On a grassy field on an island in the English Channel, on top of a sea cliff, a herd of cows grazes peacefully. The cows are fawn and white in color. They look golden from afar. On this sunny day, a slight breeze blows through the large and green field. The cows are spread out across it, enjoying grass, swishing their tails as they graze. Every now and then, a cow lifts its head and looks around before going back to eating.
These cows belong to a specific breed called Guernseys, or Golden Guernsey. They originated here on the island of Guernsey. Known for their high butterfat milk, Guernsey cows have been exported and bred elsewhere in the world. But the island remains their original home. Besides, locals would argue that their creamy, golden-yellow milk is still unparalleled.
However, Guernsey’s claim to uniqueness regarding its dairy tradition is challenged by another island.
A few miles southeast of Guernsey is the island of Jersey. There, locals also gush about their breed of cow and the milk they produce. Jersey cows, compared to Guernseys, are smaller and their colors vary in shades of brown. Their milk is also high-quality but differences in fat content from Guernsey cows.
Guernsey and Jersey islands lie in the English Channel, off the coast of France. They make up what is known as the Channel Islands. Officially-speaking, they identify as “British Crown Dependencies.” It means that, while having their own governments, they still depend on Britain for international relations and defense.
Guernsey and Jersey also share a rich witchy folklore. The belief in witches and witchcraft has been present on the Channel Islands for centuries. One of the most prevalent pieces of evidence for this belief is the tradition of the so-called “witch’s seat” or “witch stone.” These stones can be found in homes all around the islands and are said to be where witches would sit. The witch’s seat is usually a large, flat stone placed near the hearth or in another prominent spot in the home. In the 16th and 17th century, there were dozens of witch hunting cases in the islands.
To the northeast of Guernsey and Jersey, there is yet another island in the Channel. Off the coast of Hampshire County in England is the Isle of Wight. While also located in the English Channel, the Isle of Wight is not officially one of the Channel Islands. Separated from England by a narrow strait, it is a county, part of the United Kingdom.
If Guernsey and Jersey have their witches, the Isle of Wight has its ghosts, poltergeists, and other supernatural creatures. Some people insist that Wight is the world’s most haunted island. This small British island, home to a little over 140,000 people, looks like a perfect setting for such stories. Stories of ghosts and hauntings on the Isle of Wight are endless. There are said to be ghosts of soldiers who were killed in battle, ghosts of shipwrecked sailors, and even ghosts of people who have been murdered. With its many ancient castles, abandoned houses, and ruined churches, Wight is the place of dreams. For ghosts and ghost hunters alike.
Everywhere you look in the Isle of Wight, you see and feel a sense of Victorian England, and not only because of the architecture and atmosphere that call to mind Victorian times. Queen Victoria herself owned a house on this island. This palace, the Osborne House, was the Queen’s favorite summer residence. It was also her final place. Queen Victoria passed away at Osborne on 22 January 1901.
The Isle of Wight is also famous for its music. The island holds the Isle of Wight Festival each summer. The first festival took place in 1968 and was headlined by Bob Dylan and The Who. The 1970 festival was headlined by guitarist Jimi Hendrix. His set at the festival is considered to be one of the greatest guitar sets ever.
Three Isles Activity 1
Choose if each of the ten underlined words is an alive verb, action verb, or noun-verb.
- One of the cows will lift its head and look.
- These cows belong to a specific breed called Guernseys.
- They originated here on the Isle of Guernsey.
- This small British island, home to a little over 140,000 people, looks like a perfect setting for such stories.
- There, locals also gush about their breed of cow and the milk they produce.
- There are said to be ghosts of soldiers who were killed in battle.
- Queen Victoria herself owned a house on this island.
- The 1970 festival was headlined by guitarist Jimi Hendrix.