Alderney Adventure

To check in at Southampton airport for the Aurigny flight to Alderney, you ring bell for service.  A genial man with a grey beard and a hi-vi jacket will appear and check you in. Then the computer doesn’t work.  After some time, he will disappear round the back to consult a mate, then return, fiddles with the cables, and hey presto!  Straight through security, past the hot tub, through duty free and into the departure lounge. 

The flight is called 15 minutes before departure. No need for passports or ID checks as the dispatcher recognises the passengers from check-in. A screen at the gate shows a safety video and you walk to the plane.  Boarding is individually by name (they have to move the step stool around to each door). The cabin is snug, to say the least, but it’s only a 45 minute flight. On arrival you walk to a small shed and your bags come down a ramp.

This was my experience of travel to Alderney in August 2012. A gentle half hour walk from the airport brought me to my hotel: the Harbour Lights Hotel near Braye beach. Reading the local newsletter The Journal I noticed an advert for a local gardener: “free lobster with every third lawn mowing”. 

The following morning I walked back up the hill to explore ‘Town’. The Alderney Museum had displays on Iron Age, Roman and Medieval artefacts found during archaeological digs, Victorian fortifications, the Alderney Militia, 1940s evacuation and the German Occupation; and artefacts from the Elizabethan warship that sank off Alderney. Upstairs was a temporary exhibition about the sinking of the submarine Affray.  One of the crew was called George Leakey.

An empty shop had been pressed into service for a Womble Exhibition with books and memorabilia, Elisabeth Beresford’s desk and a 1974 Cummings cartoon of the Conservative party as Wombles). There were also photos from the filming of the ‘Rosebud’ silent films made in the 1980s, written by Elisabeth Beresford and with John Arlott in the cast.

Exploring the island I had an overwhelming feeling of having walked into an Enid Blyton book. This was a place that oozed adventure and called out for lashings of ginger beer.

It was misty on my final morning in Alderney as I walked down to harbour and along to Fort Tourgis.  It seemed to clear a bit by lunchtime, but when I arrived at the airport there were delays. My flight was due to leave at 2.45 but by 4.30 no flights had come or gone and the weather getting worse again. Other passengers were giving up and going home or making other arrangements. I took the  option of re-booking for the 4.00 pm. Flight the next day and set about booking accommodation for an unplanned extra night. Not quite the adventure I had been expecting, but still, an extra day’s holiday.  Hooray!

I visited Alderney in August 2012           

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