|Start Point:||Bourg des Saintes, Terre D'en Haut, Iles Des Saintes, Gaudeloupe|
|Height of Ascent:||400 ft|
This is a pleasant walk around the north end of Terre D'En Haut in Ile Des Saintes. It reveals some surprising areas of the island not often visited by cruisers. Some of the route is along roads and the rest is on well marked paths, with some steep slopes to scramble up and down. We did it in shorts and sturdy sandals and had no problems. The tourist office sells a small map of the island, but it doesn't show all of the paths that this hike follows, so I've included a photograph of a map from a notice board at the start of the off-road section. The notice board is weather damaged, but the photograph gives you the general idea - follow the yellow brick road.
From the dinghy dock turn left and follow the road towards Fort Napoleon. We started off at nine o'clock and visited the fort before we did the hike. If you're going to go up to the fort, it's best to get there early in the morning before the hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of tourists arrive and clog up the interesting museum.
As you walk up towards Fort Napoleon, there's a T- junction with a sign post which points to the Fort straight on and beaches to the right - take the road towards the beaches - you're aiming for the Baye de Pompierre. The road drops down and, at the bottom, you turn right towards the sports stadium. At the next junction, turn left to walk along the road towards Baye de Pompierre alongside the sports stadium.
The road goes up a small hill and then opens out with a grassy area and a restaurant to your left where you will see a notice board with the map shown above. This is where the off-road hike starts. It's well worth walking another 1/4 mile further along the road to have a look at the Baye de Pompierre, which has a lovely beach and looks like it would be a fabulous anchorage if the local council hadn't banned yachts from anchoring there.
From the Notice Board, walk up the dirt road and then up a very steep concrete road ahead of you. This suddenly ends and turns into a very steep dirt slope going up next to a house. It looks like a dead end, but keep going up the slope and you will see a yellow painted arrow pointing off to the right which shows where the path goes behind the house. From here you follow the yellow paint markings, which may be arrows and may be just blobs of paint, but they're fairly frequent.
Follow the path as it winds up and you will come to a junction with a small sign post - follow the sign towards Batterie Caroline. Walk up to the ruins of the small Batterie where you will get a fantastic view of the Baye de Pompierre.
Continue heading east along the path to a great viewpoint with Guadeloupe to the North and Marie Gallante to the East. If you look down to the North, you can see the path heading to Pointe Zozio.
Head back along the path to the small sign post and turn right (I think that it points to Pointe Zozio). The path goes down through the trees and then comes to a very "Steep Track" down the side of the hill. Follow the yellow paint marks carefully and watch your step because its quite loose dirt and stones here. The view down to the sea is fabulous.
You come to a "Grassy Col" and continue to follow the yellow marks straight up the next small hill where you will soon come to another slope down to Point Zozio. The path drops down a boulder field off to your left and then turns right above an impressive rocky inlet with a huge cave.
Follow the faint path up some rocks, alongside a cliff. It soon goes back into the shrubs and curves around to the right to bring you back to the "Grassy Col". Climb back up the "Steep Track" and along the path until you come to a sign that points to the Plage de Marigot off to the right. This will bring you to a pleasant pond with lily pads.
Continue straight on, bearing slightly left towards the south-west. Follow the edge of a fenced area and then look for the reassuring yellow paint marks which will lead you down the hill. You should pop out on the Plage de Marigot where you will find a really nice restaurant called "La Pailotte" next to the beach.
After your wonderful three course lunch, walk along to the T-Junction next to the sports stadium and turn right which will bring you back into the main town next to the Church. From there, turn right and stroll down the main street back to the dinghy dock.