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Visit 2006/7 - January 3

Another afternoon, another mountain walk. Actually because of the change in altitude, a walk along one of the many paths that girdle Green Mountain, does mean a drop in temperature from the high twenties to the low twenties or even below and can be quite refreshing.

Looking across the island, the two communities of Travellers Rest to the left, and Two Boats to the right, seem a long way away.






The white dot on the coast is actually the BBC Transmitter/Power station complex, so the whole route of the commute from there to the village of Two Boats for the staff is clearly visible. Probably one of the more unusual commutes to work in the world.


A bit further round and the Wideawake Airfield and US Base come into view.


Carry on round and we break out from the shade of large trees into a sunny section of path flanked by ginger plants, and can see the whole length of the runaway, originally built in 1943 when the United States had 4000 serviceman stationed on Ascension. By the end of 1947 they had all left and the island's population declined down to a mere 170.In 1964-5 the runway was extended to 10,000 feet to allow the largest of aircraft or even the Space Shuttle to land on it.






Moving on a bit further and the Nasa road comes into view snaking its way round the southern flank of Green Mountain.



Around this side of the island at times one could almost forget the extreme volcanic state of the rest of the island, with the greenery due to the almost constant trade winds being forced to climb up to nearly 3,000 feet to cross the central peak and dropping a lot moisture in the process. 


So no surprise that it is was here, adjacent to the top of Breakneck Ravine, that the marines created large concrete water catchment areas to try and capture as much water as possible from any rain or condensation.



In the middle of the picture is the original building that housed the marines stationed up here before the Red Lion was built. The marines then moved there where, being more sheltered, it was warmer and less damp.

After the marines moved out it was used for the cows, but even they moved out as was just too damp and cold even for them.


Now the summit of Green mountain comes into view just touching the cloud base as usual.


The vast amount of ginger which seems to thrive up here in the alternately cloudy and damp, then sunny and warm environment.


On the way back down we are almost at the  Red Lion Lion when some movement in the undergrowth grabs our attention. Initially we wondered if it was a Francolin (Red legged partridge), which was introduced to the island in 1851,  but from the picture it now looks suspiciously like one of the domestic chickens, kept in some of the old farm buildings just up from the Red Lion, has escaped.


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