The beginning of our holiday in Antigua:-After flying for 7 ½ hours and Being 1000’s of miles away from my home country of England to enjoy a weeks holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua I certainly chose the right day, right place and right time to climb the islands highest summit.
This holiday to Antigua had been arranged for well over 18 months and for a long time I pondered over going to the top of Boggy Peak.
Of course being a keen hill walker and mountain climber back on the many peaks I have done back in the UK this would certainly be something different.
On our first day at the holiday complex we met up with our holiday rep and he gave details of things to do and places to see whilst on the island. I raised the comment about paying a visit to the summit of Boggy Peak and his answer to me was…!
Why and for what reason do you want to go there as there is nothing of any interest and the main part of the summit is locked off out of bounds to the public within the compound area of the many radio towers that crown its summit.
He heavily advised me not to go.
But I still decided to go and do it
And with what went on that day I was so pleased I had chosen to go...! Read on to find out what happened.
Mount Obama - Right Day, Right place and just the Right TimeI decided to climb or should I say walk to the islands highest point on the Wednesday date 17th June 2009. This was when my partner and the rest of the family decided to take the day easy and stay local to the main holiday complex.
A taxi driver named Daniel who had taken us on a few island journeys the previous days drove me that morning to the long access road at the bottom of the hill. He then drove off and left me to head on up the hill and face the surprises that awaited me.
Walking up the hill is almost like walking through an area of a tropical rain forest although Antigua does not have any proper rain forest areas. The trees here are lush and green alive with many creatures, lizards and butterflies. There where also flowers and orchids growing in the trees of many different beautiful colours. I saw a wild mongoose run across the fields near the bottom of the hill. I have been told these are quite common now and have been classified as a pest. Humming birds where also a common site flying round the trees on the way up.
Near the bottom of the track there is a large sign. It says on it
The weather whilst heading up the long access track was very warm, 28-30 degrees C and I felt very sticky and uncomfortable but carried on drinking as much fluid as I could. I decided at a point of interest about 2/3rds of the way up to stop have another drink and this time a small snack.
Now there I am sitting on a small concrete curb beside a concrete section of the road and enjoying the view out across and through the trees, lower fields and as far as the turquoise blue sea, when I suddenly hear the roaring engines of motor vehicles.
There pulled up alongside me where I am sitting are three large 4x4 wheel drive vehicles.
Out comes a group of people and they all start talking about the summit and pointing out views and things from where they are standing. Well I am not at all sure as what is actually going on and the next thing I know I have a large gentleman who comes over and asks me…!
Excuse me may I ask what you are doing up here.
I suddenly go into a panic mode and thinking oh no why did I come past that sign…? What do I do and what do I say.
I just said in reply, I am on holiday over here from UK and have an interest in hills and mountains and thought I would take a walk up to the top just to say I have been to Antigua’s highest summit.
He said to me well would you like to come this way and meet the Prime Minister.
I thought oh blimey this cannot be true. But no there standing in front of me and smiling was the Hon Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
After meeting up with them and talking about my interests at that point on the way they then all jumped back in there 4x4 vehicles and told me they where now going to the summit. Well I was left behind so just carried on walking up the track and on up to the summit. It took me about 30 minutes to reach the compound gate area all unlocked and as I had spoken with the crew who where with the Prime Minister earlier they told me I was welcome to join them.
Things where a bit different compared to what our holiday rep told me and I was now so pleased that I spent the day visiting here.
Whilst on the summit I had my photograph taken with the Prime Minister. I was then interviewed by the TV crew for a news report that was shown on the TV that evening.
The next day I was in the islands news papers and on the internet news. I kind of made it famous to the island from just visiting Boggy Peak.
The news reporters had me as David Neale the UK Hiker. And for the rest of the holiday around the island the local people said to me. Hay there man you where the one on TV with the Prime Minister. A coffee and tea shop we went into even gave us our drinks for free.
Why he was visiting the summit:-Well the main reason for the Prime Minister visiting the summit was due to it having its name changed within the month of August 2009 from the rather bland and non exciting name of Boggy Peak to Mount Obama. This is of course being done in honour of President Barack Obama in being the first US black president. The mountain itself and thearea that surrounds it will also be turned into a national park nature reserve in honour of him.
Details of the name change via this link:-
So after all the interesting things that happened whilst up that hill and becoming famous to the island in just one day it certainly was a right day, right place and right time. A day on the hills I will never forget…!
More information is of course available on this summit by going to its main SP-Page. After I requested editors rights to the page I completely revamped it with text and new photos.
The updated page is via this link:-
Mount Obama SP-Page Link
Baldwin Spencer Images on Google:-
Hon Baldwin Spencer
Baldwin Spencer on Wikipedia:-
More information on Baldwin Spencer