My Perfect Picnic – Picnicking in Paradise

Les Écréhous is the perfect backdrop for the quintessential picnic experience, says Andy.

Here he tells us about his favourite spot, personal anecdotes, and the simple joy of alfresco dining… At the real gem of the Jersey National Park.

Andy Sibcy, Editor of the Jersey Evening Post (image taken picnicking in Greenland).

At work, I tend to eat al desco in my office in the JEP newsroom far too often, but I love a proper picnic given half the chance.

Over the years I have done a lot of sea kayaking and cycling in Jersey and around the world, with the Jersey Canoe Club and my wife and family.

Q – Can you tell us about the most unforgettable picnic spot you’ve discovered, and what made it so memorable?

Wherever we are, the picnic stop is always a vital part of the day and a welcome break to refuel. We’ve found some stunning spots over the years, on deserted beaches only accessible by water, by rivers and canals, on mountains and many more breathtaking places. 

In France (the French must have been blessed with the picnic gene) it’s easy. You just buy a baguette, some cheese and other bits and pieces, find a bit of shade and preferably a riverbank and job done. I love the way they embrace picnicking in France.

Over the past 20 year or so, I have paddled out to Les Écréhous with friends several times, but nothing can beat the first time I arrived at the magical reef off the north-east coast.

After we set off from St Catherine’s Breakwater Slip, there was much talk of how far we were from ‘the bench’. As we paddled, there were regular updates from GPS devices tracking our progress and course. I started to imagine what this ‘bench’ might be. I thought maybe an amazing rock formation. On arrival, we pulled our boats up the shingle bank, unpacked our picnic lunches and headed for the bench. 

Funny old thing, but it turned out to be a bench – one you sit on. I have no idea why I thought it was anything else. It was also immediately obvious why this place is etched into the minds of local kayakers and, I presume, many others who visit the Ecrehous. 

Q – What makes this picnic spot so special? 

It is the most idyllic picnic spot overlooking a lagoon perfect for swimming and onwards over the water back to Jersey about six miles away.

It is not only a lovely place to admire the natural beauty of one of the jewels of the Jersey National Park and watch nature’s wonder, it is also a spot to enjoy with friends, feel good about getting there under your own steam and take in some fresh air.

Q – What constitutes a perfect picnic for you

I am afraid that the healthy and natural location is not always reflected in my choice of picnic. I have never really moved on from school pack lunches, so while others get out fancy salads and culinary masterpieces, I opt for a couple of cheese rolls, some crisps, cake and chocolate, usually washed down with orange squash. That ticks all my boxes when it comes to a decent picnic, but the bench is really only about the location. 

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