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Published: April 20th 2007
Finally after 5 Â½ months I find myself once more back where the journey all began a few years ago in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.
I’m not too sure how to describe this place, other than it reminds me of windy, wet weekends trudging around Dartmoor as a kid wishing that at this point in time I could be anywhere else in the world. The terrain is very similar to Dartmoor with huge clumps of tussock, or elephant grass, as it is also known, covering the terrain as far as the eyes can see. One defining feature is that there are absolutely no trees. This is due to the ferocious winds, which are quite dominant all year round, blowing up from Antarctica. The military base an hours drive from Stanley does have a few trees planted, however they grow up about a foot then suddenly lean over horizontally, hugging the ground in the prevailing wind direction.
The Falklands themselves cover an area approximately half the size of Wales; yet only have a population of 2913. 1989 of these live in Stanley itself so you can see how sparse the rest of the country is. Another interesting fact I have picked
up since being here is that on average, it rains somewhere in the Falklands, every day!! Now don’t get me wrong here, im sure for local farmers this can be quite a blessing, however for me after 5 months in snow all I want now is a little bit of sunshine. Bring on South America is all I can say.
Its not all bad though and there are some truly amazing places to go, either on foot around Stanley or further afield if you have the pleasures of a land rover. The first day we arrived on the ship, all I wanted to do was stretch my legs and go for a nice long walk down to the beach. After not really walking anywhere over the past 5 months it soon became apparent that my legs weren’t quite working very well. Combined with the land sickness (still rocking side to side as if on the boat) and jelly legs due to actually moving I wandered if I was going to make it at all. We soon made it to Surf Beach though and were greeted by loads of Commersons Dolphins playing in the waves, only about 10 meters from the
Just in case you werent sure what happens when you tread on a mine.
waters edge. We then walked through the airport and over to Gypsy Cove where the Magellanic Penguin colony resides throughout the summer months for breeding in small burrows on the cliffs edge. Unfortunately it is now winter and the little furry fellas were out at sea feeding for the next few months. If you’re a wildlife lover then the Falklands are a place to behold. There are not many places where you can walk to a beach, watch penguins playing in the surf, elephant seals grunting on the sands and Killer Whales hunting 20 meters out behind the surf. Quite a stunning place indeed, just a bit wet.
I have been staying at a quite amazing B&B in Stanley run by a lovely old lady called Kay who has an amazing obsession of gnomes and is quite rightly known about town as “The Gnome Lady”. However, gnomes aside, the house is amazing and I haven’t had food the likes of which she served up last night in years. Half a cow near enough was placed in the middle of the table along with fresh veg and enough potatoes to feed an army. After we had gorged ourselves to bursting point
James Clarke Ross
Our big red taxi waiting to leave in Stanley Harbour.
she then brought out the home made apple pie which just tipped me over the edge! Of course I couldn’t leave any of it due to fear of offending and quite rightly felt sick at feeding myself to bursting point.
To walk off the meal the next day I decided to head out of the town towards Two Sisters Mountain a few hours walk out of town. On the way to the peak you can see remnants of the war all around with old bunkers, machinery and minefields scattered randomly everywhere. From the Ridge itself the skies cleared and I had amazing views from the positions that the Argies would have had when our boys would have been storming towards them 25 years ago. An amazing accomplishment considering the terrain and the conditions they were fighting in and the anniversary celebrations are rightly going on all about the town as we speak.
Anyways, my time here has come to an end once more and tomorrow I catch the plane to Santiago ready to meet my mate Neville and begin our travels through South America. I only wish I listened to my Spanish teacher a bit more at school. Now I
WW2 Big Guns..
Dont think its supposed to be ridden this way..
think of it…I wish I actually listened to all of my teachers at school!!
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