Back from Alderney

Last night I got back from my trip to Alderney, a constituent of the Channel Islands (the only one actually in the Channel as it happens) which I first visited last year for Nick and Jane’s wedding – though this trip involved slightly less running around and pushing people about on scaffolding. 🙂

Some thoughts from my time spent there:

  • The curry house on the island, Nellie Gray’s, is a fantastic restaurant which rivals the best in Rusholme. The food is great, the prices similar to the mainland (i.e. you’re not being ripped off just because you’re on some remote island) and the waiters have perfect etiquette. Probably a bit far for Currybeer though.
  • Most people are friendly and will smile and say ‘hello’ when they pass you in the street, with the exception of some grumpy locals who seem to dislike anyone from ‘the mainland’, and the annoying teenage girls who followed me down the street one day.
  • It’s possible to go for a walk and not see anyone else, bar a few locals whizzing past in cars and completely ignoring the 35mph speed limit. Apart from a few private roads, most of the island is open and you can go pretty much anywhere you want, although some of the forts are probably a bit dangerous to explore alone.
  • The economy looks a bit shaky at the moment—a number of shops have closed since I was last on the island, there are quite a few empty buildings on the main shopping street, and I estimate around 10% of the residential properties are up for sale.
  • Although most civilian aircraft fly on autopilot nowadays, it is still slightly unnerving when you see the pilot take his hands off the controls, lean back and enjoy a cup of coffee mid-flight!

If I was going back again, I think I’d go during the week rather than across a weekend. Most of the tourist activities, such as the tours of the island, take place mid-week, and many things shut down completely on Sundays. I suspect I’d also go for a shorter period of time – perhaps three days plus one for travel – as I was starting to run out of things to do by Monday afternoon.

As for living on the island full time (permanently or for a fixed period), which I’ve been asked about a few times, I think it would be a bit too quiet for me. I wouldn’t object to purchasing a holiday home though, which could be rented for self-catered trips to cover the mortgage and used one or two weeks every year when I wanted to visit.

Photos will follow in a separate post, as flickr doesn’t seem to want to accept any files at the moment and I want non-Facebook people (yes, they do exist) to be able to see them. Photos and geodata for all the pubs will be uploaded to Pub Gateway once I have finished the comments system.