We picked up our hire car at the airport (a 30 minute bus ride from town) late yesterday afternoon. Research done, Martinique maps.me downloaded on the phone and we are ready for an early start. The plan is a clockwise circle starting with the 'most scenic road in Martinique', a twisting, switchback ride through the forested foothills of the second highest mountain on the island, Pitons du Carbet. It is a glorious road no speed bumps, but there are deep ditches on the side. I'm happy David is driving. He's happy that I'm navigating. We reach 900m which is high for sea level dwellers.
We stop to look at a gorge and a short walk through the forest.
Back in the car and heading north towards Morne Rouge we see a sign for Canal de Beauregard, also known as Canal des Esclaves; a narrow irrigation channel built on the the side of Morne des Cadets by slaves in the late 17th century to feed water to the coastal sugar fields and rum distilleries. There's a 3.5km walk along the top of the wall. We did this walk back in 2009 and had such good memories we were keen to do it again.
It is still narrow and high, in places just 30-40cms wide with a drop of 20 metres to the forest floor below.
At the moment it's being repaired and reinforced with the wall becoming the submerged top of a waterfall in places. In fact after we'd visited I learned the walk was officially closed while the work was being done, but we didn't see a notice to this effect until we reached the bottom.
route is linear meaning you park at one end, for us the top, walk
downhill admiring the view over the valley and out to the Caribbean
sea, take a photo of the end point, and then turn around and walk the
gentle uphill slope back to your car. Back at the car feeling hot
and thirsty we agreed this is one of those things when the second
time is better than the first time.
from Mt Pelee looking south
It was mid afternoon before we were back in the car and heading north to the slopes of Mount Pelee. There is a road up to a cafe and then a walking track that rises 400m to the top. Estimated time for the round trip is four hours so sadly, so very sadly after our three hour walk along the canal, not enough daylight hours to do it. Such a shame! It was park, shoot some photos, back in the car and onwards to the east coast road and home.It was a long day. However we did manage to fit in a quick, obligatory, visit to a rum distillery with museum and tasting. The museum was well laid out and informative. The rum too paint stripper for my palette. Now if they had a gin distillery....