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A little light excercise

sunny

For somebody like myself who loves the outdoors, St. Helena is a damned good place to be. True, it is a small island, but it is also a marvellously diverse one. Even better, it is one riddled with paths, ranging from well marked, used and nice and relaxed, to almost entirely unmarked and involving literally clinging to the sides of cliff faces and trying not to think of the several hundred metre drop below. As well as the numerous 'normal' trails and paths (generally, those that actually go somewhere), the St. Helena Conservation Group has produced a set of 27 postbox walks EG: At the end of each walk is a postbox, with a book to sign, and an ink stamp to prove you've been there. When i first arrived, I resolved to walk as many as possible, and, ideally, all of them.

The walks are ranked into 1-10. Very roughly, 1 is easy, and 10 is almost death defying. However walking on St. Helena often involves tricky sections, and lots of the group is quite loose and potentially dangerous, and perhaps more relevantly, the original ranking system seems to have been undertaken by a mountain goat. As a consequence the Tourist office won't even admit that they have any information for walks ranked 6 or higher, and will only give such info out if you can prove that you have been there with a reliable local guide first. That might sounds like overkill, especially if you are a proficient walker. But on an island with no mobile phone or radios, and no helicopter to help search for you, if you get into trouble or have an accident, just finding you can be very hard work.

Though I have got out as much as possible, I have already realised that I won't actually make it down all the walks, just because of time considerations: Lacking regular transport to get to the starting points of some of the walks is an issue, but there is simply too much else to do, to many family to visit and some of the walks have become favourites which I have done more than once instead of branching out.

One such walk – up the Barnes Road - is not even a postbox walk, but is instead an often overgrown back way out town past the Heart Shaped waterfall, and used only by a small handful of people (or, as we are known to the locals, idiots) and is an old road, that wouldn't really actually require that much effort to rebuilt and make passable by vehicles, although parts have fallen away (currently requiring one interesting balancing act to avoid falling into a ravine) and large chunks of the top are heavily overgrown. I also discovered, heading down it late one afternoon just before the sun went down, that there are some huuuuge rats that live along there.

Moving swiftly on.

So here, in mostly pictoral form, are some of my favourite walks:

Shark's Valley

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Heading down to the top of the valley

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Passing down into the forest at the top of the valley. Despite how it looks, there is a kind of a path there

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Looking down Shark's Valley

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The path down the side of Shark's Valley

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Passing through more vegetation. Again, there is a path but this one has a cunningly hidden river crossing it...

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A waterfall on the way down

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Looking back up Shark's Valley from the coast

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Another waterfall (we passed at least 4) this one right near the coast

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The final cairn marking the path, this one with a slight nautical twist

Lot's Wife's Pond

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Looking down towards Sandy Bay Beach, with Lot on the centre right

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Sandy Bay Beach

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Looking down to Sandy Bay Beach from the path to Lot's Wife's Pond

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A view over from the Gorilla's Head with Lot's Wife on the right

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The Gorilla's Head and the Asses Ears

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The St. Helena Public Solicitor standing on the ridge halfway along the path

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Looking down over Lot's Wife's Ponds

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Climbing down towards the Ponds

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The second rope climb down to the base and the ponds

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The sea crashing over the ponds

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One of the Ponds

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The stack at Lot's Wife's Pond

Blue Point

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Looking over Lot's Wife and down over Sandy Bay Beach

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View from Blue Point across to South West Point

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Speery Island

Gill Point
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Donkey waiting for his fisherman owner to return, at Dry Gut on the way to Gill Point

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View from Gill Point towards King and Queen rocks

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Great Stone Top

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Shore Island and George Island hiding in the mist. 10minutes later we were covered in mist and clouds, and it was raining - so we had to sit in the rain for 2hours waiting for the visibility to improve enough so we could see the path well enough to leave without falling off the side of a 500m sheer cliff...

Posted by Gelli 12:55 Archived in St Helena Tagged foot

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Looks like some absolutely phenomenal scenery Rich!!

by Sam I Am

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