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Guernsey - James MacKeddie

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Guernsey - James MacKeddie

A while back whilst stood on top of a Lakeland fell I said you need to grab every opportunity life throws at you. Now, when I was invited to my best mates wedding as Best Man/organiser on Herm Island and it was a secret to be kept from the bride…… well, I thought he was nuts, but adventure in a different sense was tangible.

Herm Island sits 3 miles off the coast of Guernsey, measuring only 1 ½ miles long by half a mile wide. Famed for its white beaches, tranquillity and feeling of remoteness, you could imagine it’s a spectacular location for a summer excursion.

Two winter trips out resulted in being drenched, cold, shivering and borderline sea sick. As someone who dreamed of being a Royal Marine, I have such a poor tolerance to rolling boats that it would render me useless in any clandestine mission on calm waters. Walking around the desolate island, deserted in the winter bar all for 50 inhabitants, my friends vision was bold and my patience wavering.

But skip forward to the end of June. Flying out in warmer and drier conditions, loaded with 10kg of camera kit (another duty), I found myself back on the island and determined to make the most of it. Now your friend’s wedding may not sound the best place to experience adventure, especially when his idea of a perfect weekend is watching football and sipping Peroni, but it is possible.

Taking to sea on the boat was great fun, especially at 1030pm after the wedding, balancing on the top deck, telephoto in hand taking shots of the shore line, whilst the captain broke waves on the bows. Thankfully my stomach was weighed down with a hearty breakfast and wedding food, so I was able to enjoy watching an undisrupted canopy of stars, only broken on the horizon by the distant flickering of shoreline lights.

Jumping in the front of a 4x4 buggy, being driven around the island hanging out the door camera in hand, something mundane became interesting and great fun. And all to catch some couple shots for my friends.

Beach. I rarely ever go to beach and avoid them like the plague on holidays. Send me to the mountains! With my Lifesystems sun cream in hand and smeared over my vaguely athletic figure I was able to run around like a loon for 5 hours, without a hint of sunburn. From diving into the sea which had a temperature more consistent of an ice bath, to chasing unweighted inflatables along the golden sands, being whipped by a steady breeze, I took every opportunity to turn a flat piece of land into something with memories.

Friends and family thought I was nuts, yet I can say I had a great time and was thoroughly knackered by the end of the day.

Taking an hour out in the hotel gym, experimenting with core exercises I haven’t done for a few years, I engaged like I hadn’t for too long, awakening muscles that have lied dormant. The following day, I felt stronger, if not a little tender being at the mercy of delayed muscles onset.

Watching a sunset from the shore of Herm Island, turning the sky into a glowing fire ball, silhouetting the structures of Guernsey as it fell behind.

So, what do all these brief moments in between capturing a friend’s wedding signify?

The mountains aren’t always accessible, as day to day life gets in the way and time isn’t always on hand. It’s about making the most of what you have at your disposal. Often it’s the random opportunities that present themselves that offer the greatest reward. In an age where the term cross training is constantly thrown around at everyone from runners to climbers and cyclists, let’s look at the bigger picture. Cross living. Sod that, living. Forget the branding of occupations, grasp and enjoy whatever comes in your path. They say the best camera is the one you have in your hand, well, for me, the best adventure is the one you are on now.

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