As far as you can go – The Run

Edsel and I tried to keep out of it; our role was to help them document the geographical data that they had and teach them how to use it better, in a system that became known as SHEIS – the St Helena Environmental Information System. Building on the work I had done for Rebecca on my solo first visit, we had designed a system for storing, documenting and applying the data to about forty different environmental uses.  We had great fun meeting everyone and ferreting out all their data, and then showing how the computers could map it easily for them, especially the stuff that was temporal in nature.  We managed to integrate hundreds of datasets – some more extensive and more accurate than others, but nonetheless everyone who contributed to the system felt they had something they could use.

Edsel spent many hours coding and recoding all the applications he was developing.  I had more spare time available having done much of the design work, the documentation and preparing the data before getting to St Helena.  I also liked to get out and about at least once a day, so I took to walking around Jamestown.  Mainly I would head down to the waterfront.  I found a couple of alternative back routes which might find me on the castle walls, or I would head up the Back street behind the church and past the prison, and also past the only fuel station in Jamestown.  My favourite walk in town was to head out of my little courtyard, double back up Market Street, then drop down to the Run.   Unbeknownst to most tourists, this was a little piece of greenery in the middle of this dense town.  A footpath follows the course of a stream which runs through the centre of the town.  It runs under Main Street and pours out under the promenade into the sea, but at the top end of town it is open and flows all year round.  Only a few streams that start at the top of the mountains reach the sea; most are swallowed up into the loose volcanic rocks, or evaporate before they flow out to sea.  This one starts up in  Diana’s Peaks and tumbles over the Heart Shaped Waterfall, a superb piece of geology carved out by the water which when there has been a lot of rain flows over dramatically into the gorge below.   More often to not it leaves a stain of wetness down the side of the rock or gives off a faint mist into the valley below.  But then, with the water from a couple of other streams, the water gathers at the top of the town, and you can walk up this drain free from traffic , save for the odd Saint hiking down to do some shopping.  It goes under a couple of bridges, hidden by buildings spreading across the valley and as you get further up the density of the buildings lessens and there is greenery in this little linear park.

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