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Cream of Jersey

Many members said that last year's North Wales AGM and Dinner was the best ever. Organiser Dennis Kelsall has the tough job of topping it this year and has arranged an island get- away he thinks may just do it. For many years, the AGM and awards

dinner weekend has been something of a moveable feast but this year we're mov- ing it even farther. For the first time ever, we're leaving mainland Britain and flying to Jersey at the invitation of Jersey Tourism. There was a time when the island was

known only as a quiet breakaway for its superb (and usually) sunny beaches, great food and wartime history. But all that's been changing and Jersey is fast becoming established as a destination for coastal walking, cliff climbing, sea sports and adventure water activity too. And it's this side of Jersey that the islanders are eager to showcase to us outdoor writers and photographers over the weekend. We're keen to capitalise on the undoubted success of last year's event at Plas y Brenin. Feedback revealed that, on top of the chance to try out sporty outdoor activities, members relished the informal atmosphere of the hostel-style accommodation as a base and the

programme of professional development sessions was a real hit. So, what happenings have we got

planned for Jersey this October? – note the dates are now, October 12–15 . First, we have a range of hostel

accommodation offered at two centres situated not too far apart in the eastern part of the island. Established in 1993, Jersey Adventures is the longest serving activity provider in the Channel Islands, with qualified instructors delivering a range of activities and courses that includes, among other things, kayaking, coasteering, cycling, rock climbing, bush craft and walking. The Activity and Accommodation Centre, in which it is now based, opened in 2011 and offers twin and four bedded/bunk rooms as well as some singles. There'll also be tents available for those who would rather sleep beneath the stars. The centre has a relaxed communal lounge area and a number of syndicate rooms, ideal venues for the workshop sessions and AGM. The other base for the weekend is the

'mini-university of The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Accommodation there will be in twin bedded rooms and, new for this year, yurt style camping pods where

Photos: Below: Near Corbiere ©; Opposite page: Top: Seymour Tower Ramsar site ©; Bottom: Sand bars at Icho ©

you're liable to be woken by lemurs, one of the threatened species in the adjacent zoological park. It has lecture rooms if we need them, and Durrell will be hosting a reception and the awards dinner on the Saturday evening. Former chairman and secretary Jon

Sparks now in his new role of professional development officer, and is putting together a programme of informative sessions for the weekend to brush up on old skills and learn about new ones to stay ahead of the game. Although he's still working on the details, possible topics include aspects of photography, writing for the new media and mapping considerations. On the outdoor activity front, there will

be plenty of opportunity to sample some of the best Jersey has to offer. You'll be able to have a go at such things as sea kayaking, surfing, climbing or coasteering, while less demanding activities proposed include blokarting (also known as sand yachting), cycling and walking. Top class instructors will be on hand for the sporting activities, with expert guides leading the walks to interpret the natural history and heritage of the area. Unique to the island is a low-tide seabed nature walk to the off- shore islet of Seymour Tower, wandering between granite reefs and sandbanks that are subsequently flooded beneath 40 feet of water by the high tide. Another walk with a difference is led by Jersey's own bushman who will demonstrate survival skills, pick out edible and medicinal plants from the hedgerow and demonstrate how to make fire without matches. We hope too that there'll be an opportunity to visit Ecréhous, an offshore reef and designated Ramsar site. Planned for the Friday evening is a

reception at the Jersey Adventure Centre, where you'll be able to meet some of the island's outdoor providers and trainers. On Saturday, as a prelude to the awards dinner, we hope that Lee Durrell will come along to tell us something of the worldwide animal conservation and training work undertaken by the Trust, which was founded by her husband Gerald Durrell in 1958. There'll be plenty of time for informal chat too on Sunday


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