It’s been a long while since I deviated from my south coast sanctuary and ventured out to explore other parts of the island. I guess I got comfortable where I was. But yesterday I had a delivery to make in Negril so I thought I’d take advantage of the fact that it was the weekend and do an overnighter in a different town….Lucea. I have friends who live there so it was an easy decision.
One of the little spots they decided to show me was Fort Charlotte, located pretty much right in the middle of Lucea. For years I’ve heard of it and even checked out other people’s photos of it online because I’m always so intrigued by Jamaica’s history. So I was pretty pleased that this was the one spot they thought we should go visit.
Aside from being one of those eerie old historical sites that I LOVE to explore in Jamaica, Fort Charlotte reminded me a lot of my visit to Port Royal, but without the pirates. Below is an excerpt from the Jamaica National Heritage Trust website giving an outline of what this fort is and when it was in use in Jamaica:
“Fort Charlotte, located in Lucea, in the parish of Hanover, was built in the mid 18th Century by the British for the defense of the North North Westerly section of the island. It was built during the reign of King George III of England, and is named after his consort, Charlotte. The fort was built with a barrack capable of housing 50 men. The fort had 23 embrasures for 23 guns, 20 of which were mounted.
During the Napoleonic Wars it was thought that the guns at the fort were insufficient to guard the harbour, so in 1807, three 24 pounders on traversing carriages were installed on the seaward side of the fort.
The fort is built of rectangular cut stone and has several openings toward the sea. Inside the fort is the remains of the circular base for the rotation of guns which were placed there so that they could shoot from every possible angle. The Artillery Store still stands and is made of cut stone. It has buttresses and a gable ended roof. A section of the fort currently forms part of the Rusea’s High School.”
In addition to how cool the canons still look, the site itself is an intriguing place to wander around and speculate what took place here centuries ago. The buildings are abandoned and some are half broken down which makes for some pretty awesome photo opportunities.
My favorite part of this entire site is the sea wall….and of course I climbed over it to experience it from the other side. The rough sea is probably fifty feet below and the wall is lined with jagged rocks so it was very easy to get mesmerized by the crashing waves below. We sat inside one of the cut out spaces in the rock wall for a good long while enjoying the strong wind and watching the waves crash. I’ve heard that in really rough weather the waves come up over this wall. That would be incredible to watch!
It’s a shame that most tourist buses pass right through Lucea on their way to Negril because this is definitely a notable attraction to visit if you’re into the history of Jamaica. The views are breathtaking, the eerie feel of the surroundings is really neat and it costs nothing to go in and wander around. It’s not a tour, it’s just a spot anyone can get into.
And of course, how many other places can you sit on a canon?