The Channel Islands are my favourite places. I’m sure there are places as beautiful, perhaps more so – but that would take some doing.
The specific Channel Islands I’m thinking about make up the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The islands are, in descending size: Guernsey, Alderney, Sark (including Brecqhou), Herm, Jethou and Burhou. The ‘hou’ ending is Old Norse for ‘island’.
The islands have their share of political difficulties, just like anywhere else. Politics and the black hole of offshore wealth management constitute the shadow to the beauty. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is probably at its most extreme on these islands. A walk into the countryside of Guernsey reveals the palatial villas of the rich. Not all of these are new, for the islands engaged in wrecking and piracy, then privateering, before these activities became codified into financial services.
But the coastlines are mostly unspoiled, and you can walk in all weathers from shining beaches to majestic cliffs. In the spring, particularly on Guernsey, the colour and scent of wildflowers are almost overpowering.
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