From Jacks Hill it takes us about an hour and forty five minutes to reach Clydesdale ruins (there is also a hikeable route that starts at Gordon’s Town). The last few miles are spent slowly driving along what is essentially a narrow dirt track road to reach the old plantation and great house.
I’m glad my husband is driving as, in all honesty, I’d have turned back miles before. The road from Section/Silver Hill (just below Holywell on the Portland side) is pretty tricky and feels only just feels manageable in a 4×4. Most of the local farmers get about on small motorbikes.
Founded in the late 1700s by the Scotsman Colin McClarty, the Estate was one of the first commercial coffee estates in Jamaica. There’s a lot of unsettling history to this place; the Slave Returns from the Jamaica Almanac report in 1818 state that there were 109 enslaved labourers attached to the plantation.
More recently the site was used by the Forestry Department as a nursery. However with insufficient resources, the buildings and grounds have become run-down. Though farmers in this region still produce some of the best coffee in the world – which, if you’re lucky, you can even find in your local Waitrose.
Follow the road into the mountains from Papine towards Gordon’s Town, then enter these coordinates into your GPS: 18.08241 -76.66992