11 03 2012

If you ever travel to Europe and want to see some of the less travelled jewels it offers, I would recommend Sark. Sark is one of the smaller Channel Islands off Northern France, but being politically affiliated to the UK. Although geographically located within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Sark is fiscally entirely separate from it and has been granted its own UN country code (680) to assist in identifying this fact to the world at large. The islands were annexed to the Duchy of Normandy in 933. In 1066, William II of Normandy, a vassal to the king of France, invaded and conquered England, becoming William I of England, also known as William the Conqueror, and bringing the rocks with him. France didn’t bother asking for them back when England finally gave up Normandy in the 100 years war.

Flag of Sark, based on Flag of England.svg and...

Image via Wikipedia: Flag of Sark

I admit it’s been quite a few years since my own visit there, but the experience was amazing. From the UK one flew to Guernsey, then caught a “ferry” (I use the word loosely… but things may have improved!) over to Sark. Both Guernsey and Jersey are famous for the dairy products produced by their ultra-high fat content producing cows.

Guernsey cows: Wikipedia

Jersey Cows: Wikipedia

I remember my aunt (she lived on Sark) bringing some butter made with Guernsey milk to England one Christmas, and it was near-luminous yellow, there was so much oil and fat in it. Lovely! You could feel your arteries bracing themselves in anticipation just by looking at it!

Throwback at Trapper Creek: High fat Channel Islands butter

Sark itself is only a couple of miles long, with a privately-owned smaller island to its West, Brecqhou.

English: An aerial view of Sark.

When I visited, there were no motorised vehicles allowed except tractors for the small agricultural concern. They were allowed ONE passenger on their footplate, as the road up/down to the harbour at Creux Harbour is very steep. Creux Harbour, Sark.

Sark, along with the other Channel Islands has some dark history from its period under German occupation in WWII. Particularly the building of La Coupée, which was done with forced labour, to improve the earlier track between Sark and Little Sark to the South.

Wikipedia: La Coupée

There was one armed raid on Sark by British commandos to obtain prisoners for intelligence gathering, known as Operation Basalt.

And the best thing off all? Tax-free! Hard liquor sold by the half pint…  🙂



7 responses

11 03 2012

Great post. I believe this is one of several islands that give the Queen the title (which she has never accepted or used) Duchess of Normandy. Wish I could go there.

11 03 2012
Quieter Elephant

All you need is enough shekels and the time off work, and you SHALL go to the ball!

12 03 2012

Interesting post. Thanks for enlightening me.

14 03 2012
misfits' miscellany

I want to live there!

14 03 2012
Quieter Elephant

As far as I recall, it’s still feudal. Unless you’re descended from “the 12 families” you can’t own property… though you can rent.

14 03 2012
misfits' miscellany

Story of my life.

16 08 2012
More Olympic nonesense « Quieter Elephant

[…] already blogged about Yorkshire’s Olympic successes, but I wasn’t aware of Sark‘s until I read this […]

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