO THE ISLAND - I have recommended the Aurigny flights from Southampton, departing on Monday 11th on the 10:15 and retruning from Alderney on Friday 15th on the 15:30. It is only a short 40 minute flight and you are of course welcome to book alternative travel.
The cost of the event will include food - breakfast and dinner - for our time there, but you will need to buy your own drink - there are of courserestrictions on the transport weights but there are shops in St Ann. We are also planning to have a celebratory meal out in the pub one evening so a few notes may help!
With history and human remains dating back to the last major ice-age, Alderney has been an island for the better part of ten thousand years. Measuring only 4 square miles, with one parish (St Annes) it is the third largest of the Channel Islands and the only remaining continental possessions of a Crown brought to us by William the Conquer. The major fortifications were started by Henry VIII as part of his defence of the realm - and were continued throughout the next four hundred years.
The position of the Channel Islands so close to France made them a perfect place for privateers, many of who grew rich on their spoils. Indeed much of this loot was spent on some of the fine buildings still extant on the island. New forts, expanded church and warehouses & quays.
During the Victorian period, the British Government funded the building and upgrading of thirteen forts and naval installations. Among these included a new, much enlarged breakwater and Fort Clonque.
During the second World War, the British War Office and Winston Churchill decided that they were unable to defend the Channel Islands. Alderney, with a population of c.1500 was entirely evacuated in June 1940 leaving a deserted island which the German forces occupied. They quickly set about building parts of the Atlantic Wall, four internment camps and dozens of buildings. Due to blockading by the Royal Navy and the war crimes committed on the island, Islanders were unable to return home until December 1945. When they did they found their houses ransacked, burnt down or simply destroyed.
For several years the island operated as a communal farm, with all profits going into a Government backed fund aimed at rebuilding Alderney. By 1948 Alderney had established a mesaure of self governance and were moved from the Home Office to the Baliwick of Guernsey for legal, economic and governance functions. THis included the running of the airport and harbour facilities.
With these changes the island was able to move from an almost exclusivly arable economy to a more service and tourism based system. Being part of the Baliwick had significant tax and business benefits and several large multinational enterprises base themselves in Alderney.
Between beautifully soft, sandy beaches and impressive cliffs, Alderney and its surrounding islets support a rich flora and fauna. Trees are rather scarce, as many were cut down in the 17th century to fuel the lighthouses on Alderney and the Casquets. Those trees that remain include cabbage trees, due to the mild climate – often miscalled "palms" but of the lily family), and there are some small woods dotted about the island. Puffins on Burhou and gannets on Les Étacs (popularly called Gannet Rock) just off Alderney are a great draw for many visitors to the island.
What to bring
Bedding is provided but you will need a washkit and clothes for five days on the island!
Food & drink
Breakfasts and two full dinners are fully included in the cost of the event, along with tea and coffee. We will descend upon a local hostellry one evening for a celebratory meal - bring a few notes!