Hike # 11 : Clydsdale - Cinchona etc

Ash Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Sherona, Dickeesha, Ramond, Tineesha, Earl, Paul + eight students from Canada

No rest for the UTECH contingent on Ash Wednesday – up early to reach Papine by 8am. We meet up with Earl by the turn to Irish Town and motor to Mount Edge Guest House to join the Canadian students from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick.

They are having a leisurely start, Jamaican breakfast with …. ackee and rundown??? Beautiful sunshine as we set off again towards Newcastle, the visitors enjoying the chance to ride on the back of the pick-up.

Parade-time at the soldier-camp but no hold up and we turn into Holywell for a quick look-see. Well, not quite so quick because its not easy to leave Holywell once captivated by the views of Kingston, and the ambiance. Busy this morning, being a holiday…

Past Hardwar Gap and into Portland, to the cut-off district of Section, still suffering from the almost non-road to Buff Bay. The brave-hearted can risk the break-aways, still showing the scars of Ivan and Emily / Dennis.

Coffee for the visitors, as our skate-boarder show his….. skills? Soon on to Silver Hill Gap and then to the turning to Clydesdale. The road a little rougher now, but nothing that Earl’s 4WD Hiace can’t manage. Those in the pick-up reach first, but stop in the ‘wrong’ place. Earl continues further on, past Clydesdale and up the impossibly-steep track into the coffee plantations. A cell-call brings his sub-group back down again, ready for the 90-minute walk up to Cinchona.

A few struggles to keep going, but the weather holds out and the gardens welcome us with their irresistable charm. Quiet, cool, exotic plants and those views of the Blue Mountains. Picnics left behind (accidentally), and bikers for company, we spend an hour in this little bit of heaven once again.

Back down to Clydesdale, into the river for a dip for some and then onto the fun-day in St.Peters (Earl’s home-town). Ice-cream, fried fish and chicken-foot soup that one brave Canadian is persuaded to enjoy… fully.

Time leaving us now, so we have to be on our way back to Gordon Town, and thence Papine (for some) and Mount Edge (for others). Next year again? So say our friends from Canada – Spring Break was never this good!