It seems to have been some time since I last posted but a memorable trip to the Minquiers, on Thursday evening, has encouraged me to hit the keyboard.
The Minquiers are the most southerly rocks of the British Isles, about 12 miles south of St Helier, they are not visited as frequently as the other main reef off the Jersey coastline, the Ecrehous to the north east.
As this was a quick visit after work we used the rib from Jersey Seafaris to transport us to the reef in the shortest time possible. We were dropped off towards the western end of the reef and spent a very pleasant couple of hours drifting through the rocks on the first of the flooding tide. Fortunately it was a neap tide, a spring tide would have meant that it was all over to soon.
A photograph taken in 1982, one of the first times I paddled there, note the red cross on the roof
As the tide ran through the rocks we were able to appreciate what a truly special place the Minquiers are. Ownership of the reef had been disputed for some time but in November 1953 the International Court of Justice stated that the islands belong to Jersey. A consequence of that judgement is that the most southerly building in the British Isles is now on the Minquiers, the toilet.
The toilet has been refurbished in recent years.
The main island is Maitresse Ile and when we landed our evening meal had already been prepared (it would be easy to start to enjoy this type of paddling). To the north the coast of Jersey was clearly visible whilst to the south east we could see the French island of Chausey, a great sea kayaking destination in its own right, whilst further round we could see the north Brittany coast.
Arriving at Maitresse Ile.
Kayaks on the east facing slip
Looking towards the buildings. Note the roof is no longer red, also the second hut along has been built within the last 10 years.
In 2004 there were lots of small carvings, such as this one, dotted around the rocks. Last week it was difficult to find any.
Exploring the main island it was clear that this area is not visited as frequently as the Ecrehous, a number of the buildings were showing signs of neglect and there was some significant growths of vegetation, which made walking around some of the island a challenge.
Some of the paths between the huts were quite overgrown.
All too soon it was time to head north, what a perfect way to spend an evening after a day at work.