St Helena Online

St Helena Online

The St Helena report and the gap in media

In pictures: St Helena’s natural wonders, by Andrew Gurr

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Four years as governor on St Helena gave Andrew Gurr plenty of time to explore the island. He showed some of his favourite images of its natural wonders at a meeting of the Friends of St Helena, and kindly agreed to share them with readers of this website.

Looking down to Speery Island from Botleys – “One of the best views, I think, on the island,” says Andrew. The picture shows the diversity of the island’s landscape, with green pasture and barren coast.

“This is the ridge you have to go across to get on The Barn. It’s pretty razor-like.” This is considered one of the most challenging of the postbox walks on St Helena – only for “confident” walkers.

Those who brave the walk to The Barn are rewarded with a spectacular view down to the Turk’s Cap. St Helena’s airport is being built on the plain above these cliffs.

The walk to Lot’s Wife Ponds is not as daunting as it appears. The walker is Michael Binyon of The Times. “He didn’t have a head for heights and he hated that walk. He’s extremely proud of that picture.”

St Helena’s fairy terns may be beautiful, but one can have too much of a good thing, says Andrew: “They’d keep us awake at night, there were so many nesting in the woods just by the house.”

The governors of St Helena do not have Plantation House and its grounds to themselves. They share it with five giant tortoises from the Seychelles. “Tortoises dig mud holes. They love wallowing in mud.”

Jonathan, the most venerable of the tortoises on St Helena, is the oldest known living creature in the world – and one of the last of his species. “We heard a lot about the torch for the Olympics,” says Andrew. “That was the baton for the Commonwealth Games, which came to St Helena, and it had to have its picture taken with Jonathan.”

Efforts are being made to re-establish native plants across the whole of the ridge between High Hill and Diana’s Peak. As long ago as the 18th Century, governors of St Helena were warning about the environment consequences of people destroying the cloud forest.

Visit St Helena Online again to see Andrew Gurr’s pictures of people and events on the island, due to be published on Friday 10 August.

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