Thursday, 30 January 2014

Sharks Valley

Good afternoon!
Today I want to share a lovely walk. Last week J and I celebrated 11 years of marriage, and to mark the occasion J took a day off work so we could spend it together exploring a corner of St Helena that we had not been to before. As soon as the Smalls were safely in school we headed off to a little place called Silver Hill.
looking back to the centre of the island from the start of our walk
There are lots of great walks on St Helena, and many of the best are collected together in a book of 'post box walks'. There is a map and written instructions of each walk, and at the end of the walk is a 'post box' (usually a box in a hollow post) containing a note book and pen to sign to say you got there and a rubber stamp to mark your map or the walk book.

This is where we are going - down Sharks Valley
We have collected a few stamps but many of the walks are to far or two hard or two precipitous for the Smalls, so to get out on our own is a real treat.

It was a misty moisty morning, so we stood by the car applying sun cream in the rain. Not as mad as it sounds - the sun here (southern hemisphere and close to the equator) is very strong and it is not uncommon to burn through the clouds.

St Helena was showing off all the amazing variety of her landscape as we started along a wide path marked by cairns of stones.

We were heading down Sharks Valley to the sea on the south west coast of the island. It is thought that the name is a corruption of shirk's valley. It would be a good place to hide.

After about 45 minutes of walking through dry scrub and then semi-desert we were directed towards a very dark tunnel under some wild mango trees (sadly nothing to do with the edible sort).

In the tunnel we picked our way across a stream. There are very few streams that run year-round here, and this is one of them. We joined it not long after it emerged from the dry hillside and followed it right down to the sea.

It made a lovely background to hear the sound of the water as we walked.

we appear to have walked through the shire
 Near the stream was a ribbon of greenery in the bottom of a very dry, dusty and steep-sided valley.

We crossed the stream several times, and J had fun clearing any greenery that encroached on the path with his machete. (He referred to this as his sword throughout...)

We could hear water falls even when we didn't have a clear view of the stream, and some times we came across pools.

The pics above and below were taken from the same spot. All I did was turn around!

As well as the wild mango, there was what is known locally as yam, but taro over the rest of the world, and wild celery.

As we got nearer the coast the mist lifted and we could see our shadows.


The way-markers changed too.

The path sort of petered out at the end and we had to scramble down the rocks to the beach.

The stream arrived in a somewhat more stylish manner.

And here it is - the post box.

We stamped our map, my book of St H flora and the handle of the machete (sword) then went for an explore.

It clouded over again but the scenery was still impressive.

The sea on the south side of the island is often very rough and never safe.

the view back up the valley
 After exploring the rocky beach we returned to the stream to look for a good spot for lunch, and this is what we found...

An actual and real waterfall and pool combo fit for an actual tropical island. The only thing missing from central casting was the weather. It started to rain. Hard. We ate our sarnies sheltered by a rocky overhang.

It soon stopped, and although it was a bit chilly to take a dip, I did take my boots off and put my feet in the water. Very lovely it was too.

Then it was time for the return journey. To paraphrase Yazz: the only way was up. A long way up.

looking down on the pool from above

I stopped taking photos after a while as I got hotter and more out of breath. The last half hour or so were very hard work, and when we got to the top I could really have done with that pool to jump in! Instead we went to the shop and bought ice creams. Then it was time to head back and pick up the Smalls from school.

A lovely grown up day out.



  1. That sounds like a fab day well spent! Your pics are lovely and your text so descriptive - thanks for taking us along with you. Just one question though: does J always carry a machete on walks?! ;-)

    1. Not always but there is no one here paid to clear and maintain paths etc, It is just understood that walkers will pitch in and do their bit. Wild mango is known to grow very quickly so we knew it might be helpful. He did enjoy himself though too!

  2. A belated Happy Anniversary.
    That looks brilliant! You really are making the most of your time on St Helena. Love the idea of the 'post box' too.

  3. All you need is a Tardis and some rubber monsters up in those hills, its gorgeous, very scifi

  4. Wow what an amazing landscape and walk, what a great adventure to have not knowing what is coming next! Happy anniversary :-) x

  5. I think you meant to say MY machete! Dad xxx

  6. Amazing photos. I love the rock formations & the pools of water.

    Thanks for sharing your blog. I'm still trying to make the rounds on the Grow Your Blog! Please stop by & visit my embroidery blog if you have time.


  7. Good pictures, brings back loads of memories!
    Thank you.