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JCO Cockpit Country Hike - Sunday, February 11, 2007

The JCO crew will be in the field as of Feb 6 and will not be able to answer emails. For info on the hike, please call Jan Pauel at 990 7255, or Stefan at 414 2489 (as of evening Feb 7).

Members of the JCO will lead interested guests on a bit of a trek through the Cockpit Country, near Windsor, on Sunday, February 11, as part of the Cockpit Country Stakeholders Group campaign to prevent bauxite mining in the CC. The route will be through Guthries, Bamboo Bottom, and along part of the Troy-Windsor Trail. We invite all those concerned about the future of the Cockpit Country to join us.

The start time of the hike will be 11:00 AM, and we expect to be on the trail for about four hours. We hope that this time-frame will allow those arriving from Kingston and environs to get back to town before nightfall.

We realize that some people may run late, and not reach Windsor until after 11:00 AM. If you find yourself delayed, leave a message at 990 7255 (Jan Pauel) - we'll send someone up the road, to where we get a signal, at about 10:30 to check. If necessary, we'll leave a guide at the meeting point who can help you to catch up with us (we won't be moving that quickly).

For those who may wish to stay over the night before, or Sunday evening, accommodation is available at The Last Resort (free of charge), but we ask that you bring your own bedding, and whatever food and drinks you'll need (the power is solar only, so bring a cooler if you want things to stay cold). The Last Resort is fairly spacious, and has a number of bunks, but we could run out of room nevertheless - if you're interested in staying over, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can reserve a place for you.

Items that you should bring for the hike include long pants, sensible footwear, mosquito repellent, and a small back-pack for snacks and water (bring at least one litre). As it is the Cockpit Country, there is a good chance that we'll have rain in the afternoon. We suggest you bring ziplock bags to keep cameras and cell phones dry, a rain coat or poncho, and a dry set of clothes to leave where we park. The JCO will bring a first-aid kit, but if you have one yourself, toss it in your pack (we're hoping to get through the day with no casualties, but better safe than sorry). We also ask that you bring a suitable bag for holding things like used sardine cans and plastic waste from snacks (we intend to leave nothing behind but footprints).

Of the areas that we will be passing through, Bamboo Bottom is of particular interest. It is located in the bauxite prospecting licence area, and we believe that a visit to this feature will help to demonstrate the unique hydrology of the Cockpit Country, and why it so important to preserve the natural landforms of this part of the island. An excerpt from the JCO report on the caves component of the Parks in Peril Project can be found here, as a .doc file, that describes the area. Please note that we will be there during dry-season conditions. In addition to the interesting hydrology found in the hills south of Windsor, the route that we will be taking is quite lovely in places, with fine views, beautiful flowers, and abundant wildlife.

Directions and maps will be found below. We will put up a sign or two on the last stretch before the meeting point to keep you on track. If you are uncertain which road to take in Sherwood Content, just stop and ask. Anyone will be able to direct you to Windsor, and there are usually people out and about. Please be advised that the roads in the district are typical of rural areas in Jamaica, and can be rough in places. However, it can all be done with a Corolla or similar.

Windsor is located in the central part of the northern Cockpit Country, fifteen kilometres south of Falmouth. There are two main routes to get there, both of which pass through Sherwood Content:

The north coast: Take the north coast highway to the Falmouth exit, and then head south (Map 1). Turn left at Martha Brae, to cross the bridge, and then right, with this taking you along the road that follows the river. A fork will eventually be reached, with the right branch leading to Sherwood, and the left to Perth Town - go right. Once you've reached Sherwood (Map 2), carry on straight through, and then when another fork is reached, go left. Five km's along this road, a t-junction will be reached as you enter Windsor. Turn left, and after 300m, you will reach another t-junction with a little red shop directly in front of you. This is our meeting point.
[GPS Track File - Falmouth to Windsor - Right Click and Save]

Inland from the east: You can also get to Windsor from the east by taking the road from Browns Town, through Stewart Town, Jackson Town, Clarks Town, and Duanvale, to reach Sherwood Content. Here, turn south and then when you hit a fork, go left, and five km's later, you will reach the first t-junction in Windsor. Turn left again, and after 300 metres you will reach the little red shop that is our meeting point.

Map 1

Map 2

The Jamaican Caves Organisation.