14.02.2014

The Charming Channel Islands

14.02.2014

The Charming Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel. They cover an area of seventy five square miles and include the main islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, as well as many smaller islands like Herm, Jethou, Lihou and many islets and rocks. The islands are situated just off the north west of France, approximately ninety miles south of England. They are famous for their beautiful coastline and the strong currents and tidal variations. The fearsome tidal currents of the waters around them, combined with over ten metres difference between low and high water as well as a huge amount of rocks and reefs around the main islands have made this area incredibly dangerous to all ships, boats and yachts but at the same time incredibly photogenic. Despite the close proximity to France, all the islands are subject to British sovereignty. The fascinating history shaping the islands, relics of the Neolithic, Medieval, Elizabethan, Georgian past, fortifications from the Second World War, fabulous fresh food, colourful customs, rich heritage of birds and animals, fantastic fishing, sailing and diving sites combined with a laid back approach by the locals make these island so unique and so loved by the tourists that no wonder that I jumped to the opportunity of spending a few weeks there and photographing all its beauty!

I have started my photographic adventure on Guernsey and its cosmopolitan St Peter Port which started out as a small fishing village.  This neat and well planned town with predominantly Georgian and Regency townhouses, multi level gardens and chic streets, owed its prosperity in the seventeenth and eighteenth century to privateering (read piracy), and maritime trade. The historic castle Cornet that guards the entrance to St Peter port (the first picture) houses three museums and its position, by the water is superb for day and night photography.

Alderney is the third largest and the most northerly of the Channel Islands. The island has developed slowly over the centuries and its importance grew in the nineteenth century when a huge breakwater and thirteen forts were built in an attempt to counteract constant attacks from Normandy and Brittany. One of these forts, Houmet Herbe looks at its best at sunset. When lit with the low sunlight, it seems to glow and its structure, though damaged, still demands respect.

Alderney is also a home to a delightful Mannez Quarry at Quesnard Point that has been converted into a bird nature reserve and hide. The lighthouse, visible from far away is a thirty two metre structure built in 1912 and it was essential for navigation. It is a brilliant  photographic compositional tool anchoring the photo, adding an instant interest.

La Rocco Tower at St. Ouen’s Bay on Jersey is possibly the most photograph tower on this charming island. I was incredibly lucky to be a witness of this spectacular sunset and low tide at the same time that allowed me to capture these fantastic reflections of the setting sun in the wet sand.

La Rocque is a charming place famous for the very last battle on the English soil. It was here that French Baron de Rullecourt landed and started the “Battle of Jersey” in 1781. I am happy to report that not many traces of this war are left, although the island itself is scarred with many fortifications that were built during the Second World War when the islands were occupied by the Germans.

In the south west of the island is La Corbière Lighthouse, the first concrete lighthouse in the British Isles. Built on the granite outcrop off Corbière in 1874 it has successfully withstood ferocious storms in this windy location. Glad I am, as it is a real gem for the early morning or night photography. During the blue hour, this place is a favourite haunting ground for many photographers and tourists.

Beata Moore

Beata Moore is a professional photographer and writer. She has written a number of books including “The Channel Islands”, “Portrait of Wimbledon”, “The Square Mile – photographic portrait of the City”,  “Cracow: City of Treasures”, “A Year in the life of the New Forest” and “A Year in the Life of the Cotswolds”.

Website: http://beatamoore.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeataMoorePhotography 
Blog: http://beatamoore.co.uk

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