As the massive air base and garrison appears on the right, in the middle of rolling peat bogs, a "Give Way" sign indicates just about the only decision point in the journey. Left to Mare Harbour - the military port, and Berthas Beach; or right, a few hundred yards, to the airport/garrison entrance; and straight on to Darwin/Goose Green. We go straight on.
The road is still gravel but is quieter, and I think, uses a different stone, which allows a smoother top layer and quieter ride. It undulates and twists for another 35 miles through the largely empty landscape, until arriving at the narrow isthmus which contains the two settlements (Darwin and Goose Green are about 1 mile apart), and where the first real land battle of the 1982 conflict took place.
|The Fallen (Los Caidos) overlooking the Falklands countryside, near Darwin|
The battle raged for around 24 hours and defeat for the British troops would have been a major, and possibly insurmountable, setback. But, despite the loss of their Commanding Officer in mid-battle, 2 Para overcame a numerically-superior and dug-in force, finally taking about 1,000 Argentine prisoners, and suffering 17 killed. Around 47 Argentine troops were killed.
|Commando memorial, near Darwin. Looking north to Wickham Mountains.|
Many emerged to find their homes destroyed or trashed beyond repair. But the Union Jack was flying again, and their nightmare was over.
|Memorial to Lt-Col H Jones and other British dead, overlooking Goose Green.|
|Goose Green community hall, where the population was held for a month in 1982.|
|Goose Green. Fisherman (centre) on jetty.|
|"1899", with goat.|
|Goose Green jetty, scene of many dead, but tasty, mullet.|
|Gentoo penguins, Newhaven|
|Coming to land|
|Goose Green, and some rare trees....|
"Camp" being the name for the countryside beyond Stanley. As many will no doubt be aware, it comes from "campo" - the Italian and Spanish word for "field"- and the same root as "champs", as in Champs Elysees - the Elysian Fields. In Greek mythology, the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous....very appropriate.