Brimstone Hill – 3

Extract from Julian’s Journeys

Nowadays visitors can discover for themselves how this ‘Gibraltar of the West Indies’ received its name. The Brimstone Hill Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors will notice the officer’s quarters pointing westwards, their outer façade being a series of arches. The officers were sheltered from the prevailing winds unlike the rank-and-file soldier’s barracks across the former parade ground, which have views over the former sugar cane plantations inland. A former soldier is said to haunt this area but sightings are rare.

The best views are from The Citadel reached by taking a paved road up to the entrance. As the visitor stands on this bastion, it’s not difficult to imagine a fleet of French ships on the western horizon staying out of range of the cannons of Brimstone Hill.

Like the lookouts of yesteryear, visitors can easily see St Eustatius (‘Statia’) and Saba to the north, Basseterre to the south, and the island’s highest point, Mount Liamuiga, to the east. The vast walls of the powder room give a feeling of security and provide shelter from the wind. Everywhere, steep sets of stone stairs connect the various levels of the Citadel taking visitors to unappreciated rooms and views. Look upwards and there will invariably be a cannon’s mouth leering between stone parapets ready to spit a cannon ball at the enemy below.

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