As far as you can go – Up High Hill

We collected at the Blue Hill Community Centre, the one where Edsel and I had attended the ceilidh a week or two before.  Edsel did not accompany me on any of these, hiking was not a favourite occupation.  He would only attend if there was a specific achievement he wanted – like walking up Diana’s Peaks or seeing Napoleon’s Tomb.  This walk started gently, we headed through another of St Helena’s secret valleys with just a couple of farmsteads were tucked away down here.  This location was about as far away from Jamestown as you could go by road – a lengthy 10 miles or so back to town.  The tracks were rough but easy walking, and indeed the walk through the forest was fairly easy.  It was obvious we were reaching the outer side of the island and the forest was more of the Mediterranean style with open understory and little grass layer.  We just had to be careful of the stony ground, as they were covered in some vegetation or lichens, they could conceal nasty little holes between the rocks on which you could easily twist an ankle.

The lichens themselves were beguiling.  Years of growth in these areas so far away from any industrial pollution, the lichens grew without hindrance, they covered every stone, draped from tree branches and clung on to the trunks.  We reached the peak of High Hill.  It was not especially high, but it was the last really high point as you headed west and it stuck out plainly from the ground around.  So High maybe was not the right word  – maybe it should have been called “Higher Hill”. But still, the overall effect  gave us both marvellous views of the crown wastelands down this coast, and a chance to look back at the central massif of the island, with High Peak, Diana’s Peaks and St Paul’s in the distance.

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