The road climbs to 1220m where you suddenly emerge on a wide parade ground guarded by a small cannon. The military encampment clambers up the slope above the square. Newcastle was founded in 1841 as a training site and convalescent center for British soldiers. Since 1962 the camp has been used by the Jamaica Defense Force.
Mammee River Rd climbs to Irish Town, a small village where the coopers lived during the 19th century. Potatoes are still an important crop, reflecting the Irish influence. Largely famous for one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts, it also contains St Mark’s Chapel, an attractive white clapboard church restored after damage from Hurricane Gilbert.
Holywell Recreation Area
Spanning Hardwar Gap, this area protects 120 hectares of remnant woodland, lush with dozens of fern species, epiphytes, impatiens, violets, nasturtiums, wild strawberries and raspberries. The mist-shrouded uppermost slopes are densely forested with rare primary montane forest, dominated by pine trees. The bird-watching is fabulous.
Hagley Gap & Penlyne Castle
The ramshackle village of Hagley Gap sits abreast a hill east of Mavis Bank and is the gateway to Blue Mountain Peak. The road forks in the village, where a horrendously denuded dirt road to Penlyne Castle begins a precipitous ascent. Penlyne Castle is the base for the 12km hikes to and from Blue Mountain Peak.