Ole time Barbados – king of the hills

Horse Hill, St. Joseph

Yesterday evening the blogmaster was fortunate to tune in to the Voice of Barbados radio station afternoon program hosted by superior radio personality Larry Mayers. He is one of a bare few, Maurice Norville another, who makes a serious attempt to program a message that connects to old Barbados.

Believe it or not his program yesterday featured hills to be found in Barbados with listeners sharing tales about the challenges of driving over Horse Hill in St. Joseph, Baxters Hill in St. Andrew, Bowling Alley Hill which connects St. Joseph to St. John, Sutherland in St. Lucy and a few others back in the day. To anticipate those who will jump in to say Barbados is flat, of course the discussions about hills is in a Barbados context.

Nowadays vehicles are ‘automatic’ and several of the hills have been levelled with the surfaces scuffed to facilitate traction. Today’s generation have limited experience of the harrow of sitting in a bus with the driver having to attack Horse Hill with a stick shift. 

The blogmaster gives the King of Hill prize to Bowling Alley Hill.

Those were the good old days we thought would never end?

29 thoughts on “Ole time Barbados – king of the hills

  1. It’s such a pity that we have to reminisce about what was vintage Barbados and lament that today’s young people know nothing about those days. Yet we continue to pull down, pull up and destroy what is vintage Barbados. If we continue in this vein sooner rather than later “old” Barbados will just be a memory in the minds of the few. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s our history and what makes us truly “Bajan”.

  2. I will never forget Sutherland Hill. As a boy and scaredy cat I would get off my bicycle and walked down that hill. To me it was a steep hill ending in a sharp L at the bottom. Perhaps, if I visited today, I may find that the turn at the bottom was not as sharp as I thought it was.

    And it was so steep I never saw anyone ride a bicycle from the bottom Io the top.

    Sutherland hill – So challenging, I walked it both ways

  3. …If we continue in this vein sooner rather than later “old” Barbados will just be a memory in the minds of the few. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s our history and what makes us truly “Bajan”.
    Sooner rather than later..??!!
    Verona, the horse has already left that stable….

    Our Supreme leader is currently in the process of selling off the stable door, the hay, and the damn grooms to the highest bidders – in exchange for some shiite dollars that will SHORTLY be devalued into nothingness just now…
    …along with all we ever owned.

    Agreed David….
    Larry and Maurice are refreshing reminders of what made Barbados worth celebrating…
    May they continue up and on…..

  4. The proper name for Bowling Alley as found on the maps from the 17th and 18th centuries is “The Devil’s Bowling Alley”.

    It is a baby to hills like Spa Hill and Fruitful Hill which have long become impassable to most vehicular traffic, except maybe 4wd or tractors.

    Spa Hill is the granddaddy of hills in Barbados.

    Baxters to Hillaby past Mount All and White Hill I would rate as the daddy.

    Fruitfull Hill comes out by Parkes and the climb to Chimborazo is challenging, but doable and becomes comparable to the other two in difficulty to walk.

    Bowling Alley is a breeze to walk up. If you add Horse Hill from the bottom, it becomes a challenge, on its own it is a cakewalk.

    • Is Bowling Alley Hill and Cotton Tower Hill one and the same?
      I don’t know about walking, but it takes some skill to drive a small manual car up what I call Cotton Tower Hill.

  5. My vote is for the old Horse Hill, before the road was “improved”.
    On hills, did they mention the ‘magnetic hill’ (optical illusion) just beyond the Morgan Lewis Mill as one heads towards Cherry Tree hill.

  6. You forgot to mention Coggins Hill. First met this hill as a boy scout when our Bethel Troop rode around the island. It was very challenging, so don’t let anybody try to convince you that Barbados is flat… riding over Coggins hill and then descending into Bathsheba…for young boys, interesting times.

    • Ah @Cummings …scouting! As I sit here and recall my utter folly as a scout riding a fellow scout on the bicycle bar to his home at Horse Hill St. Joseph from the Waterford/Hothersall area! …. Sometimes we feel as if we are absolutely unstoppable 🤣😎 .. now just the mere thought of such a feat and I am already wasted!

      But @BushGriot and @Verona are you guys speaking literally or otherwise!!!

      Whether actual or figuratively as life changes around us how else can the physical landscapes and the societal norms not be changed and thus many lost forever to new generations!!!

      There are many things of “vintage’ Bim that needed to be “pulled down” but surely much also should be retained. Ideally they will remain alive and fresh via the wondrous visual and audio technology available!

    • @Dee Word

      When you visit Italy, France, City of London what do you see? Is there not an ultra effort to preserve the old?

    • Yes @David that’s surely not in dispute and as long as I can recall the National Trust has been working effortlessly to put a ‘badge’ of heritage on buildings to ensure our vintage sites and buildings are not changed or demolished!

      They have done well overtime undoubtedly!

      But there are some areas and customs that will be lost regardless of such important efforts… that too is inevitable good sir!

    • @Dee Word

      We are debating two different points. Change is inevitable based on advancement. The point at focus is that the character of what is Barbadianna must not be further compromised. Ever!

  7. Going to school, many mornings we were late because we had to get off the bus and walk up Horse Hill. The buses could not climb that hill. What they have now is nothing like the old Horse Hill.

    By the way David, Horse Hill starts where the old post office and Almshouse used to be, just across the road from Addy Holders bakery. Burkes Village comes before Horse Hill. The picture with the Church is called Church corner which was a dangerous S bend. They changed that road too by buying Kellman’s land and rerouting.

  8. Hills will remain the same so I am not sure why the “I remember when..” stories are gushing from the memory banks in full flow, and the good times and bad times are 2 sides of the same coin.

  9. What you don’t understand is that some of the hills were cut away, levelled/graded, to make transportation easier. In St. Joseph, the changes were welcomed. Another steep hill is Cleavers hill. Round House hill I always climb on a zig-zag.

    • @Dame Bajans

      Cleavers is steep by short, then you get Wilcox that is sidewinding, Farley Hill is long etc. we have to be careful to avoid lumping hills LOL.

  10. The hill that captured my imagination as a youth was Oistin’s Hill, we considered it quite steep and there was barb wire on the left for those who were brave enough to challenge it but paid a price if they miscalculated, today it seems quite tame, and steps have been cut into the side to assist those who walk up the hill.

    Another Hill in the same area that was quite an adventure back in the day is the hill from Cane Vale to Welches. If you failed to make the 90 degree turn in the middle of the hill you would end up in the yard of the house (Carter family) at the corner in the middle of the hill. A couple of years ago I drove up this hill and the car in front of me stalled as the driver tried to navigate this corner I guess his gear selection was poor after he made the turn in the middle of the hill.

    Old timers like me had to traverse Buckingham hill (stopping in the middle and then taking off without the car rolling back) to receive your license back in the day.

    • @Sargeant

      Cane Vale bears a similarity to Wilcox if you combine gradient and degree of turn in order to negotiate.

    • @Sargeant

      The Blogmaster has not achieved your vintage but learner drivers had to reverse up Buckingham hill to earn the red book. Fortunately the Blogmaster avoided that challenge.

  11. A proper hill climb is one that starts from close to sea level and goes to the escarpment, like the Sandpit to Farley Hill.

    So, Bowling Alley on its own doesn’t really rate with the granddady.

    Now Cattlewash to Buckden via Bowling Alley is a proper hill climb but it covers a long distance compared with Spa which is kind of direct from the “new” Saint Saviour’s Church where Baxters Hill starts to Sugar Hill and then to Chimborazo.

    Haggatts to Hillaby through the back to Mount All and up to Hillaby will also bring people to tears.

    Haggatts is almost at sea level and Mount Hillaby is at 1,115 feet so this would be the highest climb in Barbados, but its gradient is spread over a longer distance than Spa.

    Much of the escarpment around the Scotland District is only at 8-900 feet.

    One Sunday morning we started at Chalky Mount School and went down the track through Hopewell to the next valley. I made it clear we were doing hills to a new group who said they would have no problem as they were race walkers.

    We then climbed to the ridge between Fruitful Hiill and Bruce Vale and down again into the next valley by St. Saviour’s Church. By then members of the new group were flagging so instead of going to Mount Hillaby, I decided to go to White Hill via the path up from Friendship.

    When we got to White Hill, they could not take it anymore, so we left some there and someone drove back later and picked them up.

    Then, we went down towards Haggatts and took the track that comes out at the bottom of Coggins Hill, then up to Chalky Mount School where we had started.

    A flat road walker will always have problems with hills the first time.

    A different mental approach is needed.

  12. Police are on site at 1st Avenue Alleyne Land in Bush Hall, St Michael, investigating another shooting death.

    Officers have used three vehicles to cordon off all entries and exits.

  13. I think I lost some of my calf circumference since I came to Canada. I still walk a lot, but it is all on the flat.

  14. @David
    Yours@4.11pm reversing and stopping in the middle of the hill without rolling forward, using handbrake, and balancing clutch and gas 😊

    Yours@10.47 am
    Some years ago I drove on Magnetic Hill outside Moncton NB and a few years later did the same on Cherry Tree Hill.

    • A Barbados Day?
      The following article was submitted as a guest column by Peter Laurie
      and Father Leslie Lett

      It’s a pity that the proposal to rename November 30 as Barbados National Day was introduced so abruptly and without appropriate consultation.
      The idea, however, is worthy of further consideration and we suggest that the day be eventually renamed simply Barbados Day, just like the Canadians have their Canada Day and others have their Portugal Day, Australia Day, Fiji Day and Russia Day.
      Let’s put this suggestion in historical and cultural context.
      The historian and political scientist Benedict Anderson famously came up with the concept of a nation as an ‘imagined community,’ in the sense that a nation is a socially constructed community, imagined by the people who perceive themselves as part of that group. Highly successful nations (e.g. Singapore) are ones whose citizens buy completely into this ‘idea’ of the nation. Indeed Singapore with its heterogeneous population of Chinese, Malay, Indian and English needed a powerful ‘idea’ of itself to succeed, as well as strong visionary leadership. Thus, a national identity is both a product of history and politics.
      Visionary leadership
      We in Barbados also bought into the ‘idea’ of Barbados (as in Prime Minister Ralph Gonzalves’ 2014 perceptive lecture, The Idea Of Barbados, and we too have been blessed with strong and visionary leadership, from Errol Barrow to Mia Mottley.
      Every country in the world has a special day in which they celebrate their nationhood, though calling that day by several different names.
      Many, especially former colonies of European powers, indeed call that day Independence Day. But there are several other unique names, including St Patrick’s Day (Ireland), Statehood Day (Croatia), Constitution Day (Denmark), and Unity Day (Germany).
      You get the idea.
      So why rename Independence Day Barbados Day?
      First of all, from a practical point of view we have more than enough public
      holidays already. Do we need yet another one: a Republic Day in addition to an Independence Day, as in Guyana or Trinidad and Tobago? No, please. It’s ridiculously costly to the country.
      Yet, becoming a parliamentary republic with our own head of state is deserving of national celebration. It is one of the two most important landmarks in our political and constitutional development. Besides, we launched the republic on November 30.
      But there’s another important reason for designating November 30 as Barbados Day.
      Constitutional and political development is an ongoing and, indeed, never-ending historical process. Who knows what a reformed Constitution may bring? Barbados Day would embody all past, present, and future events of national significance.
      We have, however, grown accustomed over the decades to thinking of independence from our colonial status as a one-off event. Hence our understandable emotional attachment to 1966.
      Decolonisation, however, is not only continuous, it’s also multidimensional. For example, Barbados in 2005 replaced the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council as our appellate court of final jurisdiction with the Caribbean Court of Justice.
      In addition, since 1966, we have engaged in an ongoing process of cultural decolonisation. In 1966, Errol Barrow, in the preface to the Barbados Independence special edition of the New World Quarterly, wrote that, “We must know who we are, whence we came, and where we are heading. A searching analysis of our heritage and traditions must be conducted if our cultural identity is to be established.”
      Independence provided an opportunity for the post-colonial leadership not only to remove the inimical consequences of the colonial order but also to strengthen our Barbadian (Caribbean) identity.
      This involved giving pride of place in our nation to all the symbolic events that advanced the cause of freedom and human rights for all Barbadians, along with resuscitating our suppressed African heritage as the core of our Bajan identity. This objective was pursued enthusiastically by our artists – singers, painters, dancers writers – and such notable public intellectuals as George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite and Elombe Mottley.
      All milestones
      Events such as the celebration of Emancipation Day, the Day of National Significance and the proclamation of our National Heroes were milestones in our continued decolonisation.
      So too was the proclamation of Barbados as a republic with our own head of state in replacement of the head of state of the colonising power (please note that the essence of the change is not from monarchy to republic, but from British to Bajan). This was a culmination of our growing sense of nationhood that has its roots in such events as the establishment of Parliament in 1639, the Charter of Barbados in 1652, the 1816 Rebellion, and our National Rebellion in 1937, among others.
      Moreover, unlike Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, we do not refer to ourselves as the Republic of Barbados, but, simply, Barbados.
      It would thus be highly appropriate to call the day that celebrates our sovereign nationhood Barbados Day, encompassing those two events of great constitutional and political significance, as well as any future nationally symbolic events without having to create additional public holidays.
      However, it is essential that any change be made as part of a national consensus.
      One mechanism might be to invite the Social Partnership to set up a small bipartisan task force representative of community interests, to consider the matter, canvass public opinion, and report back in six months.

      Source: Nation

    • The meaning of Government
      Under Mrs Harris’ Common Entrance tutelage, I learned that there is a supreme difference between ‘uppercase’ and ‘lowercase’ words. For example, in last week’s article entitled Barbados Has A Constitution we saw the Barbados Independence Act 1966, declare that, “On and after 30th November 1966 Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom shall have no responsibility for the government of Barbados”.
      Here, we are witnessing a grammatical turn where a word – government – which seemingly has one meaning, is being used in two distinct ways. We are, therefore, pressed to ask, “Why?”
      Uppercase words connote special meanings while lowercase words connote common meanings. The same applies when the Constitution mentions both the uppercase “Government of Barbados” and the lowercase “government of Barbados”.
      The title ‘Government’ is a noun pure and simple (a proper noun) while the ‘operation’ or ‘function’ classified as ‘government’ signifies the action being performed, therefore; becoming a ‘deverbal’ common noun.
      Deverbal nouns are ‘nouns derived from verbs’. They start as verbs and “end up” as nouns. For example, we can discuss ‘replacing’ something in both a ‘verbal’ and ‘nounal’ way.
      In the verbal way, we can say, “Jane is replacing Mary”. In the nounal way, we can say, “Jane is Mary’s replacement”. Similarly, we can say, “Parliament’s function is to legislate” where ‘to legislate’ is the infinitive verb and “legislation” in “Parliament’s function is legislation” is the deverbal noun.
      These two sentences could also be expressed using the ‘present participle’ (adjectival deverbal noun) ending in -ing. For example, “Parliament’s function is ‘legislating’”. Similarly, we come to the Common Entrance’s trick question about words ending in -ing which begin sentences: ‘gerunds’.
      Gerunds are deverbal nouns which primarily function in nounal positions while secondarily conveying verbal meanings. Participles are deverbal nouns which primarily function in verbal positions while conveying nounal meanings. Hence, in “Legislating is the function of Parliament” the gerund “Legislating” performs the function of nounal categorisation while conveying that the action of making laws is occurring! This process of transforming verbs into nouns while retaining and conveying verbal meanings (nominalisation) occurs to differing degrees depending on the context.
      Hence, many of these deverbal nouns, appearing to be “subjects” and “objects”, are best understood as things which convey to us that various actions are operating as one unit as opposed to several disparate functions. As Øivin Andersen states: “Deverbal nouns denoting a process seem to be closest to the collective nouns like committee or government. Collective nouns are bounded entities with internal structure. General events may be decomposed, but not cut up or sliced into smaller events… Collectives can be pluralised when seen as objects (like committees), but its internal structure cannot be cut up and quantified (i.e. the individual committee)”.
      Similarly, government’s etymology (studied origin) tells us that it is derived from the Greek kubernáo meaning “to steer”. Thus,‘government’ is best matched with ‘governance’ which more intuitively conveys the verbal meaning its nounal form hides.
      We, therefore, do not “cut up” government to understand what it means since this “it” is really a “they”.
      The lowercase “government” connotes the functions of law-making, ‘policymaking’ and ‘judgment-making’ which the Parliament, Cabinet and Judicature appear to individually perform.
      In political science we call this the ‘separation-of-powers’. However, this separation-of-powers is often misunderstood to mean absolutely separate powers without realising that law-making,
      policy-making and judgment-making rely upon each other in order to function properly.
      This we call the ‘fusion-of-powers’.
      We concretise these commingled functions in the unifying title called “Government”.
      Arguably, therefore, we come to understand the act of government (governing) best when viewing the Government as a whole group of ‘ruling’ institutions which feed off of each other.
      Every governing institution carries a core competence which, in turn, is either a secondary or tertiary competence linked to another governing institution’s core competence. For example, Cabinet’s core competence is policy-making but Cabinet cannot implement policy without policy becoming law or being backed by existing law. Hence, Cabinet needs Parliament to govern by its core competence of legislation.
      Funnily enough, the fact that policy becomes law means that Cabinet’s secondary competence necessarily becomes law-making itself. Similarly, the legislature’s secondary competence becomes policy-making.
      In tandem, when Courts perform their core competence of judgement-making they make both law and policy. Each can be viewed as the other. This perennial interlinking is the proverbial “check and balance” of government which orders our lives.

      Dr William M. A. Chandler is a published political economist, legal scholar and business consultant.
      Email wma@auxomni.com.

      Source: Nation

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