Hikes Around Newcastle & Holywell
trails and walks in the Blue Mountains.
The town of Newcastle, located two miles below Hollywell, is the common trailhead for several well-known hikes. To reach Newcastle, take the B1, the principal access road for Blue Mountain hiking, that also connects Kingston with Buff Bay on the north coast.
Newcastle has an interesting history. The British established it in 1841 because troops manning the lowland forts were dying of yellow fever in alarming numbers. The buttercups that grew in great numbers following the rains were blamed for exuding some sort of effluvium that caused the deadly sickness.
The troops were stationed high in the forest at Newcastle so they would be far enough away from the buttercup fields to be affected. It was much later before someone made the connection between yellow fever and the hearty, thriving mosquito population that--along with the buttercups?also mushroomed with the rains.
Black slaves were much less susceptible to yellow fever than their British owners. Slaves named the buttercups after the white people (or "backras"), calling them "kill-backras." The saying also developed that "If backra wants to live long, he must ask nayga leave" because it appeared the less sickly Negroes knew the secret to good health and long life.
Almost all of the area's hikes, such as the Fern Walk Trail , start at the Old Stables Inn.
The first, however, starts inside the Holywell Recreation Area.
Part 3: Hikes in the John Crow Mountains
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