07 September 2015 | St Peter Port, Guernsey 49’27.32N 2’32.09W – Harve Gosselin, Sark 49’25.78N 2’22.70W
Thiefdoms, Feudalism, Buddhist Inscriptions, Neolithic burial sites, Henges, Foraging, Ewok Villages.
Are we describing a scene from The Lord of the Rings or a land set high in the Himalayan Mountains? Nope this is Sark. The smallest country in the world which boasts more surprises that a magician with a hat full of rabbits.
The first of the surprises that the magician had for us was removing all the water from the prettiest bay in the world leaving us with an even prettier bay. Caves peeked out from the bottoms of the cliffs while a little beach was uncovered at the head of the bay.
With the tide out we took to the task of getting ashore and this was no usual landing. The landing stage was covered in Rocks, and near vertical steps led to a near vertical climb. This was no place to leave an errant dinghy floating unattended and so with a little cajoling Thug came with us up the vertical climb.
Safely ashore we could start to explore the island and around every corner we found magic surprises. Every path was fringed by bramble bushes whose branches were weighed down by fruit that was ripe for picking. Surrounded by this free food a cunning plan started to form. By foraging we’d piece together the primary ingredients of an apple and bramble crumble. The most English of puddings.
As we wandered and foraged we bumped into locals who taught us all about the island, found Buddhist engravings in the middle of nowhere and a Henge that look like it was ancient but was only 6 weeks old. For lunch we perched ourselves on top of a Neolithic burial mound, basked in the unending sunshine and admired the view of Jersey and France. The more the walked the more magical Sark became.
The magic continued as, with the sun casting long shadows and covering everything in dappled shade, a proper British country boozer appeared from nowhere. The beer was warm and bitter, the Sunday papers were endless and the ubiquitous pub dog was cute and playful. Sark was now magically charming.
After playing the Thug decent and ascent game and sleeping under the gaze of the high cliffs we once again took to the tracks of Sark to see if the magic would continue for another day. To put it simply; it did.
We happened across defunct silver mines, infinity pools which looked out over a flat sea and holes in cliffs that gave way to endless views. The brambles on the south facing slopes were the sweetest ever and then just as we thought we’d not find the final ingredient for the apple and bramble pie, apple trees dripping with ripe juicy fruit came into view.
Culinary magic could now happen on Ruffian. Butter and sugar and flour were rubbed together. Apples were peeled and sliced and bugs removed from the brambles. The crumble was complete and being so full of fruit we felt it should be considered 2 of our required ‘5 a day’.
Sark was so magical that it could teach the David Copperfield’s or Paul Daniels of this world a thing or two, but with the tides and winds right the magic pull of other islands is proving to be strong.
Sunrise over a magical land.
Idyllic anchorages surrounded by rocks.
It’s like walking in the Garden of Eden, if you like brambles.
Let’s go find some silver.
Ahh contemplating the view.
The window in the rock, really is a window in the rock.
Infinity pool. Sark style.
Numb feet in the freezing infinity pool.
Who’d have thought that we’d find ancient Buddhist writings.
That should make Ruffian a bit quicker.
Dinghy storage. Sark style.
For every down there is an up.
OK enough of the brambling.
Time to move onto some vines.
Or a nice cup of tea.
So very Ruffian. Cooking and fettling all at once.