Tuesday, February 8, 2011

After some days in Indian Creek where we lazed about and Pelican watched we sailed down to Falmouth harbour and decided that we needed some shoreside exercise.

So we walked over to English harbour and took the water taxi to Gallion beach to make the climb up to Shirley heights. Wanting to make sure of our directions I asked the water taxi driver for directions. This proved to be an error as he sent us the wrong way.

Still we had a pleasant walk around some of the other fortifications and cactus.

During our wanderings we met other groups who had also been misdirected by the water taxi man.

This one reminds me of something rude but Gisela says I have a low sort of mind.

We found the route up and set off climbing on a steep path chopped out of the hillside by Desmond Nicholson although I suspect he might have been following indications of an earlier trail made by soldiers commuting to the Dockyard from Shirley Heights.

On the way up we saw some large airplants decorating the trees and bushes beside the trail.

Shirley Heights itself refers to the military complex, along the whole ridge just to the North of English harbour. It is named after Sir Thomas Shirley, Governor of the Leeward Islands, who strengthened Antigua’s defences in 1781. Britain had lost all her West Indian colonies (including North America) at this time except Antigua and Barbados. Much effort, therefore, was put into Antigua’s defences, mainly because of the island’s great sugar producing value and the important Dockyard.

We got there and found the advertised barbecue and steel band.

However the place was already overflowing with people and more were flooding in with minibuses queuing up to discharge their contingent of cruise ship Q tips, so we decided to walk back down on the road and look for somewhere quieter and less crowded. A friendly local retired policeman took pity on us and gave us a lift down, we must have looked a little footsore.

He made up for the bum steer we got from the water taxi captain.

A quiet dinner and we both were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow on Elephants Child.

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