Carriacou, Chapeau Caree

While anchored in Tyrrel Bay if you look around you will see the very pretty hill line to the north above the mangroves, now broken by a big new Italian house perched on top.  Look to the east and you will see Chapeau Caree,  the tallest hill visible from the Tyrrel Bay. Standing 290 meters above sea level, it is second highest hill on Carriacou. The highest hill (High North) is only a meter higher, so if you really want to feel you have been as high as you can go on Carriacou, carry a small step ladder with you. Hiking Chapeau Caree is a lovely walk, but it can be hot, so early morning is best both for cool, and for the light for the main view over Tyrrel Bay.

It takes about 2-3 hours round trip from the Tyrrel Bay dock. There is an unmarked path of sorts, which is steep towards the top. It can be slippery on mud when wet and on leaves when dry.

From the main town dock, turn left in the direction of L’Esterre. Turn right on the first road, which is good and straight, with several houses on either side. Then take the first left hand turn. This road bends around and climbs slowly into the hills. It starts off paved and turns to dirt. For the most part you have a view on your left and a hill on your right. The road follows upwards around this hill. Continue till you come to a small junction straight ahead where the dirt road divides in two. If you stand at this junction and look at the left hand road, you will see a gap in the hedge into a field almost opposite where you are standing. (Long hand version: turn left at the junction walk a couple of feet and turn right through the gap in the hedge.) Enter into the field. Now the adventure begins. Walk up through the field, making friends with any cows in the path, until you get to the top left hand corner, where a path goes into a dense thicket with a small pond. This is a good resting spot, there are often wading birds, crackles, pigeons and other birds who use this as the local watering hole. Plus in the shade it is cool. You can continue either side of the pond. If you take the right hand side you will come into a small field which goes up to a ridge and you can see your destination way above. You need go to the top left of the field and get through one of the small openings that leads into the next field. If you go to the left of the pond you will already be here. Follow this field to upwards. It will bring you to an open ridge. You follow this ridge all the way to the top of the hill. The open part is quickly over and you need to find the path that leads up along the ridge thought the trees. Follow this path all the way to the top. If you find yourself on either side of of the ridge, you are straying from the straight and narrow. There is no trail crew, you may have to scramble or find your way round fallen trees.

The path is mainly in the woods which give shade, except for one clearing where you begin to get a good view. You emerge out of the trees at the very top of the hill. The view of Tyrrel Bay is outstanding, The whole bay is laid out before you in miniature like a brightly colored children’s book painting. You also get great views of Sandy Island, Union, Hillsborough, over the southern islands to Grenada, and to the east.