Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Port Harriet Ramble

[Continuing the everyday ramblings of a Falkland Islands' visitor/resident.  Away from work, my wife and I really enjoy exploring the Falklands' countryside.....]
Belted Galloway - a hardy Scottish breed - observes the Ramblers.
 Last Sunday brought clear, blue skies, and a touch of frost.  Perfect winter walking weather.  About 20 Ramblers headed out of Stanley in a small convoy of cars, some of which parked at the walk's finish, while the rest carried on about another 5 miles.
 We had agreement from the landowner to walk around the Port Harriet farm, and set off downhill from our cars, across moorland, 3 miles to the coast.  For the main part, we followed a bubbling stream, which sometimes spread out to form bog, and at other points, squeezed between rocky outcrops.
Either climb or squeeze through small gap.
 At one such outcrop, we explored a small cave, which, in another continent, in another time, may have been home for a family.  But the Falkland Islands have been "adrift" in the South Atlantic for about 400 million years, and so there is no sign that Man has ever been here.

A sea inlet
Once we had negotiated this cliff, and repaired heads that had clashed with the rocks, we set off south again, across the boggy moor.  After about an hour, we reached a sea inlet, and followed the coast for another few miles.
Picking a route through the pathless moorland.
 The walking is hard-going due to the constantly uneven surface.  Every footstep has to be checked before putting your weight down.  Several times, hidden holes caused the unwary walker to stumble.  Nordic Walking poles proved very useful in regaining the vertical, although it took a bit longer to regain one's dignity!
A sheltered lunch-spot.
We had now been walking for about 2 hours, it seemed a good spot for a refreshment.  The bay was sheltered, and the warmth from the sun made one think that winter was coming to an end.
Following a Landrover track
Soon, we were on the move again, as we still had about another 3 miles to cover to the cars.
Taking in the scenery
 Passing a small herd of Belted Galloway cattle, we soon came to the south coast, where a gentle swell was breaking on the rocky beach.
Balsam Bog plants amongst the rocks.
Unfortunately, we didn't see any penguins, but did see lots of cormorants, petrels and ducks.
Cliff-top walk
 However, we could now see a large grey cold front approaching from the west - the forecast snow and hail!
Pleasant camping spot, but Cold Front approaching from the west.
The sunshine was going; the wind was picking up, and discarded layers were being retrieved from rucksacks.  Spring had not yet sprung and Winter was approaching rapidly.
Handy shelter from the sleet.  No more "Mr Blue Sky".
Within about 30 minutes, squalls and hail encouraged us to shelter at a pile of sandbags (purpose - blast shelter?), while the car drivers returned to the start to retrieve the rest of the vehicles.

While we waited, we could watch the large number of Southern Giant Petrels and Turkey Vultures which frequented this spot, as it is where the waste from the nearby abattoir is discarded!

Soon we were back in Stanley, and able to thaw out in a hot bath, while the snow carpeted the town.  My driving lessons were in jeopardy this week!
Another fine dawn.  This at 08:10, so getting later every day!
more soon,


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