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Cabrits National Park is a great example of a British West Indian fort

By May 24, 2018Caribbean, Dominica
Cabrit National Park 1

On Tuesday I told you about the great tour I took up the Indian River in Dominica, well today I want to tell you about my hike in the Cabrits National Park, which I did after the Indian River tour.

Cabrit National Park 2

Looking at the Cabrit National Park from the anchorage you can see the fort.

The Cabrits National Park encompasses two large hills next to each other on the peninsula that protects Prince Rupert Bay (and the town of Portsmouth) from the north. These hills are so close together the valley between the two sits a couple hundred feet above the bay and was a strategic place to build a fort to protect the anchorage. Well that is what the British did starting in 1771 and by 1815 the entire valley and both hills were being used.

Fort Shirley itself is fairly small with a guard house, powder room, batteries, and so on, but all along the valley you find workshops, barracks, parade grounds, officers quarters, hospital, and the Commandant’s house. The best part is the hike up the eastern hill where you get a great view of Portsmouth, the harbor, and Douglas Bay to the north.

Cabrit National Park 3

The remains of the commander’s house off in the bush

I will admit I have seen better forts in the Caribbean, but all in all it was a nice way to spend a couple hours, get some exercise, and learn about some Dominica history. I recommend you hike among the two hills and ruins when you can. Just DO NOT take your dinghy to the cruise ship dock as I did. I was not allowed to do it and ended up leaving my dinghy on the PAYS dock and walking for 15 minutes to the Cabrits National Park.

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