I remember doing this walk a few years ago, yet, this time, with my renewed focus, I enjoyed it much more. Ok ok, so the company was pretty awesome too. Once again these walks remind me of the togetherness of various cultures, learning from one another.
We met at Green Hill. Ed’s vehicle having broken down meant they all crammed into a fiat and a ford, thank goodness I wasn’t waiting for a ride this time round. Heavily laden cars on steep Sandy Bay inclines isn’t such a good idea, but thankfully the weight was dispersed equally according to engine power (poor little fiat). The misty green hillsides of Sandy Bay reminds me of Austria, time and again. Just when I think I have seen all of the flora options on the island, private gardens remind me I haven’t.
A splash of colour at every turn, this is a stunning walk and not so arduous either, even as we rock climbed over a short-cut hilltop. I love rock climbing. Sandy Bay is my favourite part of the island, it is stunning. Yet, we were discussing how damp it can get in these areas with the mist lying low within the valleys for long periods of time in Winter particularly. One chap said he had to take his passport and other goods into work and store in a safe as mould had started to grow on them. The island has not generally encouraged double cavity walls or damp proof courses (except in the foundations) so this means that a lot of old properties have significant damp challenges.
In the distance are many little cottages on hillsides and in the valleys. Some of these properties do not have running water or electricity but it adds to the charm of the overnight stay as a lot of them are staycation properties. To stop over for a night on this side of the island will give the visitor a taste for raw and wild (at times).
Weather patterns can change very quickly. The roaring South Easterly winds and incoming rain could be felt and seen as we reached the edge of the cliff face. Forget Table Mountain in Cape Town, ours was a table cloth that kept being dragged from hillside to hillside until the entire view was draped in this ‘refinery’. Yet, within minutes, the entire scene changed and once more, blue skies broke through again.
In speaking to Gary Mercury at the Met Office in Bottom Woods, Longwood, Gary said, “just two miles can see different weather patterns. So for instance, the Met could be experiencing one set of weather and my home could be experiencing wetter conditions”. Gary also said that this year has seen in July, 43 knot wind speeds, the Trade Winds that once blew ships along to the mystical East still keep the island it’s inhabitants on our toes! It seems like wintery weather has been about for longer than normal, but Gary suggested rightly so that nothing is abnormal, we are just patiently waiting for the warmer weather to come….or impatiently.
I’ll be visiting the Met Office on Wednesday 27th October (it’ll make a year on 26th October that I first arrived back on St Helena) and will have some photos to share of daily weather testing.
Just enough time to sit and have lunch, appreciating this escapism from the routine of day jobs and home life. Yet, the helpful conversations on these walks are often brought back to the office (certainly in my case) as we discuss current trends, events, business proposals etc ….
Then, like clockwork, the wind and rain returned as we made our way back to Green Hill. We endured the full force of it’s plummet as coats went some way to protect those folks against the stinging, driving forces of South Atlantic weather patterns.
A lovely walk for those who don’t fancy the drawn out or extremely challenging.