Newcastle was established by the British as a military center in 1840. It is now used as a training camp for soldiers and recruits of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
The location, in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, was chosen by Major General Sir William Gomm, the lieutenant governor of Jamaica at the time, who noted that yellow fever, a major cause of death among British troops, occurred less frequently in the cool of the mountains. And it does get cool. It’s about 10-15 degrees cooler than in most of the island and there’s sometimes snow and ice in the higher elevations in the winter months.
Newcastle has a parade ground, named for the major general, barracks, a cemetery, and several buildings. A sentry is usually posted at the entrance and as the main road, from Kingston to points east, goes through the parade ground, you’re likely the company doing their normal activities. One morning, it was recruits being put through their paces, another day, the national netball team was in training.
Life at Newcastle isn’t meant to be easy for recruits and soldiers. I’ve read that back when the British troops used it as a base, they would march the 12 or so miles from Kingston, which is at sea level, 4,000 feet up the winding mountain road – with their gear.
Vehicles arriving from Kingston enter the square here and pass through the compound to Holywell Park and other points east, like Portland.
I plan to return to Newcastle when I can do the climb as I’d love to see more of it and from other angles.
This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.