Above Grenville


William Mackesy’s account of this walk

We started with a potter around Grenville's busy and engaging streets, out to where the minibuses sat. We piled into the back of a hot and cheerful banger, and wound our way for 10 mins or so up the hill and out to the forested edge of town.

We climb out at a junction and cross a stream that is the island's bigest river, which clearly goes mad in spate. We are immediately on a lane lined by colourful cottages in their luxuriant gardens, opening nutmeg and sniffing at its red mace lining, and sucking on the sweet, lychee like outer pulp of cocoa seeds. 

We are soon on a wide, graded grassy track, which turns out to be typical of the former access tracks which lace the old plantation hillsides. We walk through lovely secondary forest, the old plantation nutmeg, cocoa and mango trees now fighting to compete with self-seeded trees and scrub.  

The track gradually climbs a ridge, for a while by a stream lined by bamboo (another Asian import with the nutmeg, the mangoes and the monkeys). We find ripe, perfect mangoes ready for us on the ground - some bush tucker! 

The walk is always delightful and fascinating, now traversing the hillside through alternate patches of sun and shade, enjoying wide views across the forest tops to the sea.

Coming back down, we meet a grey dreadlocked philosopher sitting by the path, who talks of love and peace. Round the bend are the heavy ruins of the plantation  buildings, long processing shops made of large chunks of stone which have, perhaps unsurprisingly, survived the years of weather well. They are interesting but unlovely, and redolent of the miseries of the slaves who worked them.

Further down, we reach a low stone bridge over our stream. On a nearby rock are some bright clothes drying,and their owners clutching bottles of what we guess is homemade rum and their very sharp looking parangs. I am mildly under uncomfortable, but needlessly I so. A minute upstream, we find a perfect little bathing spot under the shady greenery. Very delightful.

Past a vast and huge-rooted survivor of the hurricanes of the years, the tractor reaches the outskirts of town,and we make a hot but pleasing return to Grenville Ville Centre. 

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