If you build it, sheep will come


Despite the fact I’ve been here 3 weeks now, very little has been achieved by way of fixing up our accommodation or generally getting stuff sorted (there is a plethora of things we need but have not yet had the opportunity to acquire). Foremost among the reasons for this being the case is simply that each Saturday, the time when I am not working, mobile and able to get to the shops during their 1980s opening hours, there seems to be a better option available. This week we were fortunate enough to be led out to ‘camp’ (the word used to describe all areas outside of Stanley – the rural Falklands). This involved driving the much-criticised ‘MPA road’ (the road to Mount Pleasant Airport; the military base – gravel, not tarmac) and then proceeding first to the small settlement of Fitzroy then on to Goose Green and Darwin

Goose Green settlement, home to a Primary school of 2 students.

Goose Green settlement, home to a Primary school of 2 students.

settlements (made famous by the battle and subsequent death of Colonel H Jones VC OBE). From what I understand, before 1982 (a phrase you hear often here – if ever there was any doubt about the impact of the conflict you should think of Falklands society in terms of either ‘before’ or ‘after’, I’ll write more about that at a later date if/when I feel worthy), there was a large rift between those living in Stanley and those in Camp. As a result, different rules apply in Camp – made obvious by seeing one of our Y7 (aged 11) students driving her 4×4 through the settlement. After a brief stop at Darwin House for tea (tea with snacks here is often known as ‘Smoko’, and is highly recommended as part of the legendary Falklands hospitality!) we headed off road (truly off road!) to go and find a structure no longer in use but impressive nonetheless; Body Creek Bridge.

SAMSUNG CSC

Body Creek Bridge, rusted and wobbly and truly in the middle of nowhere

This, I am told, is the most Southerly suspension bridge in the world. Bearing in mind we had to drive for 2 hours on a gravel track that wouldn’t have existed, then quite skillfully off road through mud for 20 minutes to reach it it is bizarre to think that, without machinery, this bridge was erected to save the journey with the sheep and would have required a mind-blowing amount of effort to construct. It is now blocked off, rusted and incredibly unstable – very wobbly if you stand in the middle, so I’m told…ahem…

I’m very much looking forward to exploring more of Camp and can’t wait to get hold of a 4×4 (and some much-needed off road driving tutoring).
By the way, I am trying to explain various aspects of life here but if you have any questions about anything, do please ask! Also, you can subscribe to get emails when I update and I’d invite you to do that too! I’ve never blogged before and find it a very one-sided method of communicating so feedback is welcome. Except from you, Frankie.

4 thoughts on “If you build it, sheep will come

  1. Interesting how an eleven year old can drive a car, bit like certain areas of the UK; perhaps things aren’t to dissimilar.

    You should have taken the bridge, wuss.

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    • Yeah, of the 13 students aged 11-16 in my tutor group, at least 4 have motorbikes (250cc generally, they were laughing at the idea of 16 year olds only being allowed 50cc in the UK) and 2 others have quadbikes. We stopped for tea at a farm that had a 6 and an 8 year-old and they had a sand buggy. I feel like the child here, not knowing how to drive off road, ride a motocross bike or fix an engine.
      Read between the lines on the bridge front.

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      • I did, I wasn’t satisfied; pictures or it didn’t happen.

        Perhaps they could teach you to drive properly for when you return to normal civilisation.

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        • I’ll ask around and see if anyone took any, and yes, the plan is for me to obtain a 4×4 after pay-day and get someone to teach me to drive off-road like that. We would, no doubt, have been stuck if I’d driven yesterday. Unless I’d had my trusty Skoda, of course…

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