La Coupée, Sark


5660. SARK LA COUPÉE.
The Cut, Sark

Published Photochrom Co., London and Tunbridge Wells. POstmarked 1912

Street View

La Coupée, the causeway which joins big and little Sark, is about 100m long. It is a high ridge 80 metres (262 ft) above the sea which is only some three metres in width. This is gradually being eroded and Little Sark will eventually become an island (a similar process is likely to have occurred with Brecqhou close to Sark’s west coast).

Several small islets lie close to the shore of Little Sark. These include Moie de la Fontaine and Moie de la Bretagne on the west coast, Petite Baveuse, Moie du Port Gorey Seceuil and Bretagne Uset along the south coast, and Brenière on the east coast. Several tiny islets also lie in Baleine Bay, which stretches along much of the east coast of Little Sark and also the southeast coast of great Sark, and L’Etac de Sark and les Demies lie to the southeast of Little Sark.

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, access to Little Sark was extremely difficult or, at best, unnerving. La Coupée was traversed by a narrow dirt track, and children are reputed to have had to crawl across it on their hands and knees to prevent being blown over the edge by the wind. According to a description in 1875, “People have thrown themselves flat on their face, from terror and nervousness on reaching the Coupée; others have lost courage half way across, and have hidden themselves behind the heads of the rocks that crop up in the middle of the Coupée until some passer by came and led them along; others have been unable to get across without shutting their eyes and being led between two persons.” On 4 September 1802, Elie Guille of the Clos-à-Jaon was carrying sheaves of corn across La Coupée for the payment of tithes. He was blown over the East side and killed.
Isle of Sark

Balcomie Castle, Crail


Balcomie Castle — Crail

Street View

Balcomie Castle is a 16th Century L-plan tower house of five storeys and a garret, to which has been added an 18th century house. It consists of a main block and offset square wing, which only joins the main block at one corner. A small stair tower is corbelled out in one re-entrant angle, linking the first and second floors. Two two-storey bartizans, both with shot-holes, crown the wing’s gable. The small gatehouse also survives. There is a walled garden.

The fine plastered ceilings from here were taken to Dean Castle, near Kilmarnock. The lands were held by John de Balcomie in 1375, although nothing of the surviving castle is earlier than 16th century. The property passed in 1526 to the Learmonths of Clatto. Mary of Guise stayed at Balcomie after landing at Fifeness on her way to marry James V. Sir James Learmonth of Balcomie was one of the Fife Adventurers who, in 1598, tried to take land on Lewis and was slain for his pains. In 1705 Balcomie passed to the Hopes, then later to the Scotts of Scotstarvit, then the Erskine Earls of Kellie. The castle is now used as a farmhouse.
Scottish Castles Association