18 Apr 2008

Guernsey - 11th April

The gods finally shone on us for a change and our flights left on time for the first time in a few years. A 50mins flight with Flybe on a turboprop soon had us landing at the airport in the middle of this channel island. The weather check this morning had promised little, the BBCs web site intent on showing a solid rain symbol sat over the island for the whole weekend, however as we descended the co pilot announced the weather had cleared and it was clear. Getting our first view of the island as you fly around it to approach the runway we were both surprised to see how populated it is, for some reason I expected the town and then a lot of green, but the whole island does see quite covered in houses. Perhaps its the scale that gives this illusion or maybe I was confusing it with Jersey and watching episodes of Bergerac as a child.
A taxi is waiting for us at the terminal and we are soon checking into La Fregate hotel in St Peters Port. The room is a beautiful suite with a stunning panoramic view of the town and port with Castle Cornet sitting prominently in the distance; as promised the weather has indeed cleared.

After unpacking quickly we head straight out for a walk around the town and out towards the Castle. The Castle is like an illusion, it doesn't look that far from the room but it never seems to get any nearer as we walk towards it. Eventually we arrive at its walls and check the opening times for tomorrow, there are guided tours at 10.30am so we decide we will spend the morning doing that if the weather holds out. The town itself is lovely and clean and you could spend a good week here and never run short of somewhere good to eat and I mean somewhere really good and not the usual touristy rubbish or pub reheat pet food that seems to swamping the nation at the moment.

(to be cont)

La Fregate

3 Apr 2008


With Easter arriving ridiculously early this year we decided to head out down the road and visit Malham. Its only 40minutes away yet for some reason we have both never returned there since the obligatory school trips. We decided to take a good lunch first in the Buck Inn which consisted of Cod, Chips and Peas for Jackie and the house special of Homemade Malham and Masham Pie - (Chunks of beef cooked to perfection with our Old Peculiar Ale accompanied with baby onions, mushrooms and topped with Short Crust Pastry). The fish and its beer batter was excellent and despite the fact you could probably use the Pastry as extra armour plating on a Tank the pie was very tasty and tender as well; all this was washed down with a nice bottle of Shiraz in front of a roaring fire.

to be cont.

We walk out from the restaurant down the valley,aling the stream and watch the rock climbers attempting to climb the cove.
Standing some 80 metres high and 300 metres wide and north of the mid craven fault, Malham Cove is a curved crag of carboniferous limestone formed after the last ice age. Meltwater, particularly from Malham Tarn, cut back the cove as it fell over the edge as a waterfall. This erosion took place more actively at the lip of the fall rather than at the sides, hence the curved shape.

We then take the stone stairs to the left of the cove and climb to the top to the limestone pavement.
The magnificent limestone pavement on the surface of the Cove is deeply fissured and fretted by a pattern of channels. Chemical weathering due to the slightly acidic rain dissolves and widens the many joints of the limestone , carving the patterns that can be seen today. The resulting limestone pavement is known as 'clints' or 'grykes', where the naked limestone lumps are the clints and the fissures in between are the grykes. The grykes are home to many rare (shade-loving) plants - harts-tongue fern, wood-sorrel, wood-garlic, geranium, anemone, rue, and enchanter's nightshade.

From here we walk on to Gordale Scar where the weather decides to play strange tricks, giving us a 2minute blizzard as we sit at the base of the waterfall.
The sides of this gorge overhang to a considerable extent, suggesting that there was once a great cavern, the roof of which has subsequently collapsed.

On close observation remnants of this roof can been found to the right above the first waterfall. The left side of the cavern is noticable for its close and intimate vertical jointing dividing the limestone into thin plates sometimes less than an inch in thickness.

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